Increasing Transportation of Alternative Fuels Impact on Hazardous Materials Transportation

Focus Area



Air Quality






1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

Description of the Need –The United States is currently seeing unprecedented levels of interest in alternative fuels, including ethanol (corn and cellulose), biodiesel, methanol, butanol, hydrogen, coal to liquid fuels, and others. These fuels will supplement existing traditional fuels such as diesel and gasoline, and will be transported in large quantities by our nation’s transportation system not previously seen on a large scale. These fuels represent new risks to safety, security, efficiency, and emergency response. There is a need to clearly define these risks and their effect on hazardous materials transportation.

Research Objective –
Identify the risks associated with the increased transportation of alternative fuels and compare these to the risks associated with the transportation for traditional fuels to determine what additional steps need to be taken to improve safety, security, and efficiency, and establish effective emergency response capabilities. 

Urgency and Payoff

Identification for the risks associated with alternative fuels will allow effective regulatory, policy, and training systems to be developed and implemented. 

Suggested By

AT040, Transportation of Hazardous Materials Committee, as specified in the TRB Research Needs Database, 2009.