University of New Mexico
Assistant Professor | Civil Engineering
Fine Particulate Matter from Vehicle Emissions - Los Angeles County Year 2003
This research has developed a method for applying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's AERMOD dispersion model to large urban transportation networks using a GIS. The new method allows for dispersion modeling to be performed on a region’s long range transportation plan by interfacing with the region’s travel demand model and a mobile source emission factor model. The result is a high resolution map of mobile source air pollutant concentrations which can be combined with population data and activity patterns to estimate population exposure to vehicle emissions across an entire metropolitan area. This information can replace aggregate regional emission inventories and help identify more sustainable, equitable, and healthy regional transportation plans.
A description of the first phase of this study and its findings is available in Transportation Research Part D: Transport and the Environment (link to published article)
This research project quantified the size and distribution of the U.S. population living near high traffic roadways. Living near high traffic roadways is associated with a wide range of dangerous health outcomes. With this in mind, the goal of the project was to investigate just how many people may live in places likely to pose health risks from vehicle emissions exposure. The study investigates population patterns across every county in the U.S. using block level census data and a detailed highway network describing traffic volumes. The study also investigated disparities in race/ethnicity and wealth in the near roadway population with the aim of evaluating environmental justice and equity concerns that have been raised by prior studies that focused on individual cities or regions. Furthermore, the study investigates the alignment of the national ambient air quality monitoring network with the near roadway population. The goal of this objective is to identify if the regulatory air quality monitoring network is likely to identify areas of high air pollutant concentration and population density along roadways. A failure to identify these potential exposure hotspots may preclude affected populations from federal regulations designed to reduce vehicle air pollutant emissions in areas with poor air quality.
A description of the study and its findings is available in Transportation Research Part D: Transport and the Environment (Link to published article).
For additional details about the study or findings for particular places not specifically described in the published findings please contact Dr. Rowangould.
This research investigates the efficiency of public policy directed at influencing the mode that goods are moved by (e.g., truck or rail?). The research focuses on how decision makers in public agencies use available data and models to guide decisions by conducting a case study of California's Transportation Corridors Improvement Fund (TCIF) program. The TCIF program allocated approximately $3 billion for infrastructure projects that would improve the efficiency of goods movement throughout California. Nearly $600 million was spent on efforts to increase the use of freight rail by funding improvements in freight rail capacity. The goal of this research is twofold. First is developing a better understanding of how current data and models are used in practice by public agencies for making goods movement decisions. Second, given current constraints on goods movement data (mostly held by private firms) and models, this research aims to identify the most efficient public policies for ensuring the optimal distribution of goods movement by mode.
Complete study results are available in a paper published in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice (Link to published article)
This research is investigating how effective investments in bicycle infrastructure (e.g., bicycle paths and bicycle lanes) has been at decreasing roadway congestion, exposure to toxic air pollutants, and emission of greenhouse gases. The first phase of this study was conducted in cooperation with the Mid Region Council of Governments in spring 2013. The study asked cyclists who regularly use multi-use paths in and around Albuquerque, NM how they would have traveled if the paths they were using did not exist. Initial results indicate that most would continue to ride their bikes along alternative routes but a significant number would have drove their cars. The next phase of the study will consider how provision of multi-use paths in the Albuquerque region has affected traffic congestion and air pollutant emissions.