Regional Development, Population Trend, and Technology Change Impacts on Future Air Pollution Emissions


Recipients List

FY 2004 Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program
National Center for Environmental Research

Opening Date: October 21, 2003
Closing Date: February 5, 2004

Technical Contact: Darrell Winner, 202-343-9748, email:
Eligibility Contact: Tom Barnwell, 202-343-9862,

Summary of Program Requirements
Specific Areas of Interest
Standard Instructions for Submitting an Application
Sorting Code


Program Title: Regional Development, Population Trend, and Technology Change Impacts on Future Air Pollution Emissions

Synopsis of Program:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications for research into the changes in the spatial distribution of air pollution emissions due to regional development patterns, including demographic determinants, and technology changes.

Contact Person(s):
Darrell Winner, 202-343-9748; email:

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s): 66.509

Eligibility Information:
Academic and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and state, tribal, or local governments are eligible to apply for assistance under this program.

Award Information:
Anticipated Type of Award: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately 4
Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $3 million
Potential Funding per Award per Year: Up to $250,000 per year for up to 3 years
Limitations: Requests over $750,000 total will not be considered

Sorting Code(s):
The sorting code for applications submitted in response to this solicitation is 2004-STAR-B1.
Deadline/Target Dates:
Letter of Intent Due Date(s): None
Application Proposal Due Date(s): February 5, 2004


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) announces an extramural funding competition supporting research into regional development, population trend, and technology change impacts on future air pollution emissions. EPA is interested in analysis of how pollutant emissions related to tropospheric ozone and particulate matter formation may be altered by future changes.

The location and design of new development can affect the level of impact it has on the environment. For example, the physical characteristics and patterns of land development in a region can affect air quality by influencing travel mode choices, trips, trip speed, number of miles driven, and therefore mobile source emissions. Characteristics of urban form that have been found to affect trip making include: density, mix of land uses, transit accessibility, pedestrian environment/urban design factors, and regional patterns of compactness with a jobs/housing balance (e.g. US EPA, 2001). There is also increasing interest in developing "smart growth" strategies (e.g., compact, mixed-use development with a variety of transportation options and pedestrian-oriented urban form) in order to improve air quality by reducing overall auto-related emissions.

Emissions from stationary air pollution sources, such as power plants and factories, will also be affected by the characteristics and patterns of land development. In addition, economic growth, changes in the composition of economic output (GDP), and technological change have the potential to affect both the total amount and spatial distribution of stationary source emissions. Economic growth is unlikely to proceed at the same rate in all locations across the US. Increases in activity in the services sector, decreases in manufacturing, and other sector changes are unlikely to be geographically uniform and as these sectors have differing emissions characteristics, the spatial pattern of emissions is likely to change. Similarly, changes in the spatial organization of production and the diffusion of new and improved technologies over time will have consequences for the amount and spatial distribution of emissions.

An important feature of this research is the long time frame (25 to 50 years) involved when considering global change. In general, the current tools used to estimate emissions do not have the capability to capture such long-term changes. For example, it is entirely reasonable when estimating next year's emissions to assume that communities, roads, factories, and trees will be in the same locations and look much the same as they do today. However, 50 years from now this assumption is unlikely to hold true. As a result, it is necessary to either develop new or augment existing models to project emissions. A key goal of this research is improved methods to allocate emissions spatially. Methods are needed to allow the spatial allocation algorithms to change over time in response to movements of economic activities, communities, and roads.


This Request for Applications (RFA) complements global change research programs in EPA Laboratories and Centers as well as the objectives of the EPA Office of Air and Radiation relating to regional air quality. The overall framework for assessing the potential consequences of global changes on air quality in this RFA is the Global Change Research Strategy.

EPA's Global Change Research Program is assessing the potential consequences of global changes for human health, ecosystems, and social well being in the United States. The Program focuses on four major areas consistent with EPA’s mission: human health, aquatic ecosystems, water quality and air quality.

Improving our understanding of linkages between climate, atmospheric chemistry, and global air quality and our ability to assess future states of the atmosphere will require coupling local- and regional-scale air quality models with global-scale climate and chemistry models. At the same time, there is an ongoing need to improve our understanding of how meteorology affects specific processes. The research solicited through this RFA will improve our knowledge and methods for projecting regional emissions.


In order to develop more accurate long-term (e.g., to 2050) emissions projections, current energy modeling systems on which aggregate forecasts of emissions are based will need to incorporate or develop better methods to project changes in a wide range of key driver and policy variables. Examples of such changes include transportation infrastructure investments, regional development patterns (e.g., sprawl, Smart Growth), structural and spatial shifts in the organization of production and delivery of services, transportation modal choices (and other lifestyle factors), air quality and climate policies, and population movements, in addition to technological change. Furthermore, methodologies will need to be developed to spatially distribute the emissions resulting from these kinds of inputs across North America.

The spatial and temporal distribution of transportation activities and emissions are of key concern. For example, regional development patterns (housing, roads, commercial development, mass transit systems) will likely be heterogeneous across the country, affecting both the amount and spatial distribution of air pollution emissions from mobile sources. Similarly, improved automobile engines will likely diffuse into the nation's fleet over time and will penetrate faster in some areas than in others. Understanding the process of technological diffusion will improve our ability to estimate air pollutant emissions.

