Prioritizing environmental justice and equality: Diesel emissions in Southern California

Julian D. Marshall, Kathryn R. Swor, Nam P. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Existing environmental policies aim to reduce emissions but lack standards for addressing environmental justice. Environmental justice research documents disparities in exposure to air pollution; however, little guidance currently exists on how to make improvements or on how specific emission-reduction scenarios would improve or deteriorate environmental justice conditions. Here, we quantify how emission reductions from specific sources would change various measures of environmental equality and justice. We evaluate potential emission reductions for fine diesel particulate matter (DPM) in Southern California for five sources: on-road mobile, off-road mobile, ships, trains, and stationary. Our approach employs state-of-the-science dispersion and exposure models. We compare four environmental goals: impact, efficiency, equality, and justice. Results indicate potential trade-offs among those goals. For example, reductions in train emissions produce the greatest improvements in terms of efficiency, equality, and justice, whereas off-road mobile source reductions can have the greatest total impact. Reductions in on-road emissions produce improvements in impact, equality, and justice, whereas emission reductions from ships would widen existing population inequalities. Results are similar for complex versus simplified exposure analyses the approach employed here could usefully be applied elsewhere to evaluate opportunities for improving environmental equality and justice in other locations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4063-4068
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Prioritizing environmental justice and equality: Diesel emissions in Southern California'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this