School of Medicine
Faculty Mentor: James VanDerslice (Family & Preventative Medicine, University of Utah)
Pollution has been an issue in Utah since pioneers settled in the greater Salt Lake area during the mid-19th century. Articles regarding the gathering of ‘smoke’ in the valley tell a story of a worrisome population attempting to find solutions to this issue. Pollution measurement efforts were initiated in the early 21st century but a lack of sensors has historically created a gap in the data where assumptions must be made. This lack of resolution creates a large margin of error making it difficult to assess how different types of populations are affected by their ambiance. This study has taken into account the effects of vehicular pollution outputs as one of the main sources of exposure to pollutants. Historic traffic data was manually extracted from Utah data archives. These hand-drawn maps containing points of average traffic at a given year dating back to the 1940’s were georeferenced and digitized using ArcGIS Pro. This data has the capability to interpret pollution exposures for the Utah population at a finer spatial resolution. This can give researchers a glimpse of how pollutants have impacted historic health outcomes such as cancer, blood lead levels in children, etc.