Assessing Regulatory Compliance and Community Air Pollution Impacts of Crude Oil by Rail Transport in Baltimore City, Maryland

Increases in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, since 2011 have resulted in the transport of enormous volumes of crude oil by rail (CBR) to refineries and ports across the country. Baltimore City residents have raised concerns regarding the potential for car derailments and been unable to access information regarding the extent of CBR-related activities within the city, though it is required by law to record and disseminate this information. The derailment of a train carrying crude oil in Baltimore could adversely impact roughly 165,000 residents living within a 1-mile radius of tracks; previous derailments have resulted in dozens of lives lost and have polluted local air, soil and waterways. Partnering with community organizations, the research team will determine: the periodicity and regulatory compliance of CBR transit throughout Baltimore, the temporal relation between CBR traffic and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, and best practices for other US communities affected by CBR. Using motion-sensor deer cameras and VOC monitors to document passing trains, the team will record real-time data of the frequency, speed, and regulatory compliance characteristics of CBR tank cars 24 hours/day for 14 days (or more) at residential sites proximal to CBR corridors. Through mathematical modeling and statistical analyses, the team will assess the relationship between different CBR characteristics, locations, neighborhood socio-economic characteristics, and VOC emissions. To the team's knowledge, this is the first study of its kind and offers an opportunity to create a blueprint for other U.S. communities to advance a policy-relevant evidence-base of local environmental health risks of CBR transit.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $50,000
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy, and Health

      Texas A&M Transportation Institute
      College Station, TX  United States  77843
    • Project Managers:

      Walker, Marcia

    • Performing Organizations:

      Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore

      Bloomberg School of Public Health
      Center for Injury Research and Policy, 624 North Broadway
      Baltimore, MD  United States  21205
    • Principal Investigators:

      Smith, Genee

      Heaney, Christopher

      Ramachandran, Gurumurthy

    • Start Date: 20180220
    • Expected Completion Date: 20190630
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program
    • Source Data: JHU-01-07

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01670291
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy, and Health
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747128
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: May 16 2018 1:09PM