TitleA population-based cohort study of traffic congestion and infant growth using connected vehicle data
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsWillis, MD, Schrank, D, Xu, C, Harris, L, Ritz, BR, Hill, EL, Hystad, P
JournalScience Advances
Date Published10/2022

More than 11 million Americans reside within 150 meters of a highway, an area of high air pollution exposure. Traffic congestion further contributes to environmental pollution (e.g., air and noise), but its unique importance for population health is unclear. We hypothesized that degraded environmental quality specifically from traffic congestion has harmful impacts on fetal growth. Using a population-based cohort of births in Texas (2015–2016), we leveraged connected vehicle data to calculate traffic congestion metrics around each maternal address at delivery. Among 579,122 births, we found consistent adverse associations between traffic congestion and reduced term birth weight (8.9 grams), even after accounting for sociodemographic characteristics, typical traffic volume, and diverse environmental coexposures. We estimated that up to 1.2 million pregnancies annually may be exposed to traffic congestion (27% of births in the United States), with ~256,000 in the highest congestion zones. Therefore, improvements to traffic congestion may yield positive cobenefits for infant health.

Short TitleSci. Adv.