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Traffic congestion contributes to poor infant health

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Another good reason why we need better public transport: a new study reveals that exposure to traffic congestion can worsen infant health, reports our correspondent.

In a recent working paper in the US National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) (NBER Working Paper No. w15413), authors Janet Currie and Reed Walker show that “traffic congestion is a significant contributor to poor health in affected infants”.

Cleverly exploiting some changes in toll collection to obtain a “natural” experimental situation, they show that reduced exposure to traffic congestion within a 2km range also reduced the incidence of prematurity and low birth weight by between 11-12 per cent.

Given what we now know about the impact of early life events on long-term health, education, and well-being outcomes, this suggests that exposure to traffic congestion has much larger long term costs than previously thought.

Do we need more evidence for developing a decent public transport that can begin to cut down on traffic congestion and its huge impact on our children?

The full reference is:
Traffic Congestion and Infant Health: Evidence from E-ZPass
by Janet Currie, Reed Walker

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