Spatial and temporal associations of road traffic noise and air pollution in London: Implications for epidemiological studies

TitleSpatial and temporal associations of road traffic noise and air pollution in London: Implications for epidemiological studies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsFecht D., Hansell A.L, Morley D., Dajnak D., Vienneau D., Beevers S., Toledano M.B, Kelly F.J, Anderson H.R, Gulliver J.
JournalEnviron IntEnvironment InternationalEnvironment International
Date Published03/2016
ISBN Number0160-4120
Accession Number26773394

Road traffic gives rise to noise and air pollution exposures, both of which are associated with adverse health effects especially for cardiovascular disease, but mechanisms may differ. Understanding the variability in correlations between these pollutants is essential to understand better their separate and joint effects on human health. We explored associations between modelled noise and air pollutants using different spatial units and area characteristics in London in 2003-2010. We modelled annual average exposures to road traffic noise (LAeq,24h, Lden, LAeq,16h, Lnight) for ~190,000 postcode centroids in London using the UK Calculation of Road Traffic Noise (CRTN) method. We used a dispersion model (KCLurban) to model nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone, total and the traffic-only component of particulate matter =2.5mum and =10mum. We analysed noise and air pollution correlations at the postcode level (~50 people), postcodes stratified by London Boroughs (~240,000 people), neighbourhoods (Lower layer Super Output Areas) (~1600 people), 1km grid squares, air pollution tertiles, 50m, 100m and 200m in distance from major roads and by deprivation tertiles. Across all London postcodes, we observed overall moderate correlations between modelled noise and air pollution that were stable over time (Spearman's rho range: |0.34-0.55|). Correlations, however, varied considerably depending on the spatial unit: largest ranges were seen in neighbourhoods and 1km grid squares (both Spearman's rho range: |0.01-0.87|) and was less for Boroughs (Spearman's rho range: |0.21-0.78|). There was little difference in correlations between exposure tertiles, distance from road or deprivation tertiles. Associations between noise and air pollution at the relevant geographical unit of analysis need to be carefully considered in any epidemiological analysis, in particular in complex urban areas. Low correlations near roads, however, suggest that independent effects of road noise and traffic-related air pollution can be reliably determined within London.

Short TitleEnviron IntEnviron. Int.
Alternate JournalEnvironment international