Transportation Planning and Vehicle Emissions - Where Are We? Where Are We Going?

Lisa Aultman-Hall, Director of the UVM Transportation Research Center and Professor in the School of Engineering, University of Vermont

Friday, May 22, 2009

Spanos Auditorium

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This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series

For decades transportation planners have relied on travel demand forecasting models to estimate future traffic conditions. These, often aggregate, models take land use by zone as input and ultimately forecast traffic volume by road segment. These forecasts have motivated infrastructure construction and management decisions that in many cases correspond to very large long-term financial investments. However, more recent environmental policies and concerns, such as global climate change, have required transportation planners to more seriously consider the air quality impacts of new transportation proposals. Unfortunately, traditional transportation demand models fall short in being able to quantify vehicle emissions for these purposes. The updating of transportation models for improved estimation of vehicle emissions has been hampered by a relative lack of data and the large number of factors that affect emissions levels: fuel, vehicle type and age, driving speed and acceleration patterns, ambient environmental factors, and road conditions. This presentation outlines both the old and new transportation modeling paradigms as well as presenting experimental results of tailpipe emissions data collected from volunteers driving in instrumented vehicles. The integration of new frameworks for advancing consideration of tailpipe emissions in transportation planning serves as one example of how the research program of the new Transportation Research Center at the University of Vermont is seeking new transdisciplinary approaches to address the mobility challenges of the 21st Century.

About the Speaker

Dr. Lisa Aultman-Hall joined the University of Vermont as founding director of the UVM Transportation Center in August 2006. Dr. Aultman-Hall is a professor in the School of Engineering and adjunct professor in the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics. She had previously served as the director of the Connecticut Transportation Institute, while an associate professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Aultman-Hall teaches transportation planning and traffic safety. Her research interests include tailpipe emissions, traffic safety (bicyclists, young drivers, older drivers), freight transportation planning, transportation network robustness, and travel behavior, especially route choice. Dr. Aultman-Hall's work is currently funded by the National Science Foundation, New England Transportation Consortium, the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the New England University Transportation Center.