The Issue

Transportation is a major source of air pollution throughout the world, creating significant health impacts, particularly in urban areas. Exposure to carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrógeno dioxide can cause respiratory illness and alter the lung’s defense systems.

The health sector – with its fleets of ambulances, hospital vehicles, delivery vehicles, and staff and patient travel – is a transportation-intensive industry. Air pollution impacts from health care are concentrated near large-scale hospital facilities.

Shifting to hybrid technologies, all-electric vehicles, as well as compressed natural gas or some bio-fuels all have the net impact of reducing emissions for fleet vehicles such as ambulances and vans. Encouraging hospital staff and patients to use bicycles, public transportation and carpools can also help reduce the air pollution emissions related to health care facilities.

In summary, transportation choices have a huge impact on the communities within which hospitals are situated.

Action Items

  • Improve transportation strategies for patients and staff.
  • Develop transportation and service delivery strategies that reduce hospitals’ climate footprint and their contribution to local pollution.