National Academies Press: OpenBook

Environmental Assessment of Air and High-Speed Rail Corridors (2013)

Chapter: Chapter Five - Local and Regional Impacts

« Previous: Chapter Four - National Environmental Policy Act Process
Page 22
Suggested Citation:"Chapter Five - Local and Regional Impacts ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Environmental Assessment of Air and High-Speed Rail Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22520.
×
Page 22
Page 23
Suggested Citation:"Chapter Five - Local and Regional Impacts ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2013. Environmental Assessment of Air and High-Speed Rail Corridors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22520.
×
Page 23

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

22 chapter five LOCAL AND REGIONAL IMPACTS Local and regional impacts of air and HSR systems typi- cally assess criteria air pollutants (CAP), noise, and land use. These impacts produce externalities on the local populations that may use the air and HSR systems, which is different than GHG externalities, which are possibly far from the regional systems. CRITERIA AIR POLLUTANTS Air quality effects are assessed by evaluating changes in CAP and precursor emissions and often include SOx, NOx, PM10, PM2.5, CO, and VOCs (or some subset thereof). CAPs cause direct human health and ecosystem service impacts and are regulated by the 1970 Clean Air Act and 1990 Amendments. Several studies consider CAPs to evaluate the trade-offs between airport and electricity generation effects. Some studies consider aircraft propulsion or HSR electric- ity generation emissions exclusively, whereas others include life-cycle effects. The inclusion of a broad suite of CAP emissions (often in addition to GHG emissions) can reveal unintended trade-offs. The substitution of air travel by HSR travel was found to reduce NOx, CO, hydrocarbon (HC), and PM10 emissions but increase SO2 by a factor of 12 owing to the sulfur content of primary fuels for electricity genera- tion (Givoni 2007). Givoni’s (2007) attributional assessment found that between Paris and London there were significant reductions in CAP between air and HSR systems (18 HC grams/seat air to 0.4 HSR, 126 to 2.2 CO, 71 to 18 NOx, 2.9 to 35 SOx, and 2.0 to 1.0 PM10). Jamin et al.’s (2004) consequential assessment found that substituting one-third of air travel for HSR in the relevant corridors increases SOx emissions across the corridors from 100 to 2,000 tons and decreases NOx (5,000 to 4,200 tons), HC (2,200 to 1,900 tons), and CO emissions (6,100 to 4,200 tons). This could be important when assessing human health and envi- ronmental impacts and would depend on where the emis- sions occur. Increases in sulfur emissions may result in acidification of soil and groundwater and occur from changes in operation and propulsion energy inputs and also life-cycle effects (Chester and Horvath 2012). Some European stud- ies monetize the local air pollution externalities (Janic 2003; Givoni 2007). Studies that assess CAPs rarely evaluate their human health and ecosystem service impacts. Chester and Horvath (2012) connect these emissions to human health respiratory, acidification, eutrophication, and photochemi- cal smog formation impact potentials. Although significant research has been done to understand the impacts of aircraft, only one study identified in the United States assesses the impacts of HSR mode shifts (Chester and Horvath 2012). The study found that the time until environmental payback can vary significantly with the uncertainty in future rider- ship, which is affected primarily by the number of trip takers shifting from automobiles. NOISE Noise trade-offs are often considered for each mode to quan- tify the externalities of additional aircraft operations or how new rail lines will affect neighborhoods. There are studies that evaluate noise trade-offs of competing air and HSR travel (Janic 2003; Eagan and Mazur 2011), as well as studies that compare air, conventional rail, and automobile travel (Euro- pean Commission 2002; Miedema 2007). The European Com- mission (2002) found that people generally are more annoyed by aircraft noise than rail noise, with highway noise falling between these two modes. Eagan and Mazur (2011) note that although this certainly has to do with acoustic factors, it also has to do with attitudes toward the noise source. In the United States, the FAA has the authority to regulate noise at airports. This differs from the FRA, which typically performs noise mitigation based on an EIS and community concern. A key metric in noise evaluation, and thus in modal comparison, is annoyance and the day-night sound level, the 24-hour average sound level at an airport. Regarding annoy- ance, human annoyance response varies based on the degree of previous noise exposure, the degree of the incremental increases in exposure, and whether the source of noise is intermittent or constant. Although conventional rail noise generally is considered to generate less annoyance than air noise (European Commission 2002; Miedema 2007), rail noise is found to be largely correlated with train speed, and it is anticipated that annoyance associated with HSR noise will be higher than that with rail noise (Campos and de Rus 2009; Eagan and Mazur 2011). However, HSR can mitigate noise with low-to-the-ground sound walls because the noise is gen- erated mainly from wheel-rail interaction similar to that of conventional rail (FRA 2005a). However, the impact of miti- gation on annoyance is not clear. Noise exposure can trans- late into different levels of annoyance because nonacoustic factors, such as whether the source of the noise is visible and whether fear is associated with the source, also contribute to

