# Urban Transportation, Land Use, Air Quality, and Health

Faan Chen, Chris P. Nielsen, Jiaorong Wu, and Xiaohong Chen. 2022. “Examining socio-spatial differentiation under housing reform and its implications for mobility in urban China.” Habitat International, 119, January, Pp. 102498.Abstract
Housing reform in socialist China has incurred considerable restructuring and transformation of urban space and society. Yet its specific socio-spatial outcomes have not been fully investigated from the perspective of housing type at the meso- and micro-levels. This study attempts to fill the gap by examining the nature and magnitude of the consequences of housing reform and the corresponding effects on mobility. Specifically, based on census data and a mobility survey, this paper combines statistical breakdowns and structural equation modeling to capture the socio-spatial differentiation of urban structure resulting from housing reform and its influences on individual vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT) and transportation walking. The results reveal that: (1) different types of housing tend to feature internally homogeneous populations in terms of socio-economic composition and socio-psychological condition, with pronounced social stratification; (2) residents in different types of housing display dramatically different travel styles, with substantial mobility inequities; (3) social differentiation appears to have spatial determinants; in particular spatial segregation contributes to increasing social exclusion; (4) the effects of spatial and social characteristics on mobility are led by housing type; and (5) individual mobility patterns are shaped by the joint influences of spatial and social dimensions of housing differentiation. The findings contribute to further understanding of socio-spatial differentiation in countries with a transitional housing market, suggesting that the design of land-use policies should recognize their social effects and that urban mobility planning practices should deliver sustainability that serves a diverse population, including in particular disadvantaged groups in public and replacement housing. This study serves as a mirror to observe the urban transition compared to other political economies and adds additional richness and diversity to the theoretical debates on the issue of socio-spatial differentiation and empirical evidence on residential and mobility inequities across global contexts.
Shaodan Huang, Shaojie Song, Chris P. Nielsen, Yuqiang Zhang, Jianyin Xiong, Louise B. Weschler, Shaodong Xie, and Jing Li. 2022. “Residential building materials: An important source of ambient formaldehyde in mainland China.” Environment International, 158, January, Pp. 106909. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This study investigates the contribution of formaldehyde from residential building materials to ambient air in mainland China. Based on 265 indoor field tests in 9 provinces, we estimate that indoor residential sources are responsible for 6.66% of the total anthropogenic formaldehyde in China’s ambient air (range for 31 provinces: 1.88–18.79%). Residential building materials rank 6th among 81 anthropogenic sources (range: 2nd–10th for 31 provinces). Emission intensities show large spatial variability between and within regions due to different residential densities, emission characteristics of building materials, and indoor thermal conditions. Our findings indicate that formaldehyde from the indoor environment is a significant source of ambient formaldehyde, especially in urban areas. This study will help to more accurately evaluate exposure to ambient formaldehyde and its related pollutants, and will assist in formulating policies to protect air quality and public health.
Yingying Lyu and Ann Forsyth. 2021. “Attitudes, Perceptions, and Walking Behavior in a Chinese City.” Journal of Transport & Health. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Introduction

An increasing number of walking studies discussed the relationship of walking with attitudes and perceptions. However, the findings were not consistent, and few studies examined the relationship between walking and attitudes to overall mobility and multiple modes. In this paper, we contribute to the debates by exploring the relationship between walking for transport and broad attitudes to urban mobility and transport modes.

Methods

Using a clustered random sample survey conducted in a second-tier city in China (N=1,048), we hypothesized that people with different attitudes have different amounts of walking for transport. Data analysis methods involved descriptive statistics, t-tests, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), hierarchical logistic models, and hierarchical linear models.

Results

Positive attitudes and perceptions regarding multiple transport modes and related environments were associated with some walking for transport. T-tests indicated that those with different attitudes walked different amounts. Regression models showed that associations between attitudes and odds of people walking varied between genders. Males who perceived bus frequency was not a problem were more likely to walk. Females tended to walk when viewing transportation in the city as convenient. Both findings contribute to the understanding that positive perceptions of overall mobility in the city were associated with higher odds of walking. Meanwhile, among those who did walk, those with positive attitudes towards pedestrian safety crossing streets and those perceiving traffic jams as a problem in their daily trips spent more time walking.

Conclusion

This paper concludes that positive broad attitudes and perceptions of overall mobility and all transport modes are related to more walking activities. A better understanding of such relationships can provide a reference point for urban policies aiming at promoting walking for transport.

