The health impacts of weekday traffic: A health risk assessment of PM2.5emissions during congested periods

Weeberb J. Requia, Christopher Donald Higgins, Matthew D. Adams, Moataz Mohamed, Petros Koutrakis

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Little work has accounted for congestion, using data that reflects driving patterns, traffic volume, and speed, to examine the association between traffic emissions and human health. In this study, we performed a health risk assessment of PM 2.5 emissions during congestion periods in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), Canada. Specifically, we used a micro-level approach that combines the Stochastic User Equilibrium Traffic Assignment Algorithm with a MOVES emission model to estimate emissions considering congestion conditions. Subsequently, we applied a concentration-response function to estimate PM 2.5-related mortality, and the associated health costs. Our results suggest that traffic congestion has a substantial impact on human health and the economy in the GTHA, especially at the most congested period (7:00 am). Considering daily mortality, our results showed an impact of 206 (boundary test 95%: 116; 297) and 119 (boundary test 95%: 67; 171) deaths per year (all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively). The economic impact from daily mortality is approximately $1.3 billion (boundary test 95%: 0.8; 1.9), and $778 million (boundary test 95%: 478; 981), for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively. Our study can guide reliable projections of transportation and air pollution levels, improving the capability of the medical community to prepare for future trends.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-176
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironment international
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Air pollution
  • Health risk assessment
  • Public health
  • Traffic congestion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)

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