Air Quality and Land Use Handbook

This page last reviewed May 2, 2017

Strategies to Reduce Air Pollution Exposure Near High-Volume Roadways: Technical Advisory

This Technical Advisory is a supplement to ARB's Air Quality and Land Use Handbook: A Community Health Perspective. It is intended to provide planners and other stakeholders involved in land use planning and decision-making with information on scientifically based strategies to reduce exposure to traffic emissions near high-volume roadways in order to protect public health and promote equity and environmental justice.

This Technical Advisory demonstrates that it is possible for planners, developers, and local governments to pursue infill development while simultaneously reducing exposure to traffic-related pollution. Strategies to reduce exposure include practices and technologies that reduce traffic emissions, increase dispersion of traffic pollution (or the dilution of pollution in the air), or remove pollution from the air. Recent research documents the effectiveness of a variety of strategies. Based on a review of this body of research, ARB staff compiled a list of recommended strategies, which this document describes in detail.

The ARB's "Strategies to Reduce Air Pollution Exposure Near High-Volume Roadways: Technical Advisory" is now available along with a Fact Sheet that summarizes the document's contents:

Technical Advisory (April 2017) - PDF
Fact Sheet - PDF
Fact Sheet (Spanish)

A Community Health Perspective

intersection image

As part of the Air Resources Board's (ARB) Community Health Program, the ARB has developed an Air Quality and Land Use Handbook (Handbook) which is intended to serve as a general reference guide for evaluating and reducing air pollution impacts associated with new projects that go through the land use decision-making process. The ARB is also developing related information and technical evaluation tools for addressing cumulative air pollution impacts in a community. These tools will be available through the ARB’s Internet site or in the form of future supplements. Any recommendations or considerations contained in the Handbook are voluntary and do not constitute a requirement or mandate for either land use agencies or local air districts. The ARB's "Air Quality and Land Use Handbook: A Community Health Perspective" is now available here:

Final Handbook (PDF)   (doc)

The Draft Handbook that was presented to the Air Resources Board at the April 28, 2005 Board Meeting is available here:
"Proposed Air Quality and Land Use Handbook: A Community Health Perspective." (March 29, 2005) (600k-PDF)
ARB News Release
   |   Notice of Public Availability

March 4th, 2005 - Meeting on ARB's Draft "Proposed Air Quality and Land Use Handbook: A Community Health Perspective"

The staff of the Air Resources Board (ARB) held a meeting on the Handbook. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the latest draft of the Handbook dated February 17, 2005. Invited participants included local land use planners and local government officials, community and environmental leaders, business representatives, air pollution control agency representatives, and other interested parties. In response to comments received at the October 4, 2004 meeting, Section 4 of the May 10, 2004 draft Handbook, regarding the siting of new sensitive land uses, has been expanded and moved to Section 1 of the revised document. The revised section provides more information on health protective distances between polluting facilities or roadways and sensitive receptors. A major objective of these revisions was to provide siting information that was easier to use in land-use decision making. Minor revisions were also made to other parts of the Handbook.

"Proposed Air Quality and Land Use Handbook" (2-05) (1,081k-doc)
(574k-PDF) Meeting Notice -     Presentation (ppt)    (pdf)

References cited in the Handbook:

October 4th, 2004 Study Session on the Relationship between Location of Sensitive Receptors and Air Pollution Sources


October 2004 Study Session Questions:

  1. Under what conditions is it important to separate sensitive receptors from potential sources of air pollutants?
  2. What are the various ways for achieving the “separation”?
  3. Assuming their potential value, what should be the basis for establishing buffer zones?
  4. How could you integrate various existing land use objectives (such as mixed use, affordable housing, brownfields redevelopment, PODs and TODs, etc.) with buffers?

For more information, please contact Dr. Linda Smith at (916) 327-8225.