Traffic congestion causes hotspots of air pollution and road traffic accidents
Traffic congestion in Oxford is a public health issue. It increases air pollution, lowering air quality breathed, which is a known cause of asthma, lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases. It increases the risk of traffic accidents through poor driver behaviour and judgement. Stuck in a traffic jam last week in Oxford, brought about through traffic control system failures, this driver experienced first-hand both air pollution and road safety issues. Globally, road traffic accidents cause 1.25 million deaths per year, with the highest road traffic fatality rates in low-income countries.
Air pollution, can we reduce the impact of cars on urban air quality?
Air quality in Delhi, India, is so poor due to vehicular pollution that it caused the city to run a 2-week experiment in January 2016: private cars were allowed on the streets only on alternate days, depending on license plate numbers. Delhi's PM10 particle levels are nearly twice that of Beijing, and its PM 2.5 the worst of 1600 cities in the world (including Iran and Bangladesh). Similar experiments have been tried in major cities in France, Italy, UK, China, all suffering public health problems (cancer, heart attacks, asthma, premature death) due to their love affair with the motor car.