Research Program Design---Administration of Highway and Transportation Agencies. Implications of Performance Standards, Conformity-Style Approaches, and Other Mechanisms for Assessing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction Strategies and Integrating GHG Objectives into Transportation Decision Making

The issue of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation sources is likely to be addressed in key national legislation in the coming two years, including possibly passage of a national climate and energy bill - such as S. 2191 - as well as potential new provisions in the next surface transportation authorization bill.  Some groups have suggested also modifying the Clean Air Act to include GHG emissions in the transportation conformity process or to establish carbon budgets against which transportation GHG emissions would be compared or both.  Managing GHG emissions from transportation sources will entail analysis and decision making at several levels of planning and possibly changes in the underlying process currently used in transportation system planning. New legislation may influence how responsible government agencies develop, coordinate, monitor, and maintain Metropolitan and Statewide Plans and Transportation Improvement Programs, project-level plans and related environmental reviews, and the relationships among these various documents and national-level plans, for example, multi-sector cap-and-trade strategies that may be adopted in national legislation. Some states departments of transportation (DOTs) already have begun to analyze GHG emissions as part of their transportation planning processes and in some cases as part of their environmental review documents.  For example, New York's 2002 Energy Plan calls for "Examining and analyzing the transportation system's energy consumption and air emissions when long-range plans and Transportation Improvement Programs are adopted." The state's DOT has responsed by analyzing GHG emissions as part of its Statewide and Metropolitan Planning processes for regionally significant projects and as part of its environmental review process.  Other States such as California and Washington are also starting to analyze GHG emissions as part of these processes, often in response to State Action Plans or Executive Orders. The transportation community has been promoting the integration of the transportation planning and environmental review processes for a number of years.  Provisions in SAFETEU-LU require DOTs and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to consult with environmental agencies and to consider available environmental maps and other data as part of their long range planning processes.  While there currently are no specific requirements for integrating climate change into these processes, future legislation is likely to include such requirements.  To date, states have taken a lead in developing their own analysis techniques for climate change, pursuing a variety of technical approaches.  In addition, public expectations about the types of analysis and regulation that are appropriate for the transportation sector vary from state to state. These several factors favor state-specific approaches as the most effective for management of GHG emissions from transportation. In addition, important necessary elements of management strategy are beyond the control of DOTs and MPOs, such as the setting, implementation, and enforcement of vehicle fuel efficiency and pollution emissions standards. Nevertheless, a national-level policy for achieving mobile-source GHG-reductions could provide a basis for ensuring consistency of objectives, range of strategies to be considered, scale of analyses, and computational models to be used in developing plans for managing GHG emissions from transportation sources. Developing such a policy presents major challenges. For example, many DOTs and MPOs have found that the conformity processes developed to enforce provisions of the Clean Air Act are costly, time-consuming, and at best produce only marginal improvements in projected air quality. The computational models developed to support conformity analyses have proven to be difficult to adjust to represent the impact of cleaner engines, cleaner fuels, and other changes in technology that are likely to produce the greatest reductions in air pollution emissions. Agencies are concerned that adoption of a conformity process for managing GHG emissions will have similar shortcomings. A meaningful alternative to the conformity process would enhance agencies' abilities to develop effective GHG management plans. The objective of this project will be to provide factual bases for judging the efficacy of a conformity-style approach to managing GHG emissions from transportation and for formulating a meaningful alternative approach that DOTs and MPOs can use. The project will help policy makers to understand (a) how a conformity-style approach to GHG emissions would affect states and metro areas, (b) what alternative approaches may be used to effectively evaluate mobile-source GHG emission-management strategies, and (c) in particular whether the "Guidebook Emissions Calculator" presented in the Center for Clean Air Policy's <em>Transportation Emissions Guidebook</em> (the "CCAP Calculator") is an effective estimator of mobile-source GHG.</font></div><div style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"> </div>


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $367000.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-24(64)

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Lemer, Andrew

  • Performing Organizations:

    ICF International

  • Principal Investigators:

    D'lgnazio, Janet

  • Start Date: 20090105
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20100104
  • Source Data: RiP Project 19820

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01549596
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-24(64)
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2015 1:01AM