Annual global mortality from ambient particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone exposure has increased 24 percent since 1990. The smog, carbon monoxide, and other toxins emitted by vehicles are especially troubling because they leave tailpipes at street level, where humans breathe the polluted air directly into their lungs. That can make auto emissions an even more immediate health concern than toxins emitted high in the sky by industrial smokestacks. Air pollution is among the leading factors in asthma, respiratory illness, heart disease, poor birth outcomes, and premature death. Without major changes in urban development investments and policy transport emissions are projected to skyrocket, creating even more deadly air pollution worldwide.
Compact and connected urban environments, built around mass public transport, vastly reduce emissions by decreasing people’s reliance of polluting personal vehicles. Eliminating emissions such as particulate matter from dirty diesel engines burning low quality fuels, significantly improves local air pollution. Electrification of transport systems cut emissions by taking highly polluting diesel buses off the roads. Electrification of transportation systems like offer an important approach in the mitigation of air pollution, along with low or zero emission zones, and investments in electric bicycles.
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