Development and validation of a method to quantify benefits of clean-air taxi legislation

Abstract

Air pollution from motor vehicle traffic remains a significant threat to public health. Using taxi inspection and trip data, we assessed changes in New York City’s taxi fleet following Clean Air Taxi legislation enacted in 2005–2006. Inspection and trip data between 2004 and 2015 were used to assess changes in New York’s taxi fleet and to estimate and spatially apportion annual taxi-related exhaust emissions of nitric oxide (NO) and total particulate matter (PMT). These emissions changes were used to predict reductions in NO and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations estimates using data from the New York City Community Air Survey (NYCCAS) in 2009–2015. Efficiency trends among other for-hire vehicles and spatial variation in traffic intensity were also considered. The city fuel efficiency of the medallion taxi fleet increased from 15.7 MPG to 33.1 MPG, and corresponding NO and PMT exhaust emissions estimates declined by 82 and 49%, respectively. These emissions reductions were associated with changes in NYCCAS-modeled NO and PM2.5 concentrations (p < 0.001). New York’s clean air taxi legislation was effective at increasing fuel efficiency of the medallion taxi fleet, and reductions in estimated taxi emissions were associated with decreases in NO and PM2.5 concentrations.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Sarah Johnson from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for her essential support and advice on the use of NYCCAS and NYMTC data and for her help in improving our statistical models. We also thank the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for providing NYCCAS data. Funding support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Environmental Protection Agency P50ES09600, the NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan P30ES009089, the John and Wendy Neu Family, and the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Foundations.

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Correspondence to Dustin Fry.

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Fry, D., Kioumourtzoglou, M., Treat, C.A. et al. Development and validation of a method to quantify benefits of clean-air taxi legislation. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 30, 629–640 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370-019-0141-6

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Keywords

  • Environmental monitoring
  • Exposure modeling
  • Particulate matter

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