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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An Analysis of the health impacts from PM and NOx emissions resulting from train operations in the Alameda Corridor, CA


The goal of this paper is to estimate the health impacts resulting from exposure to PM and NOx emitted by train operations in the Alameda corridor, a crucial rail link that serves the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, also known as the San Pedro Bay Ports (SPBP). We link a pollutant dispersion model (CalPUFF) to a health benefits assessment model (BenMAP) to discover population-based health impacts of PM and NOx emissions from train operations (switching and line haul). After analyzing year 2005 as our baseline, we consider two scenarios that correspond to switching to Tier 2 and Tier 3 locomotives. We find that mortality from PM exposure accounts for the largest health impacts, with health costs in excess of $40 million annually. A shift to Tier 2 locomotives would save approximately half of the annual health costs but the benefits of shifting from Tier 2 to Tier 3 locomotives would be much smaller. This assessment is only partial, however, because of gaps in available health data. To our knowledge, this is the first application of BenMAP to conduct a health assessment at the county level.

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