11-03 Freight Shipments, Greenhouse Gases and Polluting Emissions: Implications for California and the U.S.

Project Number


Project Summary

Freight Shipments, Greenhouse Gases and Polluting Emissions: Implications for California and the U.S.

Project Status


Project Report



Topic Area

Goods Movement & International Trade

P.I. Name & Address

Emeritus Professor, Sol Price School of Public Policy
University of Southern California
650 Childs Way
Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall (RGL) 321
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States

Qisheng Pan
Texas Southern University
Department of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy
Hannah Hall, Room 334E
Houston, TX 77004
Phone: (713) 313-7221
Fax: (713) 313-7447

Jiyoung Park
State University of New York at Buffalo
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
3435 Main Street
Hayes Hall, Room 116
Buffalo, NY 14217-3087
Phone: (716) 829-3485

Project Objective:
Measuring greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other emissions (especially diesel particulates) is an increasingly important basis for regional policy analysis. According to the EPA (2010), the transportation sector contributed 27.2 percent of total GHG emissions in 2008, and 50 percent of these were from truck operations. This research focuses on measuring GHGs and other emissions (e.g. PM) from freight movements on highways in California (a prototypical example because of its leadership in air quality policy making). The research also takes into account concurrent economic effects of various regulation scenarios. In this way, questions related to sustainability, environmental policy, and efficiency in freight transportation are addressed.

The research will build the Freight Analysis Framework (FAF), an important commodity origin-destination database that provides information on interregional freight movements throughout the U.S. for 2002-2035. These data will be used to estimate the economic and environmental consequences of various regulatory and economic scenarios by applying TransNIEMO, an internally developed interregional trade model that involves an interregional economic trade equilibrium that is consistent with a highway network equilibrium. The estimate of vehicle miles traveled (VMT), in turn, will be used as inputs to the EMFAC2007 model to estimate GHGs and other emissions. It will be demonstrated that TransNIEMO can be an important bridge between the FAF data and models like EMFAC. It is expected that many of the other states will follow California's lead in developing and using models like EMFAC. The results will be useful not only for measuring GHGs and other emissions based on estimated freight flows, but also for evaluating economic and environmental impacts of policy alternatives.

Task Descriptions:
(1) Create plausible air quality target scenarios; interact these with plausible truck fleet scenarios.
(2) Develop plausible economic scenarios.
(3) Recalibrate TransNIEMO to add a trucking sector.
(4) Estimate cost effects for trucking sector or air quality mitigation proposals.
(5) Run TransNIEMO for various scenarios.
(6) Apply EMFAC to estimate sub-regional air quality effects.
(7) Compare air quality and economic outcomes and impacts – for the impacted states, regions and sub-regions.
(8) Prepare and disseminate reports and refereed journal papers

Milestones, Dates:
December 2010 - August 2011

Total Budget:

Student Involvement:
One graduate student at 25% effort, 12 months
One graduate student at 25% effort, 3 months

Relationship to Other Research Projects:
Related to AR 05-01, AR 06-01, 08-11, 10-26; part of the goods movement focus area

Technology Transfer Activities:
Project report will be posted soon

Potential Benefits of the Project:
Decreasing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions

TRB Keywords:
Environment, greenhouse gases (GHG), freight transportation

Primary Subject:
1p.1 To measure GHGs and other emissions based on estimated freight flows, and evaluate economic and environmental impacts of policy alternatives.