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State-of-the-Art Transportation and Emissions Model to Support Policy Evaluation

Cars and passenger trucks use significant amounts of fuel and emit air pollutants that are harmful to human health. Researchers at NC State, in collaboration with Arizona State University (ASU), have developed a new framework to accurately predict emissions of individual vehicles as they operate on a large road network. A new traffic simulation model, DTAlite, takes into account the second-by-second acceleration, cruising, deceleration, and idling of thousands of vehicles operating on the network. Within DTAlite is a new high resolution computationally efficient vehicle emissions model, MOVES Lite, that predicts tailpipe emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and carbon dioxide based on speed, acceleration, and road grade. The emissions model was validated based on comparisons to measurements made by NC State of 100 light duty gasoline vehicles. The new modeling framework allows researchers and policy makers to explore the effects of vehicle technology, emissions regulations, demand management, changes to infrastructure, and traffic control on energy use and emissions. The project, sponsored by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency STAR grant, was led byH. Christopher Frey of CCEE, Nagui Rouphail of the Institute for Transportation Research and Education, and Xuesong Zhou at ASU, with contributions from graduate students including Bin Liu, Shams Tanvir, Abseen Anya (MSCE, 2013) and Hassan Swidan (MSCE, 2011).


Vehicle emissions of carbon dioxide for the Research Triangle Park region predicted with new model


Sampling of tailpipe exhaust from a passenger car


A passenger car instrumented for field measurement of tailpipe exhaust emissions