Potential impacts of electric vehicles on air quality and health endpoints in the Greater Houston Area in 2040

Significant emissions from transportation contribute to the formation of O₃ and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), exacerbating both air quality and health. In this study, the research team analyzes multiple scenarios to understand how future fleet electrification and turnover of both gasoline and diesel vehicles affect air quality and health in the Houston area. For each scenario, the team examines increased vehicle activity and various configurations of emissions controls. To capture urban features in significant detail, the team models each scenario using the high-resolution (1km) WRF-SMOKE-CMA Q-BenMAP air quality and health modeling framework. Model predictions for 2040, compared to a base year of 2013, indicate a ~50% increase in emissions in the Business As Usual (BAU) scenario, and ~50%, ~75%, and ~95% reductions in the Moderate Electrification (ME), Aggressive Electrification (AE), and Complete Turnover (CT) scenarios, respectively. The emissions control cases show an increase in maximum 8h O₃ of 1-4 ppb along highways but reductions in two regions—those enclosed by the highways and those downwind—and a decrease in simulated PM2.5 concentrations of between 0.5-2 μg m-3. The associated health impacts and economic benefits will be studied. The analytical framework developed in this study can be applied to other metropolitan areas. County-level prevented premature mortality (APM) resulting from changes in O₃ and PM2.5 concentrations in the future year scenarios. Estimating trends in transportation emissions and the impact of associated air quality can provide important insights for requisite control policy. The transportation sector is a major contributor to the concentrations of both nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which react in the presence of sunlight, forming ozone (O₃). Vehicular traffic is also responsible for emissions of components of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) such as organic and elemental carbon. Research results from this study will be communicated to the general public, policy makers, and practitioners via outreach to multiple channels of media to influence practice and policy.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $57607
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:


    Washington DC,   United States 
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    Center for Transportation, Environment, and Community Health

    Cornell University
    Ithaca, NY  United States  14853
  • Principal Investigators:

    Gao, Oliver

  • Start Date: 20190301
  • Expected Completion Date: 20200228
  • Actual Completion Date: 20200228
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01714349
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Center for Transportation, Environment, and Community Health
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747119
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Aug 20 2019 11:35AM