It’s no secret that London’s roads are pretty polluted. Hotspots include Oxford Street, King's Road and Putney High Street, which breached the hourly pollution limit 1,100 times in 2016. But if you thought you were safe from the smog by travelling underground on the tube, guess again.
A new study from the University of Surrey found that travelling by tube exposes commuters to over eight times as much air pollution as those who travel by car. Monitors attached to Underground passengers as they went about their daily commute found that commuters on the tube were exposed to 68mg of PM10 – a toxic pollutant – while car drivers were exposed to 8.2mg, as cars filter out pollutants.
The study showed that commuters travelling in carriages with open windows were the most exposed. The highest particulate matter (PM) levels were found on the Victoria and Northern lines, which all had their windows open.
Other pretty depressing findings include that the morning commute has more pollutants than journeys in the afternoon and evening, bus commuters were exposed to an average of 38mg of PM10 (around half as much as tube users), and although car drivers are the least exposed to the all the PM, cars cause the most pollutants and give out more harmful types than the Underground – typical, eh?