Successful proposals for this solicitation will address one or more of the following research topics:

  • How would population growth, urban-rural population shifts, the use of smart growth approaches, and climate change affect the spatial distribution and amount of air pollution emissions?
  • How would technological change (including the rate of both technological change and diffusion) affect the amount and spatial allocation of anthropogenic emissions? What is the impact of changes in the mix of energy production technologies (nuclear, coal, gas, wind and other renewable energy sources) on the spatial allocation of anthropogenic emissions?
  • How would changes in sectors of the economy, for example shifts within and between manufacturing, service, and agriculture sectors, affect the amount and spatial distribution of air pollution emissions? Could climate change affect the economic changes and how can this be accounted for when spatially allocating emissions?
  • How might models that project changes in land-use and activity locations be improved to better reflect and integrate lifestyle, economic production, and public policy factors that drive vehicle miles traveled? How might spatial redistribution of activities and changes in land-use influence investments in transportation infrastructure and technology? Conversely, how might investment choices in transportation infrastructure and technology influence changes in spatial distribution of activities and land-use change?
  • What is the nature of the linkage between growth in GDP and growth in transportation activity? What types of investments (e.g., transportation infrastructure, information technology) and policies are likely to lead to changes in this relationship? Will the impacts of present-day movements such as Smart Growth and the New Urbanism be significant enough to affect the linkage between transportation and economic growth, and, if so, under what circumstances?

Proposals must have a strong analytical focus, as opposed to solely relying on empirical techniques. The emphasis should be exploring which forces and linkages are most important, rather than producing an exact forecast of the future. While not required, EPA strongly urges proposals from teams including a mix of physical scientists/engineers and social scientists.

Proposals must demonstrate the feasibility of new methods to project regional emissions. The ultimate goal, not necessarily reached by the end of research supported under this solicitation, is to produce methods for creating plausible North American emission scenarios for air quality models such as the Models-3 Community Multiscale Air Quality model (CMAQ) for 50 years into the future. For air quality modeling purposes, future regional emission scenarios are needed at the resolution of 36 km x 36 km grids, with finer resolution desirable in urban regions or areas of complex terrain.

To the extent possible, future emission scenarios should be consistent with the continental scale emissions scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Special Report Emissions Scenarios (SRES) (, but not be overly restricted to them because of the regional and local concentration of anthropogenic emission sources. Due to the assumptions implicit in modeling of emissions, it is important to document the spatial and temporal allocation methods developed, and the basis and uncertainty in future emission scenarios, including location and quantities. It is likely that a range of emission scenarios will be needed to realistically allow for uncertainties.


IPCC Third Assessment Report - Climate Change 2001

US Environmental Protection Agency, Global Change Research Program

US Environmental Protection Agency, Global Change Research Strategy

US Environmental Protection Agency, Models 3 / Community Multiscale Air Quality

US Environmental Protection Agency (2000) National Air Pollutant Emissions Trends: 1990 –1998

US Environmental Protection Agency (2001) Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions between Transportation, Land Use, and Environmental Quality. January 2001. EPA 231-R-01-002.

Workshop on Intercontinental Transport and Climatic Effects of Pollutants, December 3-5, 2001, Research Triangle Park, NC


It is anticipated that a total of approximately $3 million will be awarded, depending on the availability of funds. EPA anticipates funding approximately 4-5 grants under this RFA. The projected award per grant is $150,000 to $250,000 per year total costs, for up to 3 years. Requests with EPA funding amount in excess of $750,000, including direct and indirect costs, will not be considered.

Assume a starting date of no earlier than August 2004 for budgeting purposes.


Institutions of higher education and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and tribal, state and local governments, are eligible to apply. Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive grants from EPA under this program.

National laboratories funded by federal agencies (Federally-funded Research and Development Centers, “FFRDCs”) may not apply. FFRDC employees may cooperate or collaborate with eligible applicants within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations. They may participate in planning, conducting, and analyzing the research directed by the principal investigator, but may not direct projects on behalf of the applicant organization or principal investigator. The principal investigator's institution, organization, or governance may provide funds through its grant from EPA to a FFRDC for research personnel, supplies, equipment, and other expenses directly related to the research. However, salaries for permanent FFRDC employees may not be provided through this mechanism.

Federal agencies may not apply. Federal employees are not eligible to serve in a principal leadership role on a grant, and may not receive salaries or in other ways augment their agency's appropriations through grants made by this program. However, federal employees may interact with grantees so long as their involvement is not essential to achieving the basic goals of the grant. EPA encourages interaction between its own laboratory scientists and grant principal investigators for the sole purpose of exchanging information in research areas of common interest that may add value to their respective research activities. This interaction must be incidental to achieving the goals of the research under a grant. Interaction that is “incidental” does not involve resource commitments.

The principal investigator’s institution may enter into an agreement with a federal agency to purchase or utilize unique supplies or services unavailable in the private sector. Examples are purchase of satellite data, census data tapes, chemical reference standards, analyses, or use of instrumentation or other facilities not available elsewhere. A written justification for federal involvement must be included in the application, along with an assurance from the federal agency involved which commits it to supply the specified service.

Potential applicants who are uncertain of their eligibility should contact Tom Barnwell in NCER, phone 202-343-9862,


The Standard Instructions for Submitting a STAR Application including the necessary forms will be found on the NCER web site.


The need for a sorting code to be used in the application and for mailing is described in the Standard Instructions for Submitting a STAR Application. The sorting code for applications submitted in response to this solicitation is 2004-STAR-B1.

The deadline for receipt of the application by NCER is February 5, 2004.


Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA official indicated below.
Darrell Winner, 202-343-9748,