Chenghe Guan, Jihoon Song, Michael Keith, Bo Zhang, Yuki Akiyama, Liangjun Da, Ryosuke Shibasaki, and Taisei Sato. 2021. “Seasonal variations of park visitor volume and park service area in Tokyo: A mixed-method approach combining big data and field observations.” Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 58, March 2021, Pp. 126973. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Urban green and open space are important components of achieving the goal of planning sustainable cities, by offering health benefits to urban dwellers and providing socio-economic and environmental benefits to society. Recent literature studied the usage of urban parks, however, few has addressed seasonal fluctuations of park visitor volume, let alone seasonal variations of home-park travel distances and park service areas. This paper not only empirically shows the seasonal variations of park visits but also examines links between the park visit patterns and spatial characteristics of the case parks. Applying spatial analysis methods to location data of over 1 million anonymous mobile phone samples collected from January to December 2011, we analyzed the seasonal variations in six medium-sized urban parks, of which size falls under the category of ‘district parks,’ in central Tokyo. We also conducted content analysis of a Japanese place review website to understand visitor perceptions of the case parks. On the other hand, park spatial characteristics data were collected and summarized through various ways including field observation and satellite image analysis. The results show that (1) while notable seasonal variations of park visitor volume and park service area existed in all case parks, the degree of variation also differed from park to park; (2) spatial characteristics of parks were closely interlinked to seasonal cultural events, to visitor perceptions, and consequently to seasonal fluctuations of the park visit patterns. Lessons learned from the policy perspective include highly diverse user groups visit these medium-sized urban parks than what the typical guidelines assume, and seasonal patterns of their visits considerably vary from park to park, interacting with spatial characteristics of the parks. Hence, the urban park planning process should consider specific and detailed characteristics of parks and allocate resources to respond to dynamic park visit patterns beyond generic guidelines.

