Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from On-Road Vehicles in Midwestern USA States and Integrated Approach to Achieving Environmental Sustainability in Transportation

The Nation’s emerging need as reflected in the NEXTRANS theme is to address the impacts of high level strategic decisions and policies to boost economic growth, on the quality of life for people. In the transportation sector, this need translates into addressing the aggravating problems of energy insecurities and environmental degradation while maintaining the United States technological leadership and economic competitiveness. The transportation sector accounts for 30% of U.S. emissions that may cause considerable climate changes, if uncontrolled, impacting quality of life. 70% of all U.S. petroleum is consumed by the transportation sector most of it comes from politically unstable/sensitive regions of the world. There is a need to reduce external dependency on petroleum by increasing fuel efficiencies in vehicles, using alternative fuels, harnessing indigenous sources and encouraging changes in travel habits leading to fuel or energy conservation. As innovations are being sought in developing next generation transportation technologies and achieving energy efficiencies, it is imperative that we must ensure environmental sustainability of these solutions and ascertain holistic improvements to the quality of life. The authors proposed to monitor changes in climate and environmental parameters with concomitant changes in technology enabled integration and other sustainability factors as envisioned in the NEXTRANS center theme. Two project objectives - one technical and one educational - were laid out in this project. The technical objective was to assess current inventory of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the six Midwestern states of the nation and to estimate improvements as technology enabled sustainable solutions are adopted with the use of alternative fuels. The technical objective was combined with the educational objective that focused on bringing awareness of transportation among middle school and high school students, training undergraduate students in sustainable transportation through curriculum enhancements and summer undergraduate research at the NEXTRANS center. As a first step, an inventory of current GHG including CO₂, N₂O and CH₄ emissions across six states in the U.S. Midwest (Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota) from on-road vehicles were attempted as a baseline to monitor impacts from the existing traffic data and the emission models such as Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) model and The Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model. This baseline inventory was used in comparative analysis in studying impact of alternative fuels for on-road vehicles. This helps in developing sustainability and green solution in transportation. Sustainability of transportation solutions also demands social equity and accessibility. It is known that underserved populations live in neighborhoods in close proximity to areas that are most affected by air pollution. However, their representation in transportation industry workforce, involvement in research and development, or accessibility to education, particularly in transportation or environmental engineering is limited. Central State University (CeSU) contributed to increase the diversity in the workforce development through involving its students in transportation related academic training/research in environmental engineering. Students participated in the center’s research activities at CeSU and at NEXTRANS partner institution, Purdue University and also at ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) through internship. CeSU also engaged in serving underserved populations through its successful summer transportation institute (STI). The proposed study was thus aligned with transportation “Links to Energy Security, Environment and Climate Change” of NEXTRANS center.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 19p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01628894
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NEXTRANS Project No. 136CESTY2.1
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC05
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2017 4:49PM