Title: Assessing transport-related health costs

Authors: Richard Ballaman

Addresses: Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape, Air Pollution Control Division, CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland

Abstract: As part of a multidisciplinary study, the Federal Department for Transport, Communications and Energy (Bureau of Transport Studies) commissioned four project teams to determine the effects of traffic-related air pollution on the health of the population and the resulting external health costs for the year 1993. The calculation of traffic-related health costs required work in three areas: (1) Compilation of the epidemiological basis (under the supervision of Prof. U. Ackermann, University of Basel). PM10 concentrations (particulate matter with a diameter less than 10 µm) proved to be the most appropriate concentrations to highlight the dose-response relationship. it appeared that, when PM10 concentration in the air increases by 10 µg/m³, overall mortality is increased by 4.4%. This result is based mainly on two American studies in which researchers observed large population groups over a period of several years. Similar studies have been started as part of the SAPALDIA programme, with the aim of confirming that the results recorded by the American researchers were applicable to the Swiss case. (2) Determination of traffic-related air pollution (exposure) (under the supervision of Prof. H.U. Wanner, EPF Zurich) using a refined mesh (km²) which indicates, for each grid square, the number of people exposed to a given level of pollution. It should be noted that pollutants are not only emitted by traffic, but also by a number of other sources (industry, households). (3) Determination of traffic-related damage to health and assessment of the costs (under supervision of the ECOPLAN office in Bern). In 1993, air pollution due to motorised traffic involved external health costs amounting to more than SFr.1600 million, of which 80% was produced by road traffic (50% passenger and 30% goods transport). In terms of transport provision (kilometres travelled), external health costs amounted to 1.0 centime per capital per km corresponding to approximately 10% of the total cost of petrol, and 4.6 centimes per tonne per km for goods transport.

Keywords: air pollution; external costs; health effects; motor traffic; particulates; PM10.

DOI: 10.1504/IJVD.1998.001812

International Journal of Vehicle Design, 1998 Vol.20 No.1/2/3/4, pp.39-45

Published online: 18 Aug 2003 *

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