An assessment of perceptions of air quality surrounding the implementation of a traffic-reduction measure in a local urban environment
Schmitz, S., Weiand, L., Becker, S., Niehoff, N., Schwartzbach, F., & von Schneidemesser, E. (2018). An assessment of perceptions of air quality surrounding the implementation of a traffic-reduction measure in a local urban environment. Sustainable cities and society: SCC, 41, 525-537. doi:10.1016/j.scs.2018.06.011.
Poor air quality remains a major environmental and health risk in Europe, despite improvements over the last few decades. Consistent exceedances of the nitrogen dioxide air quality limit values at a roadside monitoring station in Potsdam, owing to heavy local and commuter individual motorized traffic, prompted the city administration to implement a trial traffic measure aimed at reducing motorized traffic to improve air quality. This study analysed data (n = 3553) from a questionnaire carried out prior to the implementation of the trial traffic measure. This research provides a case-study to contribute to the understanding of general determinants of air quality perceptions, and policy-relevant information regarding how citizens perceive air quality in the context of a ‘hard’ policy measure. A subset of variables was used to build an ordinal logistic regression model to assess the explanatory power for air quality perceptions. Gender, perceived health status, level of concern for air quality, level of concern for climate change, and the desire for greater access to information regarding air quality were factors found to be significant in their explanatory power of perceptions of air quality. The results are discussed in the broader policy context of attempts to improve air quality in urban environments.