Study: L.A.’s Wealthier Residents ‘Export’ Air Pollution to Poorer Neighborhoods

Residents of Los Angeles who drive less are exposed to higher rates of air pollution due to policies that have encouraged commuting through low-income neighborhoods.

1 minute read

March 7, 2023, 12:02 PM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

“Los Angelenos who drive less are exposed to more air pollution, as commuters from predominantly white neighborhoods travel through non-white areas,” according to a new study from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. A larger share of the city’s non-white residents experience air pollution than their white peers, regardless of their income.

As Christian Hetrick explains, this is in large part a result of historical planning decisions that discriminated against communities of color. “Twentieth-century planners bulldozed urban areas to build freeways for suburban residents to drive to job centers. Although whiter and wealthier areas like Beverly Hills successfully blocked such projects, similar opposition efforts failed in less-white and less-wealthy parts of L.A., such as Boyle Heights, which was carved up by five freeways and two enormous interchanges.”

The study’s authors suggest some policy fixes that could begin undoing these inequities. These include raising fuel efficiency standards and promoting cleaner transportation, enacting congestion pricing and promoting remote work to reduce driving, and reforming zoning laws to permit more housing construction in job-rich areas and less polluted neighborhoods.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023 in USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

Black and white Rideshare Pick-Up Zone sign

The Slow Death of Ride Sharing

From the beginning, TNCs like Lyft and Uber touted shared rides as their key product. Now, Lyft is ending the practice.

June 1, 2023 - Human Transit

Urban sidewalk shaded by large mature trees

Cool Walkability Planning

Shadeways (covered sidewalks) and pedways (enclosed, climate controlled walkways) can provide comfortable walkability in hot climates. The Cool Walkshed Index can help plan these facilities.

June 1, 2023 - Todd Litman

Traffic on the 405 interstate freeway through the Sepulveda Pass at Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California

Congestion Pricing Could Be Coming to L.A.

The infamously car-centric city is weighing a proposed congestion pricing pilot program to reduce traffic and encourage public transit use.

May 30, 2023 - Los Angeles Times

Denver City Hall building with green lawn and red flowers in front, Denver, Colorado

Denver Makes ADU Rules More Flexible

The city hopes adjusting its regulations for accessory dwelling units will make the process more affordable for residents and help ease the city’s housing crunch.

26 minutes ago - Denverite

Interstate 55 with cars and green freeway signs in Chicago, Illinois

Illinois Legislators Pass Controversial I-55 Road Expansion Legislation

Legislation to enable the addition of express toll lanes on Interstate 55 in the Southwest Side of Chicago, opposed by environmental justice advocates, cleared the Illinois General Assembly last month.

1 hour ago - Chicago Tribune

Close-up of front og MARTA public transit bus in Atlanta, Georgia with logo wrap

What Is ‘Arterial Rapid Transit?’

Atlanta is planning to build ‘BRT lite,’ a version of bus service that offers signal priority and fewer stops but keeps buses in mixed-traffic lanes.

2 hours ago - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.