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Residential Proximity to Traffic
The Residential Proximity to Traffic indicator measures how much of a residential neighborhood is impacted by streets that carry a large amount of traffic. It serves as a proxy for the impact on health from motor vehicle air pollution and traffic noise. Significant evidence indicates a link between the proximity to highways and increased incidence of adverse health effects from exposure to air pollution and excessive traffic noise. A recent review determined that there is sufficient evidence of a causal association between exposure to traffic-related air pollution and asthma exacerbation and suggestive evidence of a causal association for onset of childhood asthma, non-asthma respiratory symptoms, impaired lung function, all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and cardiovascular morbidity. Epidemiological studies addressing the relationship between air pollution and birth defects have accumulated over the past decade. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that minority populations and persons of lower socioeconomic status experience higher residential exposure to traffic and traffic-related air pollution than non-minorities and persons of higher socioeconomic status. Listed under the Environmental Hazards domain, this indicator is also tied to the Transportation, Economic Health, Housing, Health Systems and Public Safety, and Neighborhood Characteristics domains. It is an “inverse” measure, meaning the higher the value, the higher the negative impact on neighborhood health. Computation of this indicator requires highway, traffic volume, and population data which are available from the U.S. Census, Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham.