This community-based participatory research project, completed in partnership with the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance (NJEJA) and the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), evaluates the transportation-related pollution burden that environmental justice communities experience in and around port-adjacent communities in Newark, New Jersey. It highlights which transportation sources are the largest contributors to pollution exposure across the region generally and in specific hot spot areas. It then analyzes potential pathways, specifically focused on electrification, to reduce transportation-related emissions.
This analysis evaluates the distribution and intensity of vehicle emissions within the study area, and pathways for their reduction, by: 1) creating a comprehensive inventory of nearby vehicle emissions data across the marine and ground transportation sectors; 2) calculating relative emissions and emissions exposure within the entire study area as well as at specific locations determined by NJEJA and allies; and, 3) evaluating electrification pathways to reduce vehicle emissions.
Key Findings from Analysis
- The highest transportation emissions burden can be found in locations close to high density truck and bus routes and locations close to port facilities and rail yards. However, the analysis shows that total emissions exposure, and relative contribution from different transportation sources, varies significantly across the study area.
- Emissions of PM2.5, black carbon, and NOx from non-roadway sources, particularly locomotives and port operations, have the highest air quality impact in the total study area, followed by medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. These sources far outweigh the emissions exposure from passenger vehicles and together contribute around 95 percent of the total emissions exposure modeled within the study area (from mobile source emissions).
- Population centers and residential areas in close proximity to roadway emissions would benefit from efforts to reduce emissions from medium- and heavy- duty vehicles which can significantly reduce air emissions of particulates and NOx within certain key locations in the study area. The analysis shows that while electrification could be one path to these reductions, electrification of these vehicles must be accompanied by a focus on emissions reductions from electric generating units co-located within the same community in order to ensure a reduction in overall air pollution burden.