Our time in road traffic often takes place inside a car, bus, or light rail/metro – just as many people still travel by train. We spend many hours every week in some means of transportation. It is therefore important to have good air quality inside our means of transport.

Indoor air pollution in caravans, etc., resembles the air pollution described under Your home (except for radon) and is not described further below, where we focus on pollution in everyday means of transport.

There are several conditions that can contaminate the indoor environment in means of transport.

Smoking in cars causes high particle pollution for the smoker and other passengers, which increases the risk of cancer, blood clots, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disorders, and other serious diseases – the value of the car is also reduced and may be more difficult to sell. The best thing is of course to stop smoking altogether. The next best thing is to smoke outside or to smoke with the windows open on both sides of the car (preferably both front and back) to have good ventilation – blow the smoke out the window.

Release of harmful chemicals from fixtures in new cars, air fresheners, etc., can pollute the air inside the car. It can cause problems such as headaches, but can also increase the risk of cancer, allergies, and other serious diseases. Always make sure to aerate thoroughly with a through draught in a newer car before you drive it, and drive with a draught for the first month or so. Get rid of any air fresheners and instead remove whatever is causing the bad smell.

We produce carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor when exhaling. A high CO2 content is a sign of poor air quality in the car, which increases the risk of headaches, fatigue, and difficulties in concentrating. High humidity causes misty windows, which increases the risk of accidents. The solution is to maintain a reasonable temperature and ventilate regularly with a draught (recirculation ventilation does not solve the CO2 problem).

Contaminated outside air from other vehicles, which is sucked in via the ventilation, can cause very high pollution that increases the risk of cancer, blood clots, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory disorders, etc. The pollution can be reduced by turning off the ventilation (or running it on recirculation) and closing the windows when driving in heavy traffic. As a passenger on a bus, you are also exposed to traffic pollution, and in some diesel trains the pollution from the locomotive can be sucked directly into the passenger carts via the ventilation and thus cause high particle pollution. In trains, subways and light rail, particles from rails and brakes can in some cases be sucked into the passenger carts via the ventilation or enter via open doors. Especially tunnels and underground platforms with low air exchange can cause high levels of pollution inside the train or metro.