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167403-1 Report Abstract

Sustainable Transportation: Conceptualization and Performance Measures

Josias Zietsman and Lurence R. Rilett, Texas A&M University, March 2002, 163 pp. (167403-1)

Sustainable transportation attempts to address economic development, environmental stewardship, and social equity of current and future generations. While numerous qualitative studies have been performed on this topic, there has been little quantitative research and/or implementation of sustainable transportation concepts. The main reasons for this are related to a lack of understanding of sustainable transportation and a lack of quantified performance measures. To address this problem, a comprehensive definition for sustainable transportation was developed, as well as a framework on how to identify, quantify, and use performance measures for sustainable transportation in the transportation planning process. The proposed framework was applied to a test bed, comprising two freeway corridors in Houston, Texas.

New innovations such as Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI) data and the Transportation Analysis and Simulation System (TRANSIMS) model make it possible to obtain travel-related information at highly disaggregate levels. This information can be used to quantify sustainable transportation performance measures at the individual level and levels of spatial and temporal disaggregation, which has previously not been possible. The AVI data, the TRANSIMS model, and a number of transportation environmental impact models were used to quantify the performance measures at various levels of aggregation.

The performance measures that were quantified on disaggregate levels were compared to measures that were quantified with traditional aggregate data sets. It was found that the traditional approach is much less accurate due to a loss of detail and the effect of aggregation bias. It was illustrated that the performance measures based on disaggregate data can potentially provide different results as compared to aggregate approaches, when used with multi-objective decision-making techniques in transportation planning. Finally, it was demonstrated that the disaggregate approach can be used to allocate responsibility for negative externalities, and to assess the sustainability as experienced by different user groups.

Keywords: Sustainable Transportation, Performance Measures, Disaggregate, Decision-Making, TRANSIMS, AVI Data

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 1.1 MB)