Diesel Truck Traffic in Port-Adjacent Low-Income and Minority Communities; Environmental Justice Implications of Near-Roadway Land Use Conflicts

Container traffic at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has tripled in the last fifteen years
resulting in massive port-related heavy duty diesel truck (HDDT) traffic on surface streets in the
port-adjacent low-income and minority communities of Wilmington and western Long Beach.
Responding to the limitations of existing data on volumes of HDDTs on surface streets, this
study used direct video measurements of surface street traffic at eleven intersections and line
segments in these communities to document port-related truck traffic traveling to and from
intermodal facilities, truck services and local amenities, and regional goods movement roadways.
Volumes of HDDTs often reached 400-600 per hour for several hours, immediately upwind of
‘sensitive’ land uses such as schools, open-field parks and residences. Diurnal truck traffic
patterns on surface streets varied by intersection, local conditions, and passenger car commute
patterns. Given the documented health and environmental consequences of HDDT emissions,
our results raise serious public health concerns for inhabitants who reside, work, attend school,
or recreate in close proximity to roadways with heavy diesel truck traffic in these port-adjacent
communities. This paper discusses the environmental justice implications of truck-related land
use conflicts and current planning and emission control strategies to mitigate the local air
pollution impacts of increasing port-related truck traffic in these low income, minority

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