Best Practices for Reducing Near-Road Air Pollution Exposure at Schools

Why It's Important

  • Motor vehicles are a major source of air pollution in the United States. Research suggests that particulate matter (PM) from vehicles, notably heavy-duty diesel vehicles, may be especially harmful.
  • While vehicle emissions have decreased over the past several decades due to EPA’s emissions standards for cars and trucks, schools may still be located in areas where air pollution levels are elevated.
  • Motor vehicle pollutant concentrations tend to be higher closer to the road, with the highest levels generally within the first 500 feet of a roadway and reaching background levels within approximately 2,000 feet of a roadway, depending on the pollutant, time of day and surrounding terrain.
  • Nearly 17,000 schools in rural and urban areas across the U.S. are located near heavily traveled roads.
  • Exposure to traffic-related air pollution has been linked to a variety of short- and long-term health effects.
  • Children are particularly sensitive to air pollution, because their respiratory systems are not fully developed, they are more active, and they breathe more rapidly than adults. Children also are more likely than adults to have asthma.

What You Can Do

Best Practices for Reducing Near-Road Air Pollution Exposure at Schools

Clean Air El Marino Case Study

Representatives from the EPA, South Coast AQMD, CalTrans, EMLS, Culver City Unified School District, and Clean Air: El Marino, who have all been involved in improving environmental health and air quality at EMLS.Find out how the El Marino Language School worked to mitigate nearby traffic pollution and improve its air quality at the Clean Air: El Marino website Exit.

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EPA and Federal Partners

Regional, State and Local Resources

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