Effectiveness of travel behavior and infrastructure change to mitigate heat exposure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Urban heat exposure is an increasing health risk among urban dwellers. Many cities are considering accommodating active mobility, especially walking and biking, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, promoting active mobility without proper planning and transportation infrastructure to combat extreme heat exposure may cause more heat-related morbidity and mortality, particularly in future with projected climate change. This study estimated the effectiveness of active trip heat exposure mitigation under built environment and travel behavior change. Simulations of the Phoenix metro region's 624,987 active trips were conducted using the activity-based travel model (ABM), mean radiant temperature (TMRT, net human radiation exposure), transportation network, and local climate zones. Two scenarios were designed to reduce traveler exposure: one that focuses on built environment change (making neighborhoods cooler) and the other on travel behavior (switching from shorter travel time but higher exposure routes to longer travel time but cooler routes) change. Travelers experienced TMRT heat exposure ranging from 29°C to 76°C (84°F to 168°F) without environmental or behavioral change. Active trip TMRT exposures were reduced by an average of 1.2–3.7°C when the built environment was changed from a hotter to cooler design. Behavioral changes cooled up to 10 times more trips than changes in built environment changes. The marginal benefit of cooling decreased as the number of cooled corridors transformed increased. When the most traveled 10 km of corridors were cooled, the marginal benefit affected over 1,000 trips/km. However, cooling all corridors results in marginal benefits as low as 1 trip/km. The results reveal that heavily traveled corridors should be prioritized with limited resources, and the best cooling results come from environment and travel behavior change together. The results show how to surgically invest in travel behavior and built environment change to most effectively protect active travelers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1129388
JournalFrontiers in Sustainable Cities
Volume5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Keywords

  • active transportation
  • climate
  • heat mitigation
  • personal heat exposure
  • urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Administration

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