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Study: Last Year's Carmageddon Did Wonders for Air Quality

UCLA releases findings that show dramatically improved air quality during last year's Carmageddon closure.

Study: Last Year's Carmageddon Did Wonders for Air Quality

Air quality during last year's Carmageddon reached levels 83 percent better than comparable weekends near the 405 closure area, according to UCLA researchers.

Portions of West Los Angeles and Santa Monica also saw a 75 improvement in air quality. An average of 25 percent improvement was seen regionally, from Ventura to Yucaipa, and Long Beach to Santa Clarita, according to a UCLA press release.

"The air was amazingly clean that weekend," said Suzanne Paulson, one of two professors who led the study from UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. "Our measurements in Santa Monica were almost below what our instruments could detect, and the regional effect was significant. It was a really eye-opening glimpse of what the future could be like if we can move away from combustion engines."

But the improved air quality didn't last long.

"The effect was gone by the next week," Paulson said in the news release. "We measured fresh emissions: pollutants that come directly from cars. It's a very short-term effect."

Researchers will not conduct another study during Carmageddon II.

"If it turns out there's very little traffic on the freeways, everyone should go out and experience what clean air can be like," she said.

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