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Research Projects

STATUS: Complete YEAR: 2022 TOPIC AREA: Sustainability, energy, and health Transportation planning, policy, and finance CENTER: PSR

Reducing Carbon Emissions from Student Commuting

Project Summary

Project number: PSR-22-01
Funding source: U.S Department of Transportation
Contract number: 69A3551747109
Total cost: $95,075.00
Performance period: 8/15/2022 to 12/31/2023

Project description

This purpose of this research is to improve the estimates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from student commuting, to develop a better understanding of the determinants of students’ transportation choices, and to explore students’ intentions and willingness to change their transportation behavior to reduce carbon emissions. The proposed research builds on a unique opportunity to work with USC’s Office of Sustainability to conduct a sustainability survey that includes questions about student commuting. Currently, there is a lack of student commuting data at USC and, consequently, there exist only very rough estimates of GHG emissions from student commuting. The proposed research will substantially improve the estimates of commuting behavior and associated GHG emissions at USC. The research will also review existing methods to reduce GHG emissions from student commuting at other universities and will determine the best methods and processes to reduce commuting emissions at USC. The study will further improve our understanding of the underlying factors that influence students’ transportation choices and assist in developing messages and incentives to change students’ commuting behavior to reduce GHG emissions. The unique aspects of this study are the combined analysis of student commuting and carbon emissions and the use of innovative multiattribute utility models to predict the effectiveness of nudging and incentives to reduce carbon emissions from student commuting. The results and insights of this research can be generalized to other universities and large organizations located in urban settings.


Detlof Von Winterfeldt
Professor, Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering; USC Viterbi School of Engineering
3650 McClintock Ave.
Olin Hall of Engineering (OHE) 310ELos Angeles, CA 90089-0193
United States
[email protected]