2006 Progress Report: Advanced Modeling System for Forecasting Regional Development, Travel Behavior, and Spatial Pattern of Emissions

EPA Grant Number: R831835
Title: Advanced Modeling System for Forecasting Regional Development, Travel Behavior, and Spatial Pattern of Emissions
Investigators: Rodriguez, Daniel , Hanna, Adel , Frey, H. Christopher , Morton, Brian J. , Khattak, Asad , Huntsinger, Leta , Rouphail, Nagui , Song, Yan
Current Investigators: Rodriguez, Daniel , Hanna, Adel , Frey, H. Christopher , Morton, Brian J. , Khattak, Asad , Rouphail, Nagui , Arunachalam, Sarav , Song, Yan
Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , North Carolina State University
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: September 1, 2004 through November 14, 2009
Project Period Covered by this Report: September 1, 2005 through November 14, 2006
Project Amount: $680,000
RFA: Regional Development, Population Trend, and Technology Change Impacts on Future Air Pollution Emissions (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Climate Change , Air


Through simulation modeling of land use, transportation, emissions, and air quality, this research project will rigorously test the hypothesis that alternative development patterns can substantially influence the quantity and location of emissions from on- and off-road mobile sources and thus affect ozone and fine particulate matter (PM) levels. The research team includes social and physical scientists and engineers, who have been developing a simulation model with land use, travel behavior, and emissions components. The model uses recent data for Charlotte (NC), Mecklenburg County, and the multi-county Metrolina region. The scenarios to be simulated include a current-year baseline and projections of various land use patterns, vehicle technologies, and transportation systems. The final output of the simulation model will be spatially distributed emission projections for multiple scenarios, with projected ozone and PM concentrations from the Models 3/Community Multiscale Air Quality modeling system (CMAQ).

Progress Summary:

Transportation and Land Use/Population Databases

We added to the databases information on: speed-reduction functions for each link type; households; employment in each of twelve economic sectors; input-output relationships among the economic sectors; developed and developable land; and neighborhoods (see below).

Neighborhood Transect, Land Use, and Travel Behavior

We developed and applied a quantitative method for classifying neighborhood types. Neighborhood characterization began with extraction of spatial data. Factor analysis revealed a small set of dimensions that capture essential differences in urban form. A subsequent cluster analysis identified eight distinct neighborhood types, yielding the Neighborhood Transect.

This typology was employed in locational choice and travel behavior modeling. For both residences and business establishments, choice of location is significantly influenced by neighborhood type. The travel models (trips and mode) also showed travel to be sensitive to the built environment as captured in the typology. The results of all those models, in turn, provided parameters for our TRANUS-based land use-transportation model.


We developed emission factors for advanced vehicle technologies, including E85- and CNG-fueled vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell buses, and hybrid electric vehicles. Those emission factors are based on data from portable emissions measurement systems and dynamometer test data. Emissions factors for CNG-fueled buses and diesel railcars were derived from values reported in the literature. The emissions modeling based on vehicle specific power is now complete for E85-fueled passenger cars, hybrid electric passenger cars, and hydrogen-fueled transit buses. A life-cycle approach was used to evaluate the effects of the use of electric vehicles and light rail on power plant emissions.

Future Activities:

Land Use and Travel Behavior Modeling

We will finish the trip generation models and the TRANUS model. The latter entails refining the parameters in our simulation model to ensure accurate representation of the current conditions.


We will develop an emission factor model for light-duty diesel vehicles based on data from Europe and construct an interface to read the outputs provided by TRANUS for processing by the emissions estimation module.

Scenario Development, Scenario Assessment, and Air Quality Modeling

We intend to construct a current-year scenario and a range of year-2050 scenarios. We will use our modeling system to project the outcomes of each scenario: land use, travel behavior, and on-road and off-road (light rail transit) vehicle emissions. The team will work with air quality modelers to develop a procedure for incorporating the projected vehicle emissions into a comprehensive, CMAQ-ready emission inventory. Lastly, for the current-year and 2050 growth management scenarios, air pollutant concentrations and human exposures will be estimated.

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 44 publications 15 publications in selected types All 15 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Shay E, Fan Y, Rodriguez DA, Khattak AJ. Drive or walk? Utilitarian trips within a neotraditional neighborhood. Transportation Research Record 2006;1985:154-161. R831835 (2006)
R831835 (Final)
  • Full-text: EPA-Prepublication PDF
  • Abstract: Transportation Resource Board-Abstract
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    RFA, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Air, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, Physical Processes, Urban and Regional Planning, Atmosphere, ecosystem models, infrastructure systems, human activities, ozone , motor vehicle emissions, emissions monitoring, land use model, Emissions Inventory Modeling System, exposure, traffic patterns, green house gas concentrations, modeling, human exposue, air quality model, mobile source emissions, mobile sources, atmospheric pollutant loads, tropospheric ozone, regional emissions model, global warming, climate model, ecological models, predicting ecological response, air quality, climate variability, community structure, Global Climate Change, ambient air pollution, ozone concentrations

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2007 Progress Report
  • 2008 Progress Report
  • 2009
  • Final Report