# 哈佛大学中国项目研究简报: 城市形态对低碳主动交通的影响 – 以中国成都为例

September 14, 2020
Haikun Wang, Xiaojing He, Xinyu Liang, Ernani F. Choma, Yifan Liu, Li Shan, Haotian Zheng, Shaojun Zhang, Chris P. Nielsen, Shuxiao Wang, Ye Wu, and John S. Evans. 2020. “Health benefits of on-road transportation pollution control programs in China.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sept 2020, 201921271. Publisher's VersionAbstract
China started to implement comprehensive measures to mitigate traffic pollution at the end of 1990s, but the comprehensive effects, especially on ambient air quality and public health, have not yet been systematically evaluated. In this study, we analyze the effects of vehicle emission control measures on ambient air pollution and associated deaths attributable to long-term exposures of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and O3 based on an integrated research framework that combines scenario analysis, air quality modeling, and population health risk assessment. We find that the total impact of these control measures was substantial. Vehicular emissions during 1998–2015 would have been 2–3 times as large as they actually were, had those measures not been implemented. The national population-weighted annual average concentrations of PM2.5 and O3 in 2015 would have been higher by 11.7 μg/m3 and 8.3 parts per billion, respectively, and the number of deaths attributable to 2015 air pollution would have been higher by 510 thousand (95% confidence interval: 360 thousand to 730 thousand) without these controls. Our analysis shows a concentration of mortality impacts in densely populated urban areas, motivating local policymakers to design stringent vehicle emission control policies. The results imply that vehicle emission control will require policy designs that are more multifaceted than traditional controls, primarily represented by the strict emission standards, with careful consideration of the challenges in coordinated mitigation of both PM2.5 and O3 in different regions, to sustain improvement in air quality and public health given continuing swift growth in China’s vehicle population.
James K. Hammitt, Fangli Geng, Xiaoqi Guo, and Chris P. Nielsen. 2019. “Valuing mortality risk in China: Comparing stated-preference estimates from 2005 and 2016.” Journal of Risk & Uncertainty, 58, 2-3, Pp. 167–186. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We estimate the marginal rate of substitution of income for reduction in current annual mortality risk (the “value per statistical life” or VSL) using stated-preference surveys administered to independent samples of the general population of Chengdu, China in 2005 and 2016. We evaluate the quality of estimates by the theoretical criteria that willingness to pay (WTP) for risk reduction should be strictly positive and nearly proportional to the magnitude of the risk reduction (evaluated by comparing answers between respondents) and test the effect of excluding respondents whose answers violate these criteria. For subsamples of respondents that satisfy the criteria, point estimates of the sensitivity of WTP to risk reduction are consistent with theory and yield estimates of VSL that are two to three times larger than estimated using the full samples. Between 2005 and 2016, estimated VSL increased sharply, from about 22,000 USD in 2005 to 550,000 USD in 2016. Income also increased substantially over this period. Attributing the change in VSL solely to the change in real income implies an income elasticity of about 3.0. Our results suggest that estimates of VSL from stated-preference studies in which WTP is not close to proportionate to the stated risk reduction may be biased downward by a factor of two or more, and that VSL is likely to grow rapidly in a population with strong economic growth, which implies that environmental-health, safety, and other policies should become increasingly protective.
Chenghe Guan, Sumeeta Srinivasan, and Chris P. Nielsen. 2019. “Does neighborhood form influence low-carbon transportation in China?” Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 67, Pp. 406-420. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Developing less auto-dependent urban forms and promoting low-carbon transportation (LCT) are challenges facing our cities. Previous literature has supported the association between neighborhood form and low-carbon travel behaviour. Several studies have attempted to measure neighborhood forms focusing on physical built-environment factors such as population and employment density and socio-economic conditions such as income and race. We find that these characteristics may not be sufficiently fine-grained to differentiate between neighborhoods in Chinese cities. This research assesses characteristics of neighborhood spatial configuration that may influence the choice of LCT modes in the context of dense Chinese cities. Urban-form data from 40 neighborhoods in Chengdu, China, along with a travel behaviour survey of households conducted in 2016, were used to generate several measures of land use diversity and accessibility for each neighborhood. We use principle component analysis (PCA) to group these variables into dimensions that could be used to classify the neighborhoods. We then estimate regression models of low-carbon mode choices such as walking, bicycling, and transit to better understand the significance of these built-environment differences at the neighbourhood level. We find that, first, members of households do choose to walk or bike or take transit to work provided there is relatively high population density and sufficient access to public transit and jobs. Second, land-use diversity alone was not found to be significant in affecting LCT mode choice. Third, the proliferation of gated communities was found to reduce overall spatial connectivity within neighborhoods and had a negative effect on choice of LCT.
Haikun Wang, Xi Lu, Yu Deng, Yaoguang Sun, Chris P. Nielsen, Yifan Liu, Ge Zhu, Maoliang Bu, Jun Bi, and Michael B. McElroy. 2019. “China’s CO2 peak before 2030 implied from diverse characteristics and growth of cities.” Nature Sustainability, 2, Pp. 748–754. Publisher's VersionAbstract
China pledges to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 or sooner under the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 2 °C or less by the end of the century. By examining CO2 emissions from 50 Chinese cities over the period 2000–2016, we found a close relationship between per capita emissions and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) for individual cities, following the environmental Kuznets curve, despite diverse trajectories for CO2 emissions across the cities. Results show that carbon emissions peak for most cities at a per capita GDP (in 2011 purchasing power parity) of around US$21,000 (80% confidence interval: US$19,000 to 22,000). Applying a Monte Carlo approach to simulate the peak of per capita emissions using a Kuznets function based on China’s historical emissions, we project that emissions for China should peak at 13–16 GtCO2 yr−1 between 2021 and 2025, approximately 5–10 yr ahead of the current Paris target of 2030. We show that the challenges faced by individual types of Chinese cities in realizing low-carbon development differ significantly depending on economic structure, urban form and geographical location.
Sumeeta Srinivasan, Chenghe Guan, and Chris P. Nielsen. 2019. “Built environment, income and travel behavior: Change in the city of Chengdu 2005-2016.” International Journal of Sustainable Transportation. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In this paper, we look at differences in travel behavior and location characteristics across income in Chengdu, China at two points of time, 2005 and 2016, using household travel surveys. Specifically, we compare changes over time for different income groups for Chengdu in 2005 and 2016. We find that walking or biking remains the most common mode for all income groups but higher-income households appear to have more choices depending on the proximity of their neighborhood to downtown. We also find that both average local and average regional access have worsened since 2005. Furthermore, it appears that there is less economic diversity within neighborhoods in 2016 when compared to 2005, with more locations appearing to have 40% or more of low-, middle-, or high-income households than in the past. Finally, we find that low-income households and older trip makers are more likely to walk or bike and that high-income households are the most likely to own cars and use motorized modes. Built environment characteristics like mixed land use appear to significantly reduce travel time in 2016 but do not result in higher non-motorized transport mode share. We contribute to existing literature by evaluating changes in the relationship of built environment and travel behavior during a period of rapid urbanization and economic growth in a Chinese city.

March 8, 2019

2019 May 06

# The Social Cost of Automobiles and Environment Policies in Asia: A Comparative Study on China and Japan

12:15pm to 1:30pm

## Location:

K262, Bowie-Vernon Room, CGIS Knafel, 1737 Cambridge St, Cambridge

Speaker: MATSUTANI Harutoshi

2019 Mar 07

# China and Asia in a Changing Climate: Natural Science for the Non-Scientist

12:15pm to 1:45pm

## Location:

CGIS South S020, Belfer Case Study Room, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA

Panelists:

• Professor John Holdren, Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University; Co-Director of Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, HKS; former Science Advisor to President Barack Obama and former Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
• Professor Peter Huybers, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, and Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
• Professor Elsie Sunderland, Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Chemistry, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
• Professor Steve Wofsy, Abbott Lawrence Rotch Professor of Atmospheric and Environmental Science, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, and Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Chair: Professor Mike McElroy, Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, and Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Chair, Harvard-China Project on Energy, Economy and Environment... Read more about China and Asia in a Changing Climate: Natural Science for the Non-Scientist