Environmental, Economic, and Environmental Justice Implications for Autonomous, Zero-Emission Heavy Duty Trucks in Southern California

Research Lead: Jean Daniel M. Saphores

University: UC Irvine

Problem Statement: Although most greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the logistics sector (which accounts for 5.5% to 13% of GHG emissions globally) come from road transportation (57%), the 13% contribution of logistics buildings is not negligible. The logistics sector also contributes substantially to local and regional air pollution, and exposes nearby populations to diesel emissions that increase their risks of asthma, heart disease, cancer, and premature death. The emergence of zero-emission, self-driving (autonomous) trucks provides a new option to substantially clean up logistics operations. However, the potential benefits of self-driving, zero-emission freight trucks have not been well quantified.

Project Description: This project will estimate the environmental benefits and the environmental justice implications of replacing current diesel freight trucks (especially drayage trucks) with zero-emission, self-driving trucks on the Southern California freeways that link the ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach to the Inland Empire. In addition, the project team will also explore how the deployment of self-driving, zero-emission trucks could affect the location, number, and environmental impacts of warehouses in Los Angeles County and in the Inland Empire.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $219,228

Project Partner(s): Southern California Association of Governments