Blog Post

Insight: Wasatch Front Air Quality – Getting Better or Worse?

By: Thomas Holst

Skiing on weekends is a relaxing way to appreciate Utah’s snow and the challenging terrain of local resorts. Frequently, an added benefit is to escape an inversion layer in the valley.

Inversions are facilitated by the unique topography along the Wasatch Front. A recent survey conducted for the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) shows that Utahns are both informed about the causes of poor air quality and will assume responsibility for implementing solutions:[i]

  • Vehicles were correctly identified as the largest contributor to poor air quality.
  • Fifty-seven percent of respondents stated that individuals are responsible for improving air quality, followed by state government (36 percent), and the federal government (16 percent).
  • Over half of the respondents stated they take measures to improve air quality, but only if it’s convenient or saves them money; one-quarter take measures even it means sacrificing convenience.

Regarding personal driving habits during inversion periods, over half of the respondents surveyed said they carpool instead of driving. Three-quarters said they would telecommute if their employer offered that option.

Taking public transport was identified as the top method of changing Utah driving habits. Last year, TRAX waived fares during inversion periods, incentivizing respondents who stated they’d take measures to improve air quality only if it saves them money.

The UCAIR survey is a positive indicator of personal re