Ambient air pollution is a major public health problem in the United States. The most common source of ambient air pollution in the U.S. is motor-vehicle traffic, which emits a complex mixture of toxic substances. Research studies have shown links between long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and adverse human health; however, little is known about the immediate effects of short-term exposures that people experience while commuting.
The Commuter Study aims to investigate links between air pollution exposure during rush-hour commutes and short-term changes in health. This project seeks to recruit healthy, non-smoking adults working at Colorado State University to participate in several simulated commuting events. The Commuter Study uses wearable sensors to monitor personal air pollution levels across a 2-day period. During these time periods, study volunteers will simulate rush-hour commutes by bike or by car and along high-traffic or low-traffic routes, to determine the effect of travel mode and route choice on exposure. In addition, volunteers will undergo three health assessments per day, to determine short-term effects of commuting on their health.
The Commuter Study is the first study of its kind to compare exposures during different travel modes and on different routes. It will collect the largest dataset to date on personal exposure to traffic-related air pollution and acute markers of heart and lung health. More information can be found on the Commuter Study Factsheet.