Estimating Emission Reductions from Travel Efficiency Strategies
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Air quality in the United States has improved over the years, as emissions control technologies have reduced emissions from all pollution sectors. Yet the transportation sector continues to be a major source of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the country. While emissions per mile traveled have decreased, growth in travel activity has partially offset those reductions, and presents a challenge to achieving and maintaining public health. For state and local planners, the ability to estimate the emission reduction potential of strategies aimed at reducing travel activity is critical to long range planning and programmatic investments.
“Travel efficiency” (TE) refers to a broad range of strategies designed to reduce travel activity, especially single-occupancy travel. TE strategies include:
- employer-based transportation management programs,
- transit improvements,
- transportation pricing,
- land use changes, and
- bicycle and pedestrian programs.
Over the past several years, EPA has supported air quality and transportation planning activities by developing the Travel Efficiency Assessment Method (TEAM). TEAM uses transportation sketch modeling, readily available travel activity data sets and EPA’s MOVES emissions model to estimate the potential future emission reductions from combinations of TE strategies.
EPA’s TEAM approach is applicable to a variety of strategies, accessible to agencies with varying levels of technical resources, and scalable to different sized areas, from a local project to an entire state. In 2011, EPA conducted a national assessment using TEAM to estimate emissions reduced if all urban areas in the U.S. adopted TE strategies. Since then, EPA has completed 12 TEAM case studies in partnership with agencies from areas across the country.
TEAM analyses can be used to produce estimates of transportation and land use demand and impacts. TEAM analyses can inform different types of planning exercises, such as:
- General plans, such as regional or area-wide land use, circulation, and housing plans;
- Area-specific plans, such as neighborhood or corridor level plans that assess transportation infrastructure needs or local land use;
- Comprehensive Transportation and Public Transit Service Plans, including expanding service to environmental justice and low-income communities; and,
- Policy analyses to evaluate programs, identify policies, and augment decision-making.
Case study agency partners explored many different TE strategies for TEAM analysis. Most often, strategies for analysis included transportation pricing, land use, and transit enhancements. The range of reductions predicted in the case studies was based on aggressiveness of policies/strategy proposed, as well as those already implemented in each area.
Additional key takeaways about TEAM, in general, and observations from TE specific strategies are captured greater detail in the following fact sheet:
- Travel Efficiency Assessment Method: Key takeaways from state and local case studies to reduce transportation emissions (PDF) (3 pp, 96 K, July 2020, EPA-420-F-20-042)
This fact sheet provides an overview of the body of TEAM work completed to date that includes 12 case studies and a national assessment.
This document provides a step-by-step guide for using TEAM to assess the potential of on-road travel efficiency strategies to change travel behavior and reduce criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. This document is intended for use by state, tribal, and local agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other interested in reducing transportation-related emissions. This document explores the process of selecting strategies of interest, estimating changes in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) using a sketch planning tool and off-model tools, and estimating the emissions benefits using EPA’s Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) model.
- Travel Efficiency Assessment Method (TEAM) User Guide Analyzing Passenger Travel Impacts and Emission Reductions from Travel Efficiency Strategies (pdf) (75 pp, 2.5 MB, September 2021, EPA-420-B-21-036)
EPA's Travel Efficiency Assessment Method (TEAM) User Guide Training Webinar (pdf)
(71 pp, 3 MB, August 2022)
This presentation, given in August 2022, explores EPA's TEAM User Guide, a document detailing how to use the TEAM approach for examining the potential for travel efficiency strategies (such as transit, road and parking pricing, land use changes, and bike and pedestrian infrastructure) to reduce emissions of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases. In this webinar, EPA provided an overview of the TEAM analytical process, the travel efficiency strategies included in TEAM, and a demonstration of conducting a TEAM analysis.
TEAM Case Study Locations
- (15 pp, 681 K, July 2020, EPA-420-F-20-035)
This report examines the application of TEAM, in partnership with the Capital Area Council of Governments, to estimate the travel activity, emissions, and greenhouse gas impacts of potential travel efficiency scenarios in Austin, Texas.
- (16 pp, 784 K, July 2020, EPA-420-F-20-036)
This report examines the application of TEAM, in partnership with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, to estimate the emissions, and greenhouse gas impacts of potential travel efficiency scenarios in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- Applying TEAM in Regional Sketch Planning: Four Case Studies in Puget Sound, WA; Champaign, IL; Lake Charles, LA; State of Connecticut (PDF) (65 pp, 7.64 MB, EPA-420-R-18-018, November 2018)
This report documents 4 case studies of the application of TEAM (Travel Efficiency Assessment Method) to estimate the travel activity and emissions impacts of potential travel efficiency scenarios. The case studies provide a useful planning resource for modeling and estimating greenhouse gas and criteria air pollutant emission inventories and calculating emission reductions possible from the implementation of future travel efficiency strategies.
- Applying TEAM in Regional Sketch Planning: Three Case Studies in Atlanta, Orlando, St. Louis (PDF) (81 pp, 946 K, EPA-420-R-16-009, July 2016)
This report documents 3 case studies of the application of TEAM (Travel Efficiency Assessment Method) to estimate the travel activity and emissions impacts of potential travel efficiency scenarios. EPA partnered with Metropolitan Planning in Atlanta, Orlando and St. Louis to apply the TEAM approach. The case studies provide a useful planning resource for modeling and estimating greenhouse gas and criteria air pollutant emission reductions resulting from travel efficiency strategies.