23 with air, despite different values of population exposed (Janic 2003). Population density also affects where cost-effective mitigation might occur along a train route. Even with potential similarities in noise profiles for air and HSR systems, similar noise profiles do not immediately translate into a simple com- parison methodology because of the psychosocial phenomena addressed by Hansen et al. (2013). LAND USE Land use impacts are commonly considered to assess the pro- curement efforts needed to deploy new air and HSR systems and typically are assessed in a consequential approach. Land uses, including farmland, forests, and wetlands, are common environmental metrics considered. The construction, opera- tion, and maintenance of air and HSR systems requires land and can contribute to barrier effects (Kageson 2009; Rus 2011). Barrier effect occurs when linear infrastructure, such as road or rail lines, cuts through natural resource areas caus- ing disturbance to animal migratory paths and ecosystems (Ree et al. 2007). Given the different infrastructure configu- rations of air and HSR systems, land use impacts manifest differently. Although HSR lines must be located between population centers, airport land size is largely governed by the volume of air traffic (Rus 2011). Air transport typically requires less land per passenger trip than does HSR (Rus 2011). Airport land-take occurs when the airport sees a need for capacity expansions, whereas land use impacts from HSR are dependent on the length of the HSR line and the environ- ment along the line, not the volume of traffic in the corridor (Janic 2003). HSR must acquire land for the potential upper bound of use; the leveling of these capital and expansion land uses is not accounted for in the literature. Furthermore, it is important that growth-inducing impacts on surrounding land should be considered. Both air and HSR systems have the potential to create indirect land use impacts through new residential, commercial, and industrial activities near airports and train stations. Airports can create demand on nearby land for new industries that provide passenger and freight sup- port infrastructure for airline operations. Although similar effects can occur with HSR, there is a stronger emphasis on understanding the planned growth of residential and commer- cial activities near stations (Nuworsoo and Deakin 2009). annoyance (Stallen 1999). In addition, “new noise” can gen- erate more annoyance than existing noise of the same level, and noise in wealthy areas (“rich noise”) can be perceived as more onerous (Hansen et al. 2013). In addition, new noise is a complex topic for HSR. HSR will be a completely new source of noise that is also present among existing sources of transportation noise. This type of new noise is very dif- ferent in perception compared with that of additional flights to an airport, which may not constitute new noise (Egan and Mazur 2011). Hansen et al. (2013) argue that airport noise impact is more a psychosocial phenomenon than an acoustic one, given that the receiver of sound may think or believe that sound is noise through the influence of others; the same may be true for HSR. Eagan and Mazur (2011) argue that this suggests that air and HSR systems may need different cri- teria that may not be based on high annoyance at DNL 65. Overall, the FAA has a long history of considering noise exposure relative to annoyance; if and when HSR is imple- mented across the United States, the FRA likely will amass a similar history. Along with their spatial incompatibilities, air and HSR systems can have differing noise profiles. Aircraft noise is primarily a concern for near-airport operations because of the occurrence of low-altitude flight. Because HSR involves a system of links between stations, HSR noise may or may not occur predominantly at the nodes owing to a combination of mitigation possibilities (FRA 2005a), the population density near tracks, and operation characteristics. Areas of concern for HSR noise can vary based on characteristics of the operating plan and the corridor, and there are many contributing factors affecting whether a system may have more noise impact near nodes or more along the route. In general, there is less impact expected near stations than along the route. Some of the rea- sons for this are lower train speeds as trains approach and depart stations and less noise-sensitive land use near stations, particularly for stations located in urban areas, where there may be more commercial or industrial land use. Higher ambi- ent noise levels at stations located in more urban areas can also result in less impact near stations because ambient noise lev- els determine the criteria for noise impact in rail assessments. However, noise impacts could be greater near stations if the train route goes through low population areas and has greater population density near stations; this may result in similarities

Next: Chapter Six - Greenhouse Gas Emissions »
Environmental Assessment of Air and High-Speed Rail Corridors Get This Book
×
 Environmental Assessment of Air and High-Speed Rail Corridors
Buy Paperback | $44.00
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 43: Environmental Assessment of Air and High-Speed Rail Corridors explores where additional research can improve the ability to assess the environmental outcomes of these two systems.

READ FREE ONLINE

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!