The National Academies

ACRP 02-09 [Completed]

A Comprehensive Development Plan for a Multimodal Noise and Emissions Model

  Project Data
Funds: $200,000
Research Agency: Wyle Laboratories, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Tom Connor, Wyle Laboratories, Inc.
Effective Date: 7/7/2008
Completion Date: 10/29/2010

The social, environmental, and economic effects of noise, emissions, congestion, and delays from aircraft, highways, and rail are typically evaluated and mitigated separately. This fragmented approach can lead to incomplete environmental analyses and, as a result, inefficient expenditure of public funds. Environmental effects could be more thoroughly evaluated if a multi-modal analysis model existed. For example, multimodal analysis could reveal whether a transit-rail line built next to an existing highway leading to an airport would result in an increase or decrease in noise and emissions. This model could also facilitate a comparative cost and economic impact analysis of alternatives and mitigation strategies.
Although there are analytical models available to measure noise and emissions, the ability to apply these models in an integrated fashion across transportation modes does not exist; the ability to link impact measures with economic effects in a consistent manner is, at best, limited. As an initial phase in addressing this problem, research is necessary to (1) determine the feasibility of building an integrated multimodal model that meets the needs of the numerous agencies and institutions involved and (2) define the process required to develop that model. 
A multimodal transportation noise and emissions model would help to inform airport operators and policymakers charged with making decisions. The proposed model would facilitate an integrated assessment of noise and air quality impacts from combinations of transportation modes, assess the total costs and impacts, and assist in the design of mitigation strategies. This model would also provide decisionmakers with information to make more efficient use of federal, state, and local funds.
The objective of this research is to produce a comprehensive Model Development Plan (MDP) that will guide future development (by others) of a model to facilitate integrated quantification of multimodal noise and emissions, as well as economic analysis of alternative scenarios. The model that will result from implementing the MDP will consist of an analytical tool or set of tools in the form of (a) a “super” model (i.e., a single, inclusive model designed to address all desired components); (b) a tool that combines inputs and/or outputs of existing or new models; or (c) an alternative approach. Modes to consider should include aviation, rail, transit, maritime, and roadways. This research will define the process required to create this model, but will not result in the actual development of the model. The tasks included in this research will determine the feasibility of an integrated approach to quantification of multimodal noise and emissions, the form that this model might take, and the process required to create the model. Actual development of the model will be considered in the future, as determined by the outcome of this research.
The comprehensive MDP should consider potential applications and users, including an ability to analyze impacts from alternative scenarios and mitigation strategies. The model that will result from implementing the MDP should be designed for use by airport operators, planning and regulatory agencies, airlines, and other relevant stakeholders.

Status:  The final report has been published as Web-Only Document 11.

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