Project 4: Transit Exposures in utero

Objective of Research: To test the hypothesis that neighborhood characteristics have a direct and quantifiable relationship with an individual’s transit patterns that affect personal exposures to traffic related air pollution (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), PM2.5, and BC).

Goal 1: Define neighborhoods within Fresno by using both secondary and primary data to characterize assets (e.g., bus stops/routes, sidewalks, food outlets) and liabilities (e.g., neighborhood foreclosure rate, density of condemned properties, Toxic Release Inventory sites, and high speed surface street traffic) of the local built environment.

Goal 2: Estimate the indirect effects of neighborhood assets and liabilities on ambient air pollution by first assessing the impact of the built environment on transit use and then the impact of transit use on simulated personal exposures to PAHs, PM2.5, and BC.

Goal 3: Evaluate environmental exposures by different transit methods by measuring PM2.5, ultrafine particles, black carbon, and particle bound PAHs in 10 neighborhoods in Fresno California

Goal 4: Evaluate what changes to neighborhood characteristics (i.e., interventions) would have the greatest potential to reduce transit-related exposures to PAHs, PM2.5, and BC in the population as a whole and in subgroups defined by geographic neighborhoods.

Project 4 is primarily about improving our understanding of how neighborhoods are best characterized so that we can model how individual behavioral patterns and neighborhoods conditions influence exposure to criterion pollutants and their components. Our work is primarily focused on extending research on the role of exposure to ambient air pollution on pregnancy outcomes. The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of neighborhood assets and liabilities on daily activities and physical movement around Fresno, California in pregnant women/ new mothers enrolled in the pregnancy and air pollution study. The data derived from this study may be useful as supplemental measures of neighborhood exposures for other CHAPS components. (Additionally, we will assess potential personal exposures associated with walking and transit use to pollutants strongly associated with vehicular traffic emissions – PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), PM2.5 (fine particle, particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometer in diameter and smaller), and BC (black carbon, a component of particulate matter.

Project 4 highlights our partnership with CSU Fresno's Department of Public Health under the leadership of Dr. Kara Zografos, engaging under-grad students in our study as field researchers conducting Structured Social Observations in all of the zip codes of Fresno and Clovis, as well as air monitoring with Dr. Jaymin Kwon and his students.  

Project Co-Leads: S. Katherine Hammond, PhD, University of California, Berkeley and John Capitman, PhD, California State University, Fresno-Central Valley Health Policy Institute