Computer models of the complex land use and transportation system must be accurate to be useful for planning policy decisions, but they also need policy-relevant metrics to measure how our travel impacts the environment.
Scientists Dr. Jennifer Jenkins and graduate student Anna Mika have added an important dimension to transportation research at TRC and its partners at the Resource Systems Group Inc (RSG). TRC and RSG traditionally use measures such as vehicle speed and total miles traveled to estimate tailpipe emissions. But Jenkins and Mika note that different land use development and land cover represent very different carbon sources and sinks and that land use planning and decision-making models must also take into account the way we develop land, and which land-use conversions we make. The carbon estimator model they are developing will incorporate this information.