Rick Kreutzer, MD
We will try to identify traits of 21st century public health by looking at its past, considering some of the most visible current discoveries and drivers, and discussing one example-housing. California communities legally must provide adequate housing, including affordable housing, while minimizing exposures of occupants to local traffic-related air pollutants. This has become a widespread challenge given: 1. California Air Resources Board (CARB) guidance not to site housing within 500 feet of a high-volume roadway and 2. The strong public policy focus on reducing traffic emissions, especially greenhouse gases, by concentrating development for more location efficient travel and emphasizing infill development (building within the existing development footprint) and transit-oriented development (TOD), particularly in California’s major metropolitan areas. Since many infill residential development locations are near high-volume roadways, and many TODs are located near transit corridors that parallel freeways, residents may be exposed to health risks associated with traffic-related air pollution. Local and regional government agencies must confront these challenges and make decisions to achieve long-term community sustainability objectives, including adequate access to affordable housing, while improving and protecting health.