Air pollution has become a silent killer, and in Canada, claims more lives than do motor vehicle accidents annually with mortality rates being higher in metropolitan cities. Of concern for Canada's densely populated regions is traffic-related air pollution (TRAP). This study focuses on the Clark-Knight corridor, home to a six-lane arterial road and one of the busiest, most polluted truck routes in the Metro Vancouver region. Exposure to harmful TRAP along this corridor is inequitable and is exposing disadvantaged and vulnerable populations to increased health hazards. Despite known health risks, planning practices and policies continue to allow residential densification along busy truck routes. Past attempts by the Province of B.C. and Metro Vancouver to put in place a mandatory emissions testing program to address air pollutant emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks that are older, poorly maintained or have illegally tampered with emission control systems have also stalled. This thesis investigates the barriers to implementing policies and programs to improve air quality and reduce environmental inequity related to TRAP exposure along the Clark-Knight corridor. The research uses a qualitative, mixed-methods case study approach, featuring a primary case study on the Clark-Knight corridor and secondary contrast case on the Province of Ontario's DriveON Emissions and Safety Inspection Program. Findings reveal the impacts of planning decisions that have increased truck traffic volumes and residential density along the Clark-Knight corridor, and that the trucking industry's lobby efforts and Province of B.C.'s prioritization of greenhouse house gas emissions reductions have inhibited policy innovation and the ratification of stricter environmental policies to manage air pollutant emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks in British Columbia. Recommendations to support a shift towards more sustainable planning and policymaking practices are also offered.
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Thesis advisor: Holden, Meg
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