Relocating bus stops would cut riders' pollution exposure, UCLA study finds


oving bus stops away from intersections would substantially reduce the amount of pollution bus riders are exposed to, UCLA scientists report today in the journal Environmental Pollution.

Research has shown that in many cities in the United States and internationally, bus riders frequently spend 15 to 25 minutes or more each way waiting for a bus.

“The wait often means spending time in some of the most polluted locations in cities, close to intersections where cars, trucks and buses are continually stopping and accelerating, spewing out high concentrations of noxious exhaust,” said senior author Suzanne Paulson, UCLA professor of atmospheric sciences. “The exhaust contains gasses and large amounts of ultrafine particles that are essentially unregulated by the Environmental Protection Agency because the EPA regulates fine particles by weight, and these particles weigh so little,” she said.

“Our measurements show that traffic-related pollutant concentrations peak near intersections and decrease sharply with distance,” Paulson said. Bus riders’ exposure to the pollutants would be significantly reduced by moving bus and light rail stops 120 feet from busy intersections, her research team reports.

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Image Source: Christelle Snow/UCLA