Schools, Air Pollution, and Active Transportation
An exploratory spatial analysis investigates the location of schools in Calgary (Canada) in relation to air pollution and active transportation options. Air pollution exhibits marked spatial variation throughout the city, along with distinct spatial patterns in summer and winter; however, all school locations lie within low to moderate pollution levels. Conversely, the study shows that almost half of the schools lie in low walkability locations; likewise, transitability is low for 60% of schools, and only bikability is widespread, with 93% of schools in very bikable locations. School locations are subsequently categorized by pollution exposure and active transportation options. This analysis identifies and maps schools according to two levels of concern: schools in car-dependent locations and relatively high pollution; and schools in locations conducive of active transportation, yet exposed to relatively high pollution. The findings can be mapped and effectively communicated to the public, health practitioners, and school boards. The study contributes with an explicitly spatial approach to the intra-urban public health literature. Developed for a moderately polluted city, the methods can be extended to more severely polluted environments, to assist in developing spatial public health policies to improve respiratory outcomes, neurodevelopment, and metabolic and attention disorders in school-aged children.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Study Area
4.1. Air Pollution and School Location
4.2. Measuring Active Transportation
4.3. Schools, Car Dependence, and Air Pollution
4.4. Recommandations and Future Work
Conflicts of Interest
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