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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Las Vegas, Nevada: Near Roadway Vehicle Emissions Study

EPA scientists and engineers will measure, define, and profile roadway air pollutants along a portion of U.S. Route 95 in Las Vegas beginning in December 2008.

During the year-long study, EPA researchers will work with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to gather information to better understand the relationship between traffic emissions and roadway-related air pollution concentrations at various distances from the roadway. Study results will be used to inform future research such as air-quality modeling, health studies, and evaluations of risk-management alternatives.

The Las Vegas study is part of an EPA/FHWA joint program formally called the National Near Roadway Mobile Source Air Toxics (MSAT) Study - a project focused on providing the scientific knowledge and understanding needed to identify the most effective strategies and tools to control exposure to air pollution, including natural and man-made mitigation strategies to protect people who live, work or go to school nearby (e.g., placement of vegetation or man-made barriers near roadways).

During the study, EPA will gather data by placing instruments 10, 100, and 350 meters from U.S. Route 95 near Dean Martin Drive and 100 meters from West Post Road. Researchers will also measure meteorological conditions and roadway characteristics such as traffic counts and vehicle types.

Previous research by EPA and others has found that concentrations of particles and gases associated with motor vehicles are elevated near major roadways and other major transportation sources such as airports. Elevated concentrations of particles and gases emitted from vehicle tailpipes, road dust from passing vehicles, and particles from brake and tire wear have also been found near major transportation sources.

Specific gases found in higher concentrations near roadways include carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, and air toxics including benzene and toluene.

The Las Vegas study is the first in a series of studies planned in the United States with different road conditions and weather patterns.

EPA Technical Contact: Dan Costa, Sc.D., National Program Director for the Clean Air Program,
919-541-2532 or
EPA Media Contact: Margot Perez-Sullivan, Public Information Officer,
415-947-4149 or
FHWA Media Contact: Doug Hecox, Public Affairs Specialist,
(202) 366-2244 or

Updated: 7/6/2011
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