Opportunity for U.S. EPA Technical Assistance: Travel Efficiency Emissions Assessment and Planning

The U.S. EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ) is seeking to partner with state, tribal, regional or local transportation and air quality agencies interested in assessing transportation sector emissions and exploring how they could be reduced through travel efficiency strategies.[1] This opportunity continues the EPA’s program of Travel Efficiency Assessment Method (TEAM) technical assistance and case studies provided from 2011-2018. The TEAM approach uses travel activity data for the analysis area, transportation sketch modeling techniques, and EPA’s MOVES emission model to estimate emissions with and without travel efficiency strategies chosen by the partner agency, so that their benefits can be estimated.  Agencies selected to participate in this project will have the technical support of EPA’s team of experts to help the participating agency identify and define strategies of interest, gather information, and conduct the analyses.  EPA will create baseline and future year on-road emissions inventories to compare the potential effects of the travel efficiency strategies to a business-as-usual scenario.

Planning Applications of a TEAM Analysis

A TEAM analysis has several applications for planning.  For example, a TEAM analysis can be used to inform decision-making related to regional transportation and air quality planning. TEAM analyses can also help support a state or local area’s effort to evaluate greenhouse gas targets. EPA is also interested in exploring cases where a co-benefit to a TEAM analysis would be to evaluate alternative travel modes (such as increased transit) that are considered in part to assist an area’s transportation system resiliency plan for climate related weather events.

A TEAM analysis can help agencies evaluate the impacts of emission reduction strategies that are not easily analyzed using traditional travel demand forecasting models.  The TEAM approach is flexible in that it can be used to prioritize strategies for further analysis in regions with sophisticated emissions analysis capabilities or be used as the primary analytical method in regions that do not have well-established data or methodologies.  TEAM can also be used to evaluate travel efficiency strategies at a variety of geographic domains, from statewide to the metropolitan and sub-regional scales, such as at the corridor level.

How to Get Involved

Eligibility is open to agencies regardless of their size, geographic scale of interest, or level of modeling experience. EPA is seeking letters of interest from agencies with:

  • A demonstrated interest in transportation-related emissions planning and analysis at the county, regional or state level; and
  • Availability of staff to serve as a contact point to support the TEAM analysis and collaborate with EPA.

Letters of interest should address the following factors

  • Reason for interest in participating – Describe state/regional/tribal/local policies, actions, or decisions that motivate the agency to conduct such analyses and collaborate with EPA on this project.
  • Availability of staff resources – Describe the qualification of staff available to collaborate with EPA for the project period, expected to run for approximately eight months from project initiation.
  • Interest in implementing travel efficiency strategies analyzed – Provide information about the travel efficiency strategies already adopted in the area; travel efficiency strategies your agency is interested in evaluating, if known; and/or the likelihood that your area could adopt one or more such strategies.
  • Interest in estimating aggregate emissions or scaling up emissions from multiple geographies using a consistent methodology – Indicate if this is an interest; it would be most relevant for state departments of transportation, and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) that have multiple local jurisdictions within their purview.
  • Availability of data – Describe the demographic, travel activity, land use, and transportation emissions data that can be made available for this effort.
  • Level of familiarity with EPA’s MOVES model – Describe the level of experience in using MOVES and the understanding of its data requirements, formatting and processing.
  • Level of familiarity with travel forecasting models and sketch planning tools. Describe the models and sketch planning tools the agency has experience with and the purpose for which they are used.
  • Information about existing regional collaborations – Provide details about the agency’s experience with emissions related planning and analysis in collaboration with other regional or state planning agencies, regional air quality boards, and environmental or natural resource agencies.

EPA will select agencies based on the letters of interest received and may consider other factors (e.g., geographic diversity) as well as those described above.  Additional relevant information can also be provided for EPA’s consideration, however, please keep the letters of interest to a maximum of 8 pages. Letters of interest should be submitted to Mark Simons (simons.mark@epa.gov) at EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality by January 11, 2019.

[1] Travel efficiency strategies are those emission reduction strategies that reduce travel activity, such as travel demand management (e.g., telecommuting, transit subsidies), public transit fare changes and service improvements, road and parking pricing, and land use/smart growth.

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