Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, January 2024

The Positive Zero Transport Futures team attended and presented original research at the 103rd Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, from January 7th to January 11th, 2024. The week centered around the theme “Rejuvenation Out of Disruption: Envisioning a Transportation System for a Dynamic Future” and featured over 600 workshops, lectern sessions, committee sessions, and poster sessions.

Research Associate and Positive Zero Director, Dr Junshi Xu, presented “Aircraft Activities and Ultrafine Particle Exposures near a City Airport: Insights from a Measurement Campaign in Toronto, Canada” as part of the Aviation Air Quality, AV030(3), Joint Subcommittee of AV030, AMS10. This study investigated the relationship between aircraft activities and ultrafine particle (UFP) exposure near a regional airport. The results revealed significant variations in aircraft volumes throughout the week and that UFP levels north of the airport were elevated with winds blowing from the south and southeast directions, in-line with aircraft takeoff activity on the eastern side of the airport. The number of UFP peaks were also found to be positively correlated with hourly flight activities. Smaller aircraft types exhibited higher UFP levels and contributed to UFP outliers despite accounting for smaller proportions of overall flights. This research provides valuable insights into the intricate interactions between aircraft activities, meteorological conditions, and UFP levels near airports.

Dr Xu also presented “Investigating the Triple Burden of Socioeconomic Disparities, Mobility Poverty, and Air Pollution Exposure in Toronto’s Neighborhoods” in the lecture session Land Use, Vehicle Miles Traveled, and Behavioral Approaches to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. This study investigated the relationships between ultrafine particle (UFP) exposure, socioeconomic status (SES), and accessibility to sustainable transportation in Toronto, Canada. A large-scale mobile measurement campaign was conducted, and a gradient boost model was used to generate exposure surfaces using land use, built environment, and meteorological conditions. The study found that individuals living in neighborhoods with higher social disadvantage experience higher UFP exposures. When factoring in daily mobility, UFP exposure disparities in disadvantaged populations are further exacerbated. We also found that individuals who do not generate emissions are consistently exposed to higher UFPs, with active transportation users experiencing the highest UFP exposures at home and at activity locations. The work proposed a novel index, the Community Prioritization Index (CPI), incorporating three indicators: air quality, social disadvantage, and sustainable transportation. This index identifies neighbourhoods experiencing a triple burden and in need of immediate policy action and targeted interventions. The study’s findings are crucial for promoting public health, addressing environmental justice, and ensuring transportation equity in urban planning.

The team shared six posters during the session Current Issues in Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation.

  • Campus-Community Partnership to Characterize Air Pollution in a Neighbourhood Impacted by Major Transportation Infrastructure (Emily Farrar)
  • Implications of Freight Electrification Scenarios for GHG Emissions, Air quality, Health, and Environmental Justice (Sara Torbatian)
  • Capturing the Impacts of Construction Activities Using a Network of Low-cost Sensors Placed on Residential Balconies (Weaam Jafar)
  • Air Pollution Prediction and Backcasting through A Combination of Mobile Monitoring and Historical On-Road Traffic Emission Inventories (Arman Ganji)
  • Modelling Spatial & Temporal Variability of Air Pollution in An Area of Unconventional Natural Gas Operations (Miranda Doris)
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Potential for Electrifying Transportation Network Companies in Toronto (Marc Saleh)

For more details on the posters presented, check out our Posters & Presentations page!