Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers

Air Quality, Surface Transportation Impacts on

  • Paul Boulter
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0851-3_554

Definition of the Subject

Until the middle of the twentieth century poor air quality in populated areas was usually associated with domestic and industrial combustion, with coal burning leading to high concentrations of smoke and sulfur dioxide. A recent retrospective analysis has indicated that the most famous example of this type of pollution – the great London smog of 1952 – was responsible for 12,000 deaths [1]. However, during the 1940s and 1950s an altogether different type of pollution was observed in the United States. Haagen-Smit identified a mechanism by which air pollutants reacted with the Los Angeles sunlight to produce a noxious photochemical smog [2], and it became clear that the pollution originated not from the use of coal but from road vehicles.

In the subsequent decades urban air pollution has become synonymous with road transport , the link being attributable primarily to the growth in the ownership and use of private cars. Photochemical smog has remained a...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PAEHolmesSydneyAustralia