Predicting the Relative Impacts of Urban Development Policies and On-Road Vehicle Technologies on Air Quality in the United States: Modeling and Analysis of a Case Study in Austin, Texas

EPA Grant Number: R831839
Title: Predicting the Relative Impacts of Urban Development Policies and On-Road Vehicle Technologies on Air Quality in the United States: Modeling and Analysis of a Case Study in Austin, Texas
Investigators: McDonald-Buller, Elena , Parmenter, Barbara , Allen, David T. , Kockelman, Kara
Institution: The University of Texas at Austin
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: December 20, 2004 through December 19, 2007 (Extended to December 19, 2008)
Project Amount: $650,000
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


Robust forecasts of land use, emissions, and activity patterns are essential for air quality model predictions. The objectives of this proposal are to:

1. Apply an integrated transportation-land use model (ITLUM) to investigate the impacts of regional development scenarios and trade policies on the magnitude and spatial distribution of emissions of ozone precursors. ITLUM-based forecasts will be compared with four pre-determined metropolitan development scenarios: i) low-density, segregated-use development based on extensive highway provision; ii) concentrated, contiguous regional growth within 1-mile of transportation corridors; iii) concentrated growth in existing and new communities with distinct boundaries; iv) high-density development and balanced-use zoning.

2. Compare the air quality impacts of regional development scenarios on predicted ozone concentrations and human exposure patterns using a photochemical grid model.

3. Test the hypothesis that predicted human exposure patterns based on ITLUM emission forecasts will differ from those based on the U.S. EPA’s post-Clean Air Act Amendment emission scenario projections.

4. Test the hypothesis that changes in land use and dry deposition patterns have at least as significant an impact on future air quality as changes in on-road vehicle emission control technologies.


The hypotheses will be investigated using a case study in the Austin, Texas Metropolitan Statistical Area. Biogenic and anthropogenic emissions will be quantified and mapped for each scenario and used as input to the Comprehensive Air Quality Model with Extensions to evaluate air quality and human exposure patterns and to test the hypotheses.

Expected Results:

Integrated modeling efforts, such as those proposed in this study, have the potential to facilitate policy decisions that chart a better and more cost-effective path towards healthful environments for U.S. communities. This work will provide the structure needed for comprehensive modeling of regional land use, transport, and air quality futures.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 51 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 13 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

urban air quality, land use, travel demand models, emission forecasts, ozone, air quality models, central Texas, CAMx, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Air, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, RESEARCH, Health Risk Assessment, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Risk Assessments, Monitoring/Modeling, Monitoring, Environmental Monitoring, Physical Processes, Ecological Risk Assessment, Atmosphere, ecosystem models, integrated assessments, particulate matter, air quality modeling, atmospheric measurements, model-based analysis, remote sensing, motor vehicle emissions, fine particles, automobile exhaust, exposure, global change, model assisted estimation, air pollution, green house gas concentrations, air quality model, modeling, human exposure, climate models, environmental stressors, human activity, landscape characterization, air quality assessments, airborne urban contaminants, human health risk, land use, air quality, ambient air pollution, public health effects, ozone concentrations, transportation, atmospheric chemistry

Progress and Final Reports:

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