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Road traffic nuisance in residential and commercial areas

Williams, I.D. and McCrae, I.S. (1995) Road traffic nuisance in residential and commercial areas Science of Total Environment, 169, (1), pp. 75-82. (doi:10.1016/0048-9697(95)04635-E).

Record type: Article


Air pollution from traffic is one of the main factors considered in the environmental appraisal of road schemes. Currently this appraisal concentrates on the emission and roadside concentration of those regulated pollutants which are potentially harmful to the health or well-being of human, animal or plant life, or to ecological systems.

However, vehicle emissions, especially those from diesel vehicles, may also cause a number of aesthetic and nuisance problems, such as visibility reduction, urban soiling and physical irritation. A methodology to investigate the subjective nuisance effects of air pollution from road traffic on the public has been developed and tested. The data indicates that vehicle-derived air pollution was an issue of high relative importance to the public when compared to other major social issues. On a local level, the physical presence of road traffic and its associated pollution appeared to be the largest contributors to outdoor public environmental nuisance. Indoors, the public appeared to experience only minor disturbances from vehicle-derived pollution, with the average respondent being not very bothered by vehicle-derived smoke, fumes and odour, dust and dirt and general air pollution.

Noise appeared to cause the greatest indoor traffic-related nuisance, although many respondents complained about soiling from dust/dirt. The surveys suggest that outdoor disturbance from vehicle-derived air pollution was fairly high, with smoke, fumes and odour causing the greatest annoyance. The main reason given for disturbance from outdoor smoke, fumes and odour and dust/dirt was concern that they would harm the public's health. Other important specific reasons included soiling and the smell of the fumes. The data also suggests that there can be significant differences in disturbance between sites in the same and different cities, between males and females and between different age groups. No significant differences in annoyance were noted between smokers/non-smokers and different socio-economic groupings. In addition, the level of nuisance experienced by people in urban areas did not depend upon the proximity of their home/workplace to a road.

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More information

Published date: 8 July 1995
Keywords: road traffic pollution, air pollution, vehicle-derived, vehicle emissions, noise pollution


Local EPrints ID: 75766
ISSN: 0048-9697
PURE UUID: 4df2c56b-c9cb-4ecf-a210-10c8c9cb14c1
ORCID for I.D. Williams: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 11 Mar 2010
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 23:42

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