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Research News: Analyzing roadside dust to identify potential health concerns

Research News: Large trucks are biggest culprits of near-road air pollution

Research News: Should ethics or human intuition drive the moral judgments of driverless cars?

Everyone knows that cars contribute to air pollution. And when most people consider the source, exhaust is usually what comes to mind.

However, new research led by the University of Pennsylvania's Reto Gieré, working with collaborators across the world, is helping to illuminate another significant culprit when it comes to traffic-related air pollution: Tiny bits of tires, brake pads, and road materials that become suspended in the air when vehicles pass over.

An optical microscope image revealed in broad strokes the contents of roadside dust, including tire, brake, and road material particles and minerals from the surrounding environment.
Credit: V. Dietze/ German Meteorological Service
 
Posted: 2018-09-12
 
For the 30 per cent of Canadians who live within 500 metres of a major roadway, a new study reveals that the type of vehicles rolling past their homes can matter more than total traffic volume in determining the amount of air pollution they breathe.

A two-year U of T Engineering study has revealed large trucks to be the greatest contributors to black carbon emissions close to major roadways. Professor Greg Evans hopes these results gets city planners and residents thinking more about the density of trucks, rather than the concentration of vehicle traffic, outside their homes, schools and daycares. The study was recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Trucks.
Credit: © vit / Fotolia
Posted: 2018-09-12
 
When faced with driving dilemmas, people show a high willingness to sacrifice themselves for others, make decisions based on the victim's age and swerve onto sidewalks to minimize the number of lives lost, reveals new research published in open-access journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. This is at odds with ethical guidelines in these circumstances, which often dictate that no life should be valued over another. This research hopes to initiate discussions about the way self-driving vehicles should be programmed to deal with situations that endanger human life.
A car can swerve to avoid hitting a motorcycle but in doing so endangers other lives. How should it be programmed to behave?
Credit: © Buffaloboy / Fotolia
Posted: 2018-09-12
 
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