Develop Climate Change Indicators/Model Outputs to Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation

Focus Area

Climate Change


Air Quality, Environmental Process







Research Idea Scope

States and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) are developing and evaluating transportation plans and programs on an ongoing basis. At the same time, many of them are also developing climate action plans and greenhouse gas reduction targets that frequently call for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. However, it is difficult to assess the greenhouse gas emissions reduction potential of various transportation project and policy alternatives due to a lack of effective analytical tools. This project is designed to address this need.
The objective of the project is to develop analytical tools that planners can use to assess the greenhouse gas impacts of transportation projects and policies. These tools should enable planners to identify transportation project or policy alternatives with the greatest greenhouse gas mitigation potentials that also meet other project goals. Analytical tools should consider the impacts of transportation projects on such factors as fuel consumption, land use, land cover, and materials consumption, among others. Analytical tools should also allow for regional variation in inputs such as temperatures, fuel mix, mode split, and average fleet fuel efficiencies. These tools should be able to use the outputs of existing models to produce greenhouse gas impact information for long and short range planning for both passenger and freight demand. 
Urgency/PriorityIn order to develop transportation plans and programs that seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, planners need to be able to estimate the greenhouse gas impacts of various transportation project and policy alternatives and compare them. Planners need to have the ability to perform these analyses as soon as possible.

Urgency and Payoff

These methods would be used by transportation planners to evaluate the greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts of transportation plans, policies, and projects.
The development and application of these methods will allow planners to identify and select the transportation projects and policies that will most effectively mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases and reduce the transportation sector’s impact on climate change.

Suggested By

RNS. Sponsoring Committee: A0020T, Special Task Force on Climate Change and Energy Source Info: Special Task Force on Climate Change and Energy January 2010 Workshop