- Estimating Emission Reductions from Travel Efficiency Strategies: Three Sketch Modeling Case Studies (PDF) (76 pp, 2.5 MB, EPA-420-R-14-003a, June 2014)
This report documents 3 case studies of the application of TEAM (Travel Efficiency Assessment Method) to assess the potential regional emission reductions from travel efficiency strategies. The case studies offered an opportunity for EPA to provide technical support to 3 areas interested in exploring tools to assess travel efficiency strategies, to demonstrate the capabilities of the TEAM approach, and to evaluate its usefulness at the regional scale. The resulting report documents the process, modeling and analyses performed in partnership with regional planners from Boston, Kansas City and Tucson.
- Analyzing Emission Reductions From Travel Efficiency Strategies: A Guide to The TEAM Approach (PDF) (46 pp, 2 M, EPA-420-R-11-025, December 2011)
This document provides information and guidance for using the Travel Efficiency Assessment Method (TEAM) approach for assessing the potential of on-road travel efficiency strategies for reducing criteria and greenhouse gas emissions. The guide supports a preliminary evaluation of emission reductions for several travel efficiency strategies and combinations of strategies. TEAM uses regionally derived travel model data and other travel activity information, sketch-planning analysis and EPA’s Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) to estimate emission reductions.
- Potential Changes in Emissions Due To Improvements in Travel Efficiency - Supplemental Report: Analysis of Potential Co-Benefits (PDF) (21pp, 1.7 M, EPA-420-R-11-014, November 2011)
In this supplemental report, several co-benefits resulting from the implementation of on-road travel efficiency strategies or combinations of strategies (referred to as scenarios) analyzed in the March 2011 primary report are evaluated. The co-benefits from implementation of these scenarios include a reduction in health impacts associated with air pollution, reduced traffic congestion, reduced user operating costs, improved energy security, and reduction in traffic accidents.
- Potential Changes in Emissions Due To Improvements In Travel Efficiency (PDF) (84 pp, 2.5 M, EPA-420-R-11-003, March 2011)
This report provides information on the effectiveness of on-road travel efficiency measures for reducing criteria and greenhouse gas emissions at the national scale. The report describes an approach that uses regionally derived travel model data and other travel activity information, and sketch-planning analysis to estimate potential emission reductions from urban areas of varying size and characteristics. The results are applied to other urban areas in the U.S. with similar characteristics to estimate national emission reductions.
- Transportation Control Measures: An Information Document for Developing and Implementing Emission Reduction Programs (PDF) (42 pp, 6.6 M, EPA-430-R-09-040, March 2011)
This document provides information on transportation control measures that have been implemented across the country for a variety of purposes, including reducing criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases. The document describes the processes used to develop and implement the strategies and, where available, their effectiveness.
- Assessing the Emissions and Fuel Consumption Impacts of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) (PDF) (70 pp, 506 K, EPA-231-R-98-007, December 1998)
This study describes the types of modeling approaches needed to capture the short- and long-term transportation, emissions, and fuel consumption impacts of ITS deployment.
This section contains links to slide decks from public webinars highlighting the TEAM case study areas.
- Travel Efficiency Assessment Method (TEAM): Case Studies in Austin, TX and Pittsburgh, PA
This presentation, given in December 2020, explores the application of EPA’s Travel Efficiency Assessment Method (TEAM) in Austin TX, and Pittsburgh, PA. The presentation provides an overview of the TEAM process, looks at the scenarios selected, including various transit enhancements and transportation pricing strategies, and covers some key takeaways from the TEAM case studies completed to date.
- EPA’s Travel Efficiency Method (TEAM) AMPO Presentation
This presentation was given at the 2017 Association of Metropolitan Planning Association Annual Conference in Savannah, GA. It describes the application of EPA’s Travel Efficiency Assessment Method (TEAM) to assess the potential of travel efficiency strategies for reducing travel activity and emissions. The presentation includes preliminary estimates of reductions in Vehicle Miles Traveled in four different geographic areas – Seattle, WA, Champaign-Urbana, IL, Lake Charles, LA, and the State of Connecticut. The regions selected demonstrate how TEAM can be used at varying geographic scales to assess a range of travel efficiency strategies.
This presentation was given in an October 20, 2016 webinar describing EPA’s recent case studies examining the potential for travel efficiency strategies (such as transit, road and parking pricing, land use changes, bike and pedestrian infrastructure) to reduce emissions of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases. During this webinar, EPA and its partner agencies in the Atlanta, Orlando and St. Louis case studies provided an overview of the TEAM analytical process, the travel efficiency strategies each agency considered, and their potential emission reductions.
This presentation was given at the 2016 TRB Summer Conference on Transportation and Air Quality in Minneapolis, MN. It summarizes the application of the Travel Efficiency Assessment Method (TEAM) to analyze selected transportation emission reduction strategies in three case studies EPA conducted in partnership with Atlanta, Orlando, and St. Louis.
- Travel Efficiency Assessment Method: Three Case Studies
This presentation was given at a conference in August of 2014, and summarizes the three case studies EPA conducted in partnership with Boston, Kansas City, and Tucson, to assess the potential benefits of employing travel efficiency strategies in these areas.