child using inhaler

Urban highways degrade the health of our communities.

Noise Pollution

Noise pollution has been linked with hypertension, dementia, and loss of sleep.


2.8 million


Traffic Pollution

Exposure to traffic pollution, including tailpipe emissions and tire and brake wear, has been linked to a wide range of human health issues. This includes an increased risk of childhood asthma, stunted lung growth, cancer, dementia, heart attack, and stroke.

Environmental Racism

Urban highways were intentionally routed through communities of color, often targeting Black neighborhoods. Today those same communities are disproportionately impacted by highway pollution. Residents in racially diverse neighborhoods like Elliot Park and East Rondo have life expectancies over a decade shorter than other Twin Cities communities.

Sacrifice Zones

Sacrifice zones are places where the severe health impacts for some communities is deemed as an acceptable trade-off for the convenience of others. The closer a person lives to a major highway, the greater the risk to their health.

Climate Breakdown

The health impacts of urban highways are expected to worsen as climate change worsens. Wildfire smoke is expected to become more severe and frequent. Freeway pavement contributes to urban heat island effects. Extreme heat worsens the human impacts of traffic pollution, generating smog and making pollutants more potent.

Learn more about Twin Cities Boulevard.

A better future is possible.