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Freight Impacts on Small Urban and Rural Areas
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Freight Impacts on Small Urban and Rural Areas
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    Freight mobility is critical for economic activity and vitality of a region. Freight system performance has also a driving influence on the quality of life in communities that experience freight traffic. Freight movement that results in high levels of pollutant emissions decreases quality of life in vulnerable communities. Federal transportation policy has placed increased focus on the measurement of freight system performance. Freight impacts are often characterized in terms of four performance areas 1) Economic 2) Environmental/Health 3) Infrastructure/Traffic and 4) Social/ Environmental Justice (EJ). EJ considerations are important in communities where racially and economically disadvantaged populations are present. A holistic approach to performance measurement should consider more than just the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the freight -transportation system, but should also take into consideration community impacts, including sustainability and quality of life. However, limited data availability prevents adequate measurement of community impacts of freight, and limited funding availability has challenged local efforts to implement best practices that reduce the impacts of freight. Furthermore, the impact of freight on small urban and rural areas is not well documented, posing a great challenge for mitigation of freight-related impacts. Freight traffic has many impacts that reduce quality life, including decreased safety and increased noise and vibrations. This study concentrates on one major impact of freight, air pollution from freight emissions. Specifically, the study measures the concentration levels of criteria pollutants monitored under national air quality standards (NO2 and PM2.5). These emissions are often evaluated at the county level, and without differentiation between urban and rural areas. This study uses disaggregate data to estimate current and future freight emissions at local levels along the Georgia Freight Corridor. It then takes the analysis a step further by identifying differing levels of pollutant concentrations for urban, small urban, and rural areas and by evaluating the exposure and health risks to EJ and other vulnerable populations along the corridor.

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