Lessons Learned from Project-Level Air Quality Analyses for Particulate Matter

Focus Area

Air Quality


Air Quality




Under $99k


Under 1 year

Research Idea Scope

Regulatory requirements for conducting quantitative project-level analyses for particulate matter (PM) were introduced by EPA with the release of the MOVES model in 2010. This proposed study would prepare a synthesis of particulate matter (PM) studies conducted by state DOTs using both AERMOD and CAL3QHCR, documenting the projects assessed (including how they were determined to be projects of air quality concern for PM), modeling approaches and results, issues encountered, etc., and summarize lessons learned both for conducting the analyses and associated inter-agency consultation. FHWA staff recently estimated the number of studies completed to date to be quite limited, between 15 and 30; a survey via AASHTO of state DOTs would be conducted in this proposed study to identify all analyses that have been completed to date and obtain input on lessons learned. The lessons learned in the study would be a compilation of feedback from state DOT staff involved in the analyses as well as insights from the NCHRP study consultants.

Urgency and Payoff

PM analyses are much more challenging than other analyses conducted for NEPA or conformity, due to their complexity from a technical perspective, typically high background concentrations  (close to or even exceeding the applicable national ambient air quality standard or NAAQS) and the resulting small margin for error, and potential issues in the federally-required inter-agency consultation on the methodology. State DOTs would benefit substantially from lessons learned for studies conducted to date.

Suggested By

Christopher Voigt Virginia DOT 804-371-6764

[email protected]