Health Impact of Elevated Rail

March 24, 2017 Peter No comments exist

See also: The Health Impact of Elevated Rail on Bayside Communities  –  A review of potential health impact for applying elevated rail options in the removal of level crossings along the Frankston rail line. – Submitted to LXRA in 2016.

The World Health Organisation recommends ‘health in all policies’ which includes consideration of the health impact of large infrastructure projects on populations (Leppo, Ollila, Pena, Wismar, & Cook, 2013.)

Academic literature shows that elevated rail bridges, such as those proposed for the Frankston Line, may negatively impact the health of individuals and communities.
(Refer to the submission to the LXRA, linked below for a full list of literature and references)

Elevated rail adjacent to residential areas may increase noise and vibration, reduce natural light, reduce property values, increase air pollution exposure, impact green space and clash with local amenities. It may also attract crime, compromise safety and impact the social determinants of health. All of these factors would negatively impact health. A ‘rail under road‘ or ‘rail trench option’ will not likely to have these deleterious effects on health.

“ Liveable communities create the conditions to optimise health and well-being outcomes in residents” (Giles-Corti, 2014)

Impact: Poor Sleep



• Noise and vibration may increase and travel greater distances with elevated rail
• Sleep disturbance can result in fatigue, impaired judgement, poor decision making and an increased risk of occupational and road accidents
• Good quality sleep is essential for optimal health
• Insufficient sleep is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression
• Noise is associated with decreased school performance

Rail under road options contain noise and create a sound barrier to surrounding homes, schools and businesses.

Impact: Poor mental health

• Elevated rail lines and stations may cause significantly overshadowing of homes and gardens.
• Reduced sunlight is linked with poor mental health, increasing the risk of depression and anxiety.
• Overshadowing of homes and a reduction of open sky reduces our sense
of space, access to natural light and enjoyment of our outdoor environment.
• Reduced property values due to noise, visual intrusion and perception of crime significantly impact the financial and emotional stress of residents and traders.
• Uncertainty about income is proven to induce emotional stress, anger, anxiety and depression.
• Mortgage stress and financial strain have been found to be risk factors for relationship conflict, mental illness and domestic violence.

 

Rail under road options have less visual intrusion
Rail under road options do not overshadow or limit natural light
Rail under road options will not impact property prices due to visual impact

Air Pollution
Elevated rail carrying diesel trains is likely to increase the amount and distance travelled of air pollution because height facilitates greater drift. Diesel exhaust emissions contain hundreds of chemical compounds that are associated with irritation of the eye and the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems (Balmes, 2011.) The long term effects of exposure to exhaust and brake particulate matter are poorly understood and therefore best avoided. (Morawska, Moore & Ristovski, 2004, Stenfors et al., 2004; Abbasi,Jansson, Sellgren & Olofsson, 2013.) The International Agency for Research on Cancer has recognised dieselexhaust soot as a carcinogen (Abbasi et al., 2013.)

Impact: Respiratory illness

• Elevated rail may increase the amount and range of air pollutants due to greater drift.
• Diesel exhaust emissions contain hundreds of chemical compounds that are associated with irritation of the eye and the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.
• The long term effects of prolonged exposure to exhaust and brake particulate matter are poorly understood and therefore best avoided.
• Diesel exhaust soot is a recognised carcinogen.

Rail under road options could reduce the distribution of air born particles

 

Impact: Fear and reduced safety

• Graffiti is a visible form of crime and considered a sign of social decline, representing a threat to safety and quality of life.
Elevated rail bridges and pylons would likely attract graffiti because they are prominent, visible, easy to reach and may have limited surveillance.
• Railway bridges may attract other antisocial behaviour such as dumping, drug use and loitering due to reduced lighting and limited surveillance.
• Fear for safety impacts mental health, outdoor exercise and community access and engagement.

• Reduced community participation is linked to obesity, mental illness, cardiovascular and respiratory disease and diabetes.

Rail under road options require patrolled, well lit stations and therefore limit areas for antisocial behaviour.
Rail under road options maintain social inclusion, walk-ability and amenity.

Health Impact of Elevated Rail Options – Submission to LXRA 2016

No Sky Rail Frankston Line - NSRFL - Download

A review of potential health impact for applying elevated rail options in the removal of level crossings along the Frankston rail line. – Submitted to LXRA in 2016.

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