A Study of Air Quality in Taxi Cabs and Its Effects on Driver Health

Full Title

DRIIVE (Data and Research on Interventions to Improve the Vehicular Environment)


Air pollution has been linked to health problems such as lung cancer and heart disease. Taxi drivers spend hours every day in their cars and may be exposed to air pollution, such as dust, smoke, dirt, and gas fumes. Researchers in this study aim to assess the air quality in New York City taxi cabs and its effects on taxi drivers’ health, and to determine if installing an air filter inside the taxi cab can improve air quality and reduce adverse health effects.

Taxi drivers participating in this study will be given a device to measure the quality of the air in their cabs and in their homes. They will also complete health assessments, including blood pressure and heart rate measurements. Drivers will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group will have the air filter placed in their cabs two weeks into the study, while the second group will get the air filter at the end of the study (after four weeks). The groups’ air pollution exposure and health assessments will be compared after the study is over.

A similar comparison study will be done among non-drivers who live and work in New York City. They, too, will be given a device that monitors their air quality at home and at work, and they will complete the same health assessments as the drivers. Their data will be compared with taxi drivers to determine whether drivers are exposed to more air pollution than their non-driving peers.


Participants in this study include nonsmoking male New York City taxi drivers (ages 21-90) who drive their cabs full-time and have done so for at least three years. The comparison group includes people nominated by the taxi drivers who are within 10 years of their age, live in the same New York City borough as the driver, and are from the same country or region as the driver.

For more information about this study, please contact Dr. Jennifer Leng at 646-888-8057.