The health impact of freight transport-related air pollution on vulnerable population segments in the Brussels Metropolitan Region

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished abstract

106 Downloads (Pure)


Every year, more than 500,000 people in Europe die prematurely due to the effects of air pollution. The transport sector plays an important role in total emitted air pollutants such as NOx and PM. The health impacts of air pollution such as lung and cardiovascular diseases, strokes and at worst, death, are broadly documented, and can be calculated using dose-response functions and translated in monetary external costs. The magnitude of air pollution external costs is especially high in urban areas, as these are dependent on receptor densities. Research has shown that dynamic spatiotemporal modelling – following the Impact-Pathway Approach - of both the emission sources (moving combustion vehicles) and the receptors (people exposed to air pollutants, e.g. based on mobile phone data) renders more accurate impact results, especially when analyzing its impact on a microlevel, such as for a neighborhood, link or building. However, while mobile phone data covers 91,6% of the population, it does not capture marginal population segments with limited cell coverage, such as children or elderly people, which are disproportionately exposed and more vulnerable to air pollutants. This paper examines the link between vulnerable population’s locations, in particular schools and elderly care centres, and air pollution concentrations from freight transport in the Brussels Metropolitan Region. To this end, dynamic emissions and their spatial dispersion are calculated using output from the Transport Agent-Based Model (TRABAM). Dynamic receptor densities at the vulnerable locations are calculated in function of the residencies’ occupancy rate and school/class size and opening hours. The effects of air pollution exposure are evaluated using dose-response functions and monetized in terms of external costs. Results are then geographically analyzed in function of the statistical sector to examine the link or magnitude of incurred inequities from these locations across the Brussels Metropolitan Area. The results the authors aim to include in this paper is which mitigation potential exists towards achieving a more equitable environmental justice (transport) system (e.g. spatio-temporal routing objectives in function of receptor concentrations).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages128
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2022
EventNECTAR International Conference: Mobilizing Justice: Moving Toward Action for an Equitable Transportation Future - University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 20 Jul 202222 Jul 2022


ConferenceNECTAR International Conference
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'The health impact of freight transport-related air pollution on vulnerable population segments in the Brussels Metropolitan Region'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this