Thanks for your interest in Reaching Resilience 2050, our Q&A series fleshing out the people and processes behind our latest long-range transportation plan. To read the plan in full, explore potential projects near you and learn how to share your feedback, please visit publicinput.com/Resilience2050.
Anna Marshall is an Environmental Planner for Baltimore Metropolitan Council.
Hi Anna! First thing first, tell us about you and your work.
I serve as the environmental planner with a main focus on air quality. I lead the air quality conformity process, which is a federally required process under the Clean Air Act, as well as monitor and research new policies and goals from federal agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or major pollutants. I also work at Clean Air Partners, which is a non-profit serving residents in the D.C. and Baltimore metro region about air quality, how ozone is created and how people can help reduce emissions.
Nice! Folks might recognize Clean Air Partners content from our social media channels. How does this work fit into the preparation of Resilience 2050?
The air quality conformity process is an integral component of Resilience 2050. Unfortunately, the Baltimore region does not yet meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS, for ground-level ozone. As a result, the EPA has classified the region as a moderate nonattainment area for the 2015 8-hour ozone standard, which is 70 parts per billion (ppb). Because of this classification, we need to complete the air quality conformity determination process to demonstrate that the transportation projects detailed in Resilience 2050 will not cause new air quality violations, worsen existing violations or delay timely attainment of air quality standards.
And who are the key partners supporting you in this process?
Part of my role is leading the Interagency Consultation Group meetings, in which representatives from Maryland Department of the Environment, Maryland Department of Transportation and the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board are the voting members. Clean Air Partners is also a great resource, providing important information and messaging that can be shared with a variety of audiences.
Speaking of, what key highlights do you hope folks take away?
Ground level ozone, or smog, is caused by tailpipe emissions from cars, trucks and other vehicles. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are emitted into the air while driving, and these gases then react with sunlight to create ozone. There is an opportunity to reduce ozone emissions by implementing transportation projects that reduce congestion, increase bike and pedestrian activities, and reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). We’re on the right track. Air quality in the Baltimore region has been improving, and ozone pollution has decreased. Small changes in your everyday routine can make a difference! Things like:
- Combine your errands into one trip
- Telework at least one day per week, if possible
- Bike or walk to work, and carpool!
- Don’t top off your gas tank once it is full. The extra gas will just evaporate off.
- Keep up with regular maintenance of your car. Not only will you be safer, the car will be more efficient.
- Limit outdoor activities and driving on high ozone days. You can check the air quality forecast where you live at: cleanairpartners.net
Taking notes here! How can folks learn more and stay involved?
You can visit cleanairpartners.net to get daily air quality forecasts, more information about air pollution, and ways you can help keep the air clean. You can also check out more information about our environmental work at baltometro.org/environment/planning-areas/air-quality.
That's all from Anna, but check out our other Reaching Resilience 2050 entries on Climate Resilience, Project Implementation and Safety. To learn more about our Resilience 2050 long-range transportation plan, please visit publicinput.com/Resilience2050.