Templates for Project-Level Analyses Using MOVES and AERMOD

Focus Area

Air Quality

Subcommittee

Air Quality

Status

Archived

Cost

$100,000-$249,000

Timeframe

1-2 years

Research Idea Scope

Background

The concurrent introduction in the past year of models (MOVES2010 and AERMOD) and guidance new to project-level “hot-spot” analyses poses significant challenges for state DOTs and other agencies with responsibilities in project implementation. The intent of this project is to facilitate the introduction of the models and guidance by developing templates that State DOTs and others may apply or reference in the preparation of hot-spot analyses for projects in their respective jurisdictions.
 
At the time of preparation of this proposal, federal guidance for the preparation of project-level analyses to meet federal transportation conformity requirements has been released in draft form but not yet finalized for particulate and is pending in draft form for carbon monoxide. Additional or revised requirements may be forthcoming.
 
Two types of templates are envisioned. The first would be templates for complete air quality reports used in NEPA documentation. The approach would be comprehensive, providing examples of NEPA documentation that would meet all applicable (federal conformity and NEPA) requirements for hypothetical “typical” projects. To the extent feasible, therefore, the “template reports” for project-level analyses would address all pollutants (particulate, carbon monoxide and mobile source air toxics), all federal requirements and guidance (conformity and NEPA), and all models identified in draft federal guidance (MOVES, AERMOD and CAL3QHCR). The template reports would include detailed sections on modeling that document all modeling inputs and assumptions for all pollutants, project types and scenarios modeled. However, given limited resources, the first priority for the project should be template reports for particulate to meet federal conformity requirements using MOVES and AERMOD. CAL3QHCR is also a top priority, although state DOTs are familiar with the related CAL3QHC model. Carbon monoxide is a lower priority at present as state DOTs have experience in air analyses for this pollutant and new standards and/or guidance have not been issued to date for this pollutant. The use of FHWA interface models as available is encouraged.
 
The typical types of transportation projects for which the template reports would be developed should be consistent with the types identified in the applicable federal rules for particulate and carbon monoxide analyses and also be ones commonly addressed by state DOTs. The project types would generally be expected to include: new/expanded highways, arterial streets, interchanges, intersections, transit service/stations, rail service/stations, and intermodal terminals. Other scenarios including ones involving nearby stationary sources should also be included.
 
In addition to the development of the template reports, the project should include the development of a template state guidance document that would identify general modeling requirements, inputs and assumptions for project-level analyses. The template guidance document should be designed to be easily customized by states for their own use and, after undergoing interagency consultation as necessary, would serve as a state-level guide for the preparation of project-level analyses to meet applicable federal (conformity and NEPA) and state requirements and guidance using MOVES, AERMOD and CAL3QHCR for particulate and carbon monoxide.
 
Finally, based on experience gained in the project and feedback from project participants, recommendations for improvements to the models (including possibly screening or interface models) and/or associated guidance may be developed if appropriate.
 
To increase the utility of the project deliverables, the research panel should include representatives from state DOTs, the US DOT and EPA who are expected to be involved in the implementation of the new models and guidance.
 
Research Objectives

The primary focus of this project is to develop standard templates for use by state DOTs in the preparation of project-level analyses for particulate and, as resources permit, other pollutants. The templates will document the modeling approach, including all modeling inputs and assumptions, and otherwise meet all applicable federal requirements and guidance.
 
Tasks

  1. Finalize Scope of Work: The Consultant will work with the Research Panel to update and finalize the project scope of work, which should include a work plan with milestones dates including the delivery and review of key interim and final deliverables. The pollutants, models, and project types and scenarios for which template reports will be developed will be reviewed and finalized in this task. Scenarios that compare modeling inputs and results for CAL3QHCR and AERMOD for similar project types will be included. Expectations for the detail and format of the template reports including appendices will be finalized.
  2. Master Template Report for Project-Level Analyses to Meet Federal Requirements: The Consultant will develop a master template report in MS Word designed to meet all applicable federal conformity and NEPA requirements and guidance for project-level analyses for all pollutants (CO, particulate and MSATs) and models (MOVES, CAL3QHCR & AERMOD). To this end, the Consultant will first draft a detailed outline for review by the Research Panel. Upon approval by the Research Panel of the detailed outline, the Consultant will prepare a draft template report for review and approval by the Research Panel. The task will focus on report documentation; no modeling is expected for this task.
  3. Template Reports for Particulate Using MOVES, CAL3QHCR & AERMOD: The Consultant will conduct project-level modeling for particulate to meet all applicable federal requirements and guidance for the typical project types and scenarios identified in the final scope of work. The Consultant will use the master template report developed in Task 2 to develop template reports for particulate for each project type and scenario modeled in this task. The use of CAL3QHCR and AERMOD will be contrasted by comparing modeling inputs and results for similar projects. All input and output files developed for the modeling for this task will be deliverables.
  4. Template for State Guidance for Project-Level Analyses: The Consultant will develop a template state guidance document designed to help practitioners meet all applicable federal (conformity and NEPA) and state requirements and guidance for the preparation of project-level analyses. The template will specify general requirements, data and information for hot-spot analyses, and list federal and regional default data and information (or otherwise specifying acceptable sources for the needed inputs). It is intended that, following the completion of this project, state DOTs will customize the guidance template as needed for their respective jurisdictions (including the specification of local data and sources as appropriate) and then subject the resulting draft state guidance to state and local interagency consultation prior to its adoption and use.
  5. [Optional – To be conducted as resources permit] Additional/Improved Template Reports for Other Models, Pollutants, Project Types and Scenarios Not Addressed in Tasks 2 and 3: The Consultant will augment the template reports developed in Tasks 2 and 3 to include models, pollutant(s), and standard project types and scenarios that are identified in the final scope of work that were not addressed in those previous tasks. This task may be conducted concurrently (or otherwise incorporated into) Task 2 at the time that the final work plan is developed in Task 1. The use of CAL3QHCR and AERMOD will be contrasted by comparing modeling inputs and results for similar projects as specified in the final scope. The input and output files developed for the modeling for this task will also be deliverables for the project.
  6. Recommendations: Recommendations for improvements to the models (including possibly screening or interface models) and/or associated guidance may be developed.
  7. Progress Reports: The Consultant will monitor progress on all tasks and provide progress reports to the Research Panel as appropriate.

Suggested By

ADC20, Transportation and Air Quality Committee, as specified in the TRB Research Needs Database, 2009. John Zamurs, Chair Air Quality, Climate Change and Energy Subcommittee

Submitted

02/18/2009