Development and Assessment of Environmental Indicators: Application to Mobile Source Impacts on Emissions, Air Quality and Health Outcomes

EPA Grant Number: R833626
Title: Development and Assessment of Environmental Indicators: Application to Mobile Source Impacts on Emissions, Air Quality and Health Outcomes
Investigators: Russell, Armistead G. , Sarnat, Stefanie Ebelt , Mulholland, James , Sarnat, Jeremy , Klein, Mitchel , Tolbert, Paige
Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology , Emory University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2010 (Extended to September 30, 2011)
Project Amount: $499,512
RFA: Development of Environmental Health Outcome Indicators (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health Effects , Health


Approaches will be developed and applied to identify indicators for mobile source impacts on air quality and health using data from the Atlanta, GA, area.


Our prior epidemiologic analyses of air pollutant associations with health outcomes in Atlanta, GA, suggest that mobile source emission impacts are of particular interest with regard to cardiovascular disease outcomes, and that a variety of indicators can be used to assess such relationships. Here, four objectives are proposed to develop improved indicators of mobile source emissions outcomes, as well as to assess the use of these indicators over a range of applications: (1) develop approaches to identify outcome indicators and apply those approaches to mobile sources in Atlanta for the period 1998-2004 using data and methods of varying detail and complexity; (2) test a range of integrated indicators for the impact of mobile source emission changes on air quality and health; (3) develop and apply approaches for assessing indicators in terms of their ability to represent a range of outcomes associated with mobile source emissions and policies; (4) evaluate chosen indicators using an independent data set for 2005-2009, and use the results to assess the approaches developed for identifying, testing, assessing and refining outcome indicators.


Atlanta is rich in detailed air quality and health outcome data obtained for specific studies, in addition to having routine data typical of a large metropolitan area. These data will be used to construct a variety of indicator “sets” to estimate outcomes from mobile source emissions. Such sets will contain the indicator, and related information, including uncertainties. Indicators will be identified and constructed using results from prior and ongoing investigations and from extended applications of methods such as least squares optimization, chemical mass balance-based source apportionment and factor analysis (specifically, Positive Matrix Factorization) with health outcome information included in factor development. Indicators will be developed, assessed and refined using data from 1998-2004, and then evaluated using an independent set of data from 2005-2009.

Expected Results:

This research will provide indicators that can directly be used to link air quality data with health outcome trends, emission trends, and environmental policy impacts in the southeastern U.S., and will also provide information on uncertainties and the applicability of indicators in other regions. Indicators will be constructed and used in epidemiologic analyses to provide quantitative health outcome relationships. Further, the research will evaluate existing and new methods for constructing indicators that would be more generally applicable, as well as approaches for evaluating indicators.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 19 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 14 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

health effects, human health, epidemiology, exposure, risk, chemicals, public policy, modeling, air quality modeling, air quality analysis, aerosol, particulates, PM2.5, source characterization, mobile sources, Georgia, GA, Southeast,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2008 Progress Report
  • 2009 Progress Report
  • 2010 Progress Report
  • Final Report