Racial Disparities in the Proximity to Vehicle Air Pollution in the MAPC Region

Meeting Materials by Connor Gately
May 4, 2021

Metropolitan Area Planning Council   (Boston)

In this study MAPC report on the proximity of households to major sources of ultrafine particulate (UFP) emissions, focusing on households living within 150 meters of high-emission roads. We observe significant racial disparities in the proportions of residents living in high UFP areas: 45% of Black residents, 47% of Asian residents, and 54% of Latino residents live in the highest-pollution areas, compared to only 29% of white residents. For roadways with the highest levels of UFP emissions, the percent of Black and Asian residents is 30-40% higher than their share of regional population, and the percent of Latino residents is 60% higher.  UFP pollution is highly localized, with concentrations decreasing significantly a few hundred meters from the roadway, offering an opportunity for targeted interventions to reduce exposures in specific neighborhoods. We highlight a range of local efforts to pursue in tandem with state and regional efforts to improve inequities in neighborhood air quality.