According to a recent report in Forbes, the amount of driving we do back and forth is killing us...literally. From breathing air polluted with diesel particulates and other nasty pollutants to fatalities occurred in private automobiles, Forbes suggests that many of us are placing health far behind priorities such as McMansions, big box shopping, and congested commutes. Forbes compiled statistics from the American Lung Association's air pollution monitoring, average U.S. traffic delays from the Texas Transportation Institute, and U.S. per-capital car fatalities from the U.S Department of Transportation to find out what U.S. cities were most dangerous to drive in. Their results? Surprise, surprise...Southern California ruled the list. Both Riverside, California and Los Angeles were in the top three, separated by only Atlanta, Georgia. So, what is deemed the answer for this rising health problem? Public transportation and carpooling.
Of course, increased use of public transportation and carpooling takes enough cars off the road to reduce bad-news air particulates. However, public transportation in particular can help you avoid much of the pollution we breath in on our commutes to and from work.
According to the Forbes article:
Ultra-fine particulate matter has been linked with premature death, cardiovascular disease and respiratory illness, according to the California Air Resources Board. Though it takes Americans an average of 25 minutes to drive to work, according to 2005 U.S. Census Bureau figures, the board estimates that over 50% of a person's daily exposure to ultra-fine particles can occur during a commute.
The types of commutes shown to have low volumes of these particulates? Non-petrol public transportation systems such as subways, electric-powered trains and buses running on alternative fuels. Another commuting system not mentioned by Forbes? Walking or biking to work. As stated in the article, diesel particulates in cars were observed at four to eight times higher than a city's "ambient outdoor air." So, get out and walk or bike in that ambient outdoor air or hop on a streetcar/subway/bus and save your lungs a load of pollution. Via ::Forbes