Modeling the Effects of Land Use and Technology Change on Future Air Quality in the Upper Midwestern United States

EPA Grant Number: R831840
Title: Modeling the Effects of Land Use and Technology Change on Future Air Quality in the Upper Midwestern United States
Investigators: Stone, Brian J , Holloway, Tracey
Institution: University of Wisconsin Madison
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2007 (Extended to December 31, 2008)
Project Amount: $678,685
RFA: Regional Development, Population Trend, and Technology Change Impacts on Future Air Pollution Emissions (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Global Climate Change , Climate Change , Air


The purpose of this study to test the hypothesis that “smart growth” land use strategies can significantly improve regional air quality throughout the upper Midwestern U.S. over the period of 25 to 50 years. To investigate this question, we will develop a fully integrated land use, vehicle travel, and air quality modeling framework to: 1) estimate vehicle trips and miles of travel (VMT) as a function of changes in population density, employment rates, income, and vehicle ownership; 2) estimate mobile source emissions as a function of changing land use patterns (as reflected in VMT), hybrid vehicle technology dissemination, and regional climate; 3) model regional O3 and PM concentrations as a function of regional land use, hybrid technology, and energy production scenarios; and 4) account for the effects of continental and global scale pollutant transport on O3 and PM chemistry for the target years 2005, 2025, and 2050.


Approach: The research approach will combine national demographic and travel survey data with vehicle emissions (MOBILE6), regional air quality (CMAQ), and global atmospheric chemistry (MOZART) models to associate land use patterns with O3 and PM in future years. Through the use of the USDOT’s Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey “transferability component,” we will derive estimates of census tract level vehicle trips and VMT that may be projected to future time periods in response to “business as usual” and “smart growth” development scenarios. Adjusting for regional and temporal variability in vehicle fleet composition (including hybrid vehicle fractions), travel speeds, coldstart fractions, and ambient temperatures, MOBILE6 will be employed to generate a set of vehicle emissions factors that, in combination with the VMT estimates, will be used to estimate daily vehicle emissions. In concert with point source emissions estimates derived from an energy demand analysis, these vehicle emissions estimates will be aggregated to 36 km x 36 km grid cells and incorporated into CMAQ to model regional O3 and PM chemistry under variable development, technology, and climate change scenarios. As a final step, MOZART will be employed to assess the influence of continental and global scale precursor transport on O3 and PM throughout the study region.

Expected Results:

This study will address several core emphases of the funding program in developing: 1) an assessment of the spatial and temporal distribution of air pollution throughout the upper Midwest as a function of future population growth, population shifts, and smart growth planning strategies; 2) an assessment of future transportation and energy sector technology change in mitigating the quantity and spatial/temporal distribution of air pollution throughout the upper Midwest; 3) an assessment of the role of continental and global scale pollutant transport and climate change in O3 and PM formation throughout the upper Midwest in future years; and 4) a methodological basis for assessing the influence of future development, technology, and climate changes on the spatial/temporal distribution of air pollution in any region of the U.S.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 25 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 6 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Ozone, transportation, urban planning, environmental policy, Midwest,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Air Quality, Environmental Chemistry, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, mobile sources, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Urban and Regional Planning, Atmosphere, ecosystem models, infrastructure systems, traffic, engine exhaust, modeling regional scale ozone, human activities, motor vehicle emissions, Emissions Inventory Modeling System, air quality models, ozone, automotive emissions, traffic patterns, automotive exhaust, green house gas concentrations, modeling, mobile source emissions, atmospheric pollutant loads, tropospheric ozone, regional emissions model, global warming, predicting ecological response, climate variability, community structure, Global Climate Change, ambient air pollution

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2006 Progress Report
  • 2007 Progress Report
  • Final Report