Car drivers in London are causing the most pollution per commuter, a study by the University of Surrey has found. Drivers themselves are the commuters least exposed to harmful particulate matter (PM), when compared with those taking the Underground or the bus. The study suggested that those on the Tube are the most exposed to poor air quality during their commutes to work, followed by those on buses.
It was found people from areas with low deprivation have a predominant use of car, receiving the lower doses while generating the largest emissions per person. The opposite is observed for people from higher deprivation areas, who rely more on buses. Air pollution in typical commuting routes was assessed with personal real time monitors.
Commenting on the study, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, Claire Haigh, said, ‘The people who are doing the most to reduce their emissions, bus users, are the very people who are suffering the most from damaging air pollution. New research from the University of Surrey demonstrates that diesel car drivers produce six times as much pollution as the average bus passenger. Government urgently needs to take action, and that means tackling the most serious cause of pollution, diesel cars. Buses are an essential part of the solution to our air quality problem. Modern Euro6 buses deliver a 95% reduction in harmful NOx emissions. Much more needs to be done to encourage people to switch from their cars to public transport, including more bus priority measures. If we had seen the same progress from diesel cars as we have seen from buses over the past five years our air quality problem would have been dramatically reduced.’