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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Traffic exposure near the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex: using GPS-enhanced tracking to assess the implications of unreported travel and locations

  • Author(s): Houston, Douglas
  • Ong, Paul
  • Jaimes, Guillermo
  • Winer, Arthur
  • et al.

Traffic exposure assessments could misclassify the extent and locations of exposure if traditional recall surveys and self-reported travel diaries do not record all participant activities. The Harbor Communities Time Location Study (HCTLS) examines the nature, extent and implications of underreported locations/trips in a case study which used portable Global Positioning Systems (GPS) devices to track the diurnal patterns and traffic exposure of 47 residents of communities near the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex. Participants were similar to adults nationwide in time spent indoors, in-vehicle, and outdoors, but spent more time indoors at home (78% vs. 66%). Overall, participants did not report nearly half (49%) of the locations and trips identified in GPS-enhanced data on their activity diaries, resulting in about 3 h/day in unreported locations and 0.6 h/day in unreported trips. The probability of a location/trip being under-reported was systematically correlated with participant and location/trip characteristics. Self-reported data missed about 50 min of heightened air pollution exposures during the 5 h/day on average participants spent in high-traffic areas and about 30 min during the 4 h/day near truck routes. GPS-enhanced methods provide opportunities to more precisely characterize exposure periods and tools to identify facility, roadway, and land use types of the greatest concern for mitigation efforts.

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