Out of the 194 countries studied, the United Kingdom had the 24th highest new cases of childhood asthma that could be blamed on traffic pollution.
Lead author Dr Ploy Achakulwisut, from George Washington University, in the U.S., said "Our study indicates that policy initiatives to alleviate traffic-related air pollution can lead to improvements in children's health and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions".
The study of 194 countries and 125 major cities worldwide found the rate of traffic pollution-related childhood asthma in Ireland is 150 per 100,000 children each year.
The researchers said that 92% of cases of childhood asthma attributable to exposure to traffic pollution occurred in areas with average nitrogen dioxide concentrations below the World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline of 21 parts per billion. NO2 is a pollutant formed mainly from fossil fuel combustion, and traffic emissions can contribute up to 80 per cent of NO2 in cities.
"Improving access to cleaner forms of transportation, like electric public transport and active commuting by cycling and walking, would not only lower NO2 levels but would also reduce asthma, enhance physical fitness and cut greenhouse gas emissions", Annenberg said.
The UK ranked 24th worst out of 194 countries, with China 19th and the USA 25th.
"Recent examples include Shenzhen's electrification of its entire bus fleet and London's Ultra-Low Emission Zone congestion charges".
Globally, asthma is the most common non-communicable disease among children and prevalence has increased dramatically since the 1950s.
It is thought that pollution from traffic may damage airways, leading to inflammation and the development of asthma in children who are genetically predisposed to the condition.
Reviews suggest a causal relationship is likely to exist between long-term nitrogen dioxide exposure and childhood asthma.