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 , Frey, H. Christopher , Hanna, Adel , Huntsinger, Leta , Khattak, Asad , Morton, Brian J. , Rouphail, Nagui , Song, Yan
Current Investigators: Rodriguez, Daniel , Arunachalam, Sarav , Frey, H. Christopher , Hanna, Adel , Khattak, Asad , Morton, Brian J. , Rouphail, Nagui , 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 Amount: $680,000
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


The fundamental goal of our research is to rigorously test the hypothesis that development patterns, implemented regionally over a planning horizon of 50 years, can significantly influence the spatial characteristics and quantity of emissions from on-road mobile sources and rail transit vehicles, and hence reduce levels of tropospheric ozone and fine particulate matter. The development patterns of interest include the type of development and its location (e.g., transit oriented development, dense mixed use development, development supportive of nonmotorized transportation modes for nonwork trips, neotraditional suburbs, new urban core development, and redevelopment). We will test our hypothesis with a case study of the Charlotte (NC) metropolitan area.

Our approach is distinguished by the land-use typology and simulation model that we will employ. We will develop a quantitative typology of land-use patterns at the neighborhood level (defined as the transportation analysis zone -TAZ), which we have labeled the TAZ Transect. Then, we will develop a travel forecasting model in which trip generation, destination choice, and mode choice (including nonmotorized modes) are sensitive to attributes of the built environment and account for non-motorized modes as travel options. Vehicle emissions will be estimated with a modal approach. The emission inventories that we will generate will be ready to drive the Models 3/Community Multiscale Air Quality modeling system (CMAQ).


The TAZ Transect will allow us to precisely differentiate existing neighborhoods and hence help identify the zones that are most appropriate for future development according to our scenarios. We will assess development scenarios with a state-of-the-art simulation model comprising these modules: 1) a cross-sectional land-market equilibrium model; 2) a multimodal behavioral travel forecasting model, including nonmotorized modes and incorporating attributes of the built environment; and 3) an emissions model based upon the conceptual underpinnings of EPA’s Multi-Scale Motor Vehicle and Equipment Emissions Estimation System (MOVES). The cross-sectional land market model allows us to impose real-world land-market constraints and incentives (e.g., density bonuses, parking ceilings) on particular neighborhoods as the means for achieving the desired scenarios. We will employ TRANUS to integrate the land market and transportation models. For selected scenarios, we will estimate concentrations of tropospheric ozone and fine particulate matter and the resulting human exposures. Our air quality modeling will include meteorological projections for a future climate change scenario (global warming). We will initiate a planning dialogue with Charlotte planning agencies and other interested parties.

Expected Results:

Our research will develop a general, objective method for exploring questions and hypotheses about the leverage that smart growth development patterns (and other forms of development) may have on the location and quantity of emissions from mobile sources. We will determine whether a substantial (e.g., 20%) emissions reduction is feasible with any reasonable forecast of the market penetration of smart growth. The results of our scenario assessments will apply specifically to Charlotte and, more generally, to similar metropolitan areas and their rural environs.

Our research will inform efforts to bring the area into attainment with the 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards. It will augment the region’s Sustainable Environment for Quality of Life (SEQL) program. This initiative engages multiple stakeholders in strategic efforts to improve air quality and water quality and to achieve sustainable growth.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 44 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 15 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

air, ambient air, atmosphere, global climate, mobile sources, risk, risk assessment, effects, health effects, human health, population, particulates, VOC, oxidants, nitrogen oxides, organics, pollution prevention, alternatives, sustainable development, clean technologies, innovative technology, public policy, decision making, community-based, survey, engineering, social science, economics modeling, climate models, Southeast, North Carolina, South Carolina, EPA Region 4, agriculture, business, transportation, industry, service industry, location, spatial allocation, infrastructure, land use modeling, land use policies, long term, projection, urban development, vehicle emissions, motor vehicle emissions, engine exhaust, cars, trucks, buses, pedestrian, bicycle, transportation mode, vehicle miles traveled, VMT, human activities, demand, travel demand, induced travel, accessibility, count regression model, negative binomial regression model, logit, factor analysis, cluster analysis, portable emissions monitoring system, PEMS,, 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:

  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2006 Progress Report
  • 2007 Progress Report
  • 2008 Progress Report
  • 2009
  • Final Report