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Informing Google Environmental Insights Explorer


Start: August 2019
End: August 2019
Client or funder: Google


ICLEI USA provided technical expertise to review city-level greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory data provided by Google Environmental Insights Explorer, a modeling tool which uses unique Google data sources to produce GHG inventory estimates for building and transportation sectors.  The insights pair actual measurements of activity and infrastructure with advanced machine learning techniques to understand how people use transportation, inform factors for scaling, and account for efficiency changes in emissions estimates.  

The GHG inventory data generated using the EIE tool only targeted a subset of the GHG inventory activity categories—transportation and building—and must, therefore, be combined with other data sources to create a complete inventory under either the U.S. Community Protocol or the Global Protocol for Community-Scale GHG Emissions Inventories (GPC). 

Project Activity

ICLEI compared the Google EIE estimated GHG emissions to those obtained from existing, commonly used community-scale GHG data sources, determining that the EIE methods would be useful to “upscale” locally sourced building performance data. It offers the ability to achieve greater completeness using uniquely powerful ways of measuring transportation and building activity parameters including:

  • Measuring transportation data on a continuous observation basis for increased reliability and availability
  • Capturing pedestrian, bicycle and pedestrian transit information
  • Providing information on building size (total floor space) and usage of residential and other buildings as useful indicators of emission changes.


ICLEI developed a technical review of the the tool.

Those Involved

Applicable for all U.S. Cities.

While the City of Boulder has collected robust vehicle count data for many years, we are excited by the possibilities offered by EIE to supplement our existing data sources and make the data collection process more streamlined and efficient. Additionally, the EIE tool provides the ability for cities to continuously collect data and recognize trends over time. Such offerings should allow cities around the world to more easily track VMT emissions and set new strategies to move to lower emissions modes of transportation.” – Kathleen Bracke, GO Boulder Manger, City of Boulder, CO (former) and Deputy Director-Transportation Planning, Boulder County, CO