The Impact of COVID-19 Lockdowns on Air Quality and Transportation Patterns in Florida

Authors: Tate Grant and Mariel Judd Faculty Mentors: Scott Parr and Marwa M.H. El-Sayed All authors and faculty mentors are from the following institution: Department of Civil Engineering, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University 600 South Clyde Morris Boulevard Daytona Beach, FL 32114

The world is currently facing an unprecedented pandemic caused by the novel COVID-19 virus. Due to this pandemic, countries have undergone nationwide lockdowns which has consequently led to the reduction in commuting and hence a significant decrease in the number of vehicles on the road. The lockdowns have had substantial economical, social, as well as environmental consequences. Studies have investigated the effects of the lockdown on either air quality or transportation, with little attention towards examining the correlation between air quality and traffic during the lockdown period. To the best of our knowledge, this work is the first to investigate the relationship between changes in traffic and air quality during the lockdowns associated with COVID-19 pandemic in major cities in the state of Florida, including Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and Miami. Same-day traffic volumes acquired from Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for the years of 2019 and 2020 are analyzed to identify changes in traffic load for both light (passenger) and heavy (trucks) vehicles. Hourly data for five criteria pollutants including particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), and carbon monoxide (CO) is provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) in each city from 2015 through 2020. Three different periods are investigated in this study, namely: pre-lockdown, lockdown, and post-lockdown periods corresponding to January 1st to April 1st, April 1st to May 15th, and May 18th to June 30th, respectively. The impact of the lockdown on air pollution and mobility is characterized by comparing air quality and traffic data in 2020 to their historic values during the three aforementioned periods. Results herein provide insight into the relative impact of vehicle classifications on air quality in the state of Florida. This work has implications on policy making and vehicular emissions regulations.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Mariel Judd, Tate Grant

Institution: Embry - Riddle Aeronautical University

Type: Poster

Subject: Civil Engineering

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 4
Date/Time: Tue 11:00am-12:00pm
Session Number: 3636