National Freight Pathways: Moving Toward a Cleaner System to Reduce Emissions, Improve Air Quality, and Create Healthier Communities

Issue Brief
January 16, 2015

Our national freight transportation system that delivers our iPads, jeans, and bananas exerts a serious toll on communities near highways, rail yards, warehouses, and marine shipping terminals. Containers carrying our goods also create soot, smog, and global warming pollution that disproportionately falls on “freightimpacted” communities. These freight-impacted areas are often communities of color that tend to have lower incomes. They usually have disproportionately high pollution rates combined with a legacy of burdens from historic pollution—and higher asthma rates, creating environmental justice toxic hotspots all along the freight system that impact millions of Americans. This summary compares conventional and advanced transportation options, so impacted communities have more information to choose from or advocate for the cleanest freight pathways that relieve their pollution burdens.