port-related diesel truck traffic and environmental justice implications

Practicum Project | 2007

Port-Related Diesel Truck Traffic and Environmental Justice Implications

Students: Dorothy Kieu Le

Advisor: Dr. Arthur Winer

This study examines the environmental justice implications of port-related diesel truck traffic for the Long Beach/Wilmington Port Area. We directly measured heavy duty diesel truck (HDDT) traffic by videotaping all vehicles at 11 key intersections in the port adjacent communities of Wilmington and Long Beach. We reduced, classified, and binned data according to traffic direction, vehicle type and class. We overlaid 2000 Census data and a Geographic Information System (GIS) to create maps of HDDT traffic, ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES). The traffic data generally reflect two peaks in truck traffic, in the midmorning and mid-afternoon. Over 600 HDDT per hour were observed at key intersections. These high HDDT volumes are located in areas with up to 80-90% Latino/Hispanic residents, including neighborhoods with over 40% of residents living below the federal poverty line, respectively. The results raise concerns regarding potential exposure of this largely minority, low SES community to multiple environmental hazards in this port-adjacent area. Short-term policy recommendations include information sharing and public participation. Long-term policy recommendations should be based on the Clean Air Action Plan for the Ports, including the retrofit or replacement of the 16,000 highly polluting HDDT presently operating at these ports.