Mitigating Exposure and Climate Change Impacts from Transportation Projects: Environmental Justice-Centered Decision-Support Framework and Tool

Research Team: Arpad Horvath (lead), Fiona Greer, Joshua Apte, and Jasenka Rakas

UC Campus(es): UC Berkeley

Problem Statement: The transportation infrastructure in California, from paved roads and highways to airports, railways, marine ports, and logistical distribution facilities move people and goods across communities, the state, and beyond. There are, however, significant environmental and human health impacts from these transportation systems. The full scope of those impacts is not just limited to their operational activities. All life-cycle stages of transportation systems, including their raw material production, supply chain logistics, construction, operation and maintenance, and end-of-life activities, contribute to the overall effects on climate change and the health of local communities. Using a life-cycle framework to map the environmental impacts from the existing transportation infrastructure and new projects accounts for all relevant sources.

Project Description: This report presents a framework to assess the life-cycle human health and climate change impacts from six types of transportation projects: (1) Roadways; (2) Marine ports; (3) Logistical distribