Neighborhood-scale air quality, public health, and equity implications of multi-modal vehicle electrification

Maxime A. Visa*, Sara F. Camilleri, Anastasia Montgomery, Jordan L. Schnell, Mark Janssen, Zachariah E. Adelman, Susan C. Anenberg, Emily A. Grubert, Daniel E. Horton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Electric vehicles (EVs) constitute just a fraction of the current U.S. transportation fleet; however, EV market share is surging. EV adoption reduces on-road transportation greenhouse gas emissions by decoupling transportation services from petroleum, but impacts on air quality and public health depend on the nature and location of vehicle usage and electricity generation. Here, we use a regulatory-grade chemical transport model and a vehicle-to-electricity generation unit electricity assignment algorithm to characterize neighborhood-scale (∼1 km) air quality and public health benefits and tradeoffs associated with a multi-modal EV transition. We focus on a Chicago-centric regional domain wherein 30% of the on-road transportation fleet is instantaneously electrified and changes in on-road, refueling, and power plant emissions are considered. We find decreases in annual population-weighted domain mean NO2 (−11.83%) and PM2.5 (−2.46%) with concentration reductions of up to −5.1 ppb and −0.98 µg m−3 in urban cores. Conversely, annual population-weighted domain mean maximum daily 8 h average ozone (MDA8O3) concentrations increase +0.64%, with notable intra-urban changes of up to +2.3 ppb. Despite mixed pollutant concentration outcomes, we find overall positive public health outcomes, largely driven by NO2 concentration reductions that result in outsized mortality rate reductions for people of color, particularly for the Black populations within our domain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035007
JournalEnvironmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023


  • air pollution
  • air quality
  • electric vehicles
  • environmental justice
  • public health
  • transportation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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