Health impact assessment of a predicted air quality change by moving traffic from an urban ring road into a tunnel : the case of Antwerp, Belgium
Background: The Antwerp ring road has a traffic density of 300,000 vehicles per day and borders the city center. The 'Ringland project' aims to change the current 'open air ring road' into a 'filtered tunneled ring road', putting the entire urban ring road into a tunnel and thus filtering air pollution. We conducted a health impact assessment (HIA) to quantify the possible benefit of a 'filtered tunneled ring road', as compared to the 'open air ring road' scenario, on air quality and its long-term health effects. Materials and methods: We modeled the change in annual ambient PM2.5 and NO2 concentrations by covering 15 kilometers of the Antwerp ring road in high resolution grids using the RIO-IFDM street canyon model. The exposure-response coefficients used were derived from a literature review: all-cause mortality, life expectancy, cardiopulmonary diseases and childhood Forced Vital Capacity development (FVC). Results: Our model predicts changes between -1.5 and +2 μg/m³ in PM2.5 within a 1,500 meter radius around the ring road, for the 'filtered tunneled ring road' scenario as compared to an 'open air ring road'. These estimated annual changes were plotted against the population exposed to these differences. The calculated change of PM2.5 is associated with an expected annual decrease of 21 deaths (95% CI 7 to 41). This corresponds with 11.5 deaths avoided per 100,000 inhabitants (95% CI 3.9-23) in the first 500 meters around the ring road every year. Of 356 schools in a 1,500 meter perimeter around the ring road changes between -10 NO2 and + 0.17 μg/m³ were found, corresponding to FVC improvement of between 3 and 64ml among school-age children. The predicted decline in lung cancer mortality and incidence of acute myocardial infarction were both only 0.1 per 100,000 inhabitants or less. Conclusion: The expected change in PM2,5 and NO2 by covering the entire urban ring road in Antwerp is associated with considerable health gains for the approximate 352,000 inhabitants living in a 1,500 meter perimeter around the current open air ring road.
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11 :5 (2016) , p. 1-19
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Creation 28.03.2024
Last edited 28.03.2024
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