News from ISGlobal
Air quality in Barcelona deteriorates during public transport strikes, clearly indicating the important role played by public transport services in curbing urban air pollution in the city. This was the main conclusion of a study undertaken by ISGlobal, together with the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC).
Alterations in public transport services can trigger a rise in the number of private vehicle trips, which in turn increases air pollution levels. The study, which has been published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, studied changes in air pollution concentrations during strikes affecting public transport in Barcelona. The researchers measured daily levels of various pollutants—including nitrogen monoxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5 and PM1), black carbon (BC) and carbon monoxide (CO)—on the 208 days between 2005 and 2016 with stoppages caused by strikes affecting the city’s underground, rail and bus system.
On days when the public transport system in Barcelona was affected by strikes, the results show a mean daily and citywide rise in air pollution levels ranging from 4% in the case of NO2 to 8% in the case of NO compared to days when the system was running normally.
Basagaña X., Triguero-Mas M., Agis D., Pérez N., Reche C., Alastuey A., Querol X. Effect of public transport strikes on air pollution levels in Barcelona (Spain). Sci Total Environ. 2017 Aug 23;610-611:1076-1082. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv. 2017.07.263.