Traffic-related air pollution

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About traffic-related air pollution (TRAP)

Traffic is a major source of air pollution especially in urban areas. Traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) is a mixture of pollutants from:

Pollutants in TRAP include:

Many people in Canada are exposed to TRAP every day. Exposure to TRAP is highest near major roads and highways. Travelling in vehicles, working or living near busy roads, and being outdoors near traffic can increase your exposure to TRAP.

In addition, people living in urban areas in Canada are exposed to moderate to heavy traffic, for an average of an hour or more a day, when travelling in a vehicle or engaging in active transportation.

Health effects of traffic-related air pollution

We evaluated the link between TRAP exposure and:

We concluded that TRAP exposure:

All levels of government can use the conclusions drawn from the evaluation of the scientific evidence to support programs and policies designed to reduce exposure and the health impacts of TRAP in Canada.

Health impacts of traffic-related air pollution in Canada

We estimate that every year in Canada, TRAP contributes to:

We estimate the socioeconomic cost of health impacts of TRAP at $9.5B per year, based on 2015 currency.

About 4 out of 10 people in Canada live within 250 metres of a high traffic roadway. This includes:

High traffic roadways are associated with a higher risk of exposure to TRAP, putting those living close to them at greater risk of adverse health effects. Many of the people who live near high traffic roadways are:

People from these groups may be at greater risk than others of experiencing adverse health effects from exposure to air pollution including TRAP.

What we're doing to reduce traffic-related air pollution

We've introduced strict regulations to decrease air pollution from vehicles and engines. These regulations have resulted in reduced emissions due to:

Although technology improvements have reduced vehicle emissions, there's still cause for concern because:

Did you know?

Under the National Air Pollutant Surveillance Program, dedicated roadside air monitoring sites, including in Toronto and Vancouver monitor common air pollutants and TRAP emissions in real-time.

How you can help reduce traffic-related air pollution

You can help to reduce TRAP emissions by:

For more information, please visit the Air quality and health page or contact us at:

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Does traffic take your breath away?

Reports on traffic-related air pollution

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