The National Academies

NCHRP 25-46 [Final]

Deploying Clean Truck Freight Strategies

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Research Agency: ICF
Principal Investigator: Lou Browning
Effective Date: 6/10/2014
Completion Date: 5/15/2017
Comments: Published as NCHRP Report 862

Freight volumes are expected to increase in the future, while at the same time, air quality regulations are becoming more stringent. Truck freight movements generate a significant amount of transportation greenhouse gas and particulate emissions. States and MPOs will need to look more closely at reducing truck freight emissions through emissions and fuel-reduction technologies, operational changes, and infrastructure investments, in order to meet new air quality standards. In addition, large freight -generating facilities such as medical centers, universities, airports, and convention centers need to understand how they can conduct their activities in ways that can mitigate the negative impacts of truck freight on air quality. While emissions-reduction technologies for heavy-duty diesel trucks are available, adoption rates have been slow and emerging technologies have not been adequately tested. Research is needed to understand (1) the emissions- and fuel-reduction technologies available, (2) the challenges to wider adoption of those technologies, (3) where these technologies best fit diverse geography and efficient supply-chain needs, and (4) the potential emissions reductions. In addition, operational changes and infrastructure investments, whether combined with technologies or on their own, could make significant impacts on truck freight emissions and fuel usage.  With this understanding, research is then needed to encourage the best use of the technological, operational, and infrastructure investment alternatives that mitigate truck freight impacts on criteria air pollutants, fuel efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions.

The objective of this research is to develop a guide that assists in the potential deployment of fuel-efficient and low-emission truck freight strategies. The guide shall include an analytical tool that provides decisionmakers with a means to identify and evaluate appropriate strategies, alone or in combination. The strategies shall include various cost-effective technologies, operational changes, and infrastructure investments that can be deployed at the state, regional, and local levels.
Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.
(1). Hold a kick-off conference call with NCHRP soon after delivering the agency’s amplified work plan as required by NCHRP procedures. (2). Identify and discuss existing and emerging emissions-reduction technologies, and applicable operational changes and infrastructure investments in the United States and Canada. (3). Interview a broad cross section of state DOTs, MPOs, and ports to gather detailed examples of their efforts to reduce emissions from truck freight operations. (4). Conduct in-depth interviews with 20 motor carriers in various operational environments who have adopted emissions- or fuel-reduction technologies to determine their decision-making processes and lessons learned. (5). Prepare a technical memorandum summarizing the results of Task 1 through 4 and a list of proposed attendees for the Task 11 workshop.(6). Conduct a conference call with NCHRP to discuss the Task 5 technical memorandum. (7). Propose an analytical tool for selecting and applying strategies that promote fuel-efficient and low-emission freight truck movements. The tool should consider, but not be limited to: (1) operational characteristics by truck type and markets served; (2) land-use and zoning implications; (3) financial and regulatory conditions; (4) air quality (criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions); and (5) environmental justice considerations.  (8). Identify 10 potential truck freight case studies to test the analytical tool for identifying (1) fuel-efficient and low-emission technologies, operational changes, and infrastructure investments, and (2) the strategies needed for deployment. These case studies should represent diverse geographic locations and operational characteristics. The NCHRP panel will select 5 case studies for testing.(9). Conduct the 5 approved case studies.(10). Prepare a draft guide and analytical tool that assists in the identification and evaluation of cost-effective technologies, operational changes, and infrastructure investments for fuel-efficient and low-emission truck freight movements.(11). Conduct a 1-day stakeholder workshop at the Beckman Center in Irvine, CA, to provide an in-depth review of the guide, analytical tool, and the 5 case studies.  (12). Based on the results of the workshop, revise the guide and the analytical tool. (13). Prepare the final deliverables that include: (1) a final report documenting the entire research effort and (2) the revised guide and analytical tool for identifying and selecting strategies for deployment.
STATUS: Published as NCHRP Report 862.  The report is also available electronically at  https://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/176904.aspx

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