An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

Basic Information about Best Practices for Reducing Near-Road Pollution Exposure at Schools

On this page:

Why It's Important

  • Motor vehicles are a major source of air pollution in the United States. Research suggests that particulate matter (PM) from vehicles, notably heavy-duty diesel vehicles, may be especially harmful.
  • While vehicle emissions have decreased over the past several decades due to EPA’s emissions standards for cars and trucks, schools may still be located in areas where air pollution levels are elevated.
  • Motor vehicle pollutant concentrations tend to be higher closer to the road, with the highest levels generally within the first 500 feet of a roadway and reaching background levels within approximately 2,000 feet of a roadway, depending on the pollutant, time of day and surrounding terrain.
  • Nearly 17,000 schools in rural and urban areas across the U.S. are located near heavily traveled roads.
  • Exposure to traffic-related air pollution has been linked to a variety of short- and long-term health effects.
  • Children are particularly sensitive to air pollution, because their respiratory systems are not fully developed, they are more active, and they breathe more rapidly than adults. Children also are more likely than adults to have asthma.

What You Can Do

  • Several strategies are being used by communities and schools across the country to reduce traffic-related pollution exposure, many of which can be applied in schools. For example:

Top of Page

Clean Air El Marino Case Study

Representatives from the EPA, South Coast AQMD, CalTrans, EMLS, Culver City Unified School District, and Clean Air: El Marino, who have all been involved in improving environmental health and air quality at EMLS.Find out how the El Marino Language School worked to mitigate nearby traffic pollution and improve its air quality at the Clean Air: El Marino website Exit.

Resources

EPA and Federal Partners

Top of Page

The following links exit the site Exit

National and State Entities

Top of Page