Environmental Justice Implications of Personal Travel-Related Emissions Burden

Total travel by personal vehicles on a typical day for households with higher-income is more than the travel for households with lower-income households. Since emissions are directly proportional to total travel, it can be hypothesized that the higher-income groups pollute disproportionally higher than the low-income populations. On the other hand, high income households tend to use later model vehicles while the older vehicles are used for trips made by low-income households. While longer trips do contribute to more emissions burden, it is also well established that emissions from older vehicles are higher than late model vehicles. Therefore another hypothesis in terms of emissions contribution arises: the usage of late model vehicles by higher income groups has an off-setting effect on the disproportional share of transportation system usage. This paper explores the relationship between the household income and vehicle-generated emissions based on the data from the National Household Travel Survey and Atlanta Household Travel Survey. The normalized emissions by household indicate that the lower-income populations bear the relatively obvious disadvantage on the CO emissions. However, the normalized emissions by person show the equity for all three main pollutants among populations with various income levels.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: DVD
  • Monograph Title: TRB 87th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 000000
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 08-2229
  • Files: TRB
  • Created Date: Jan 29 2008 4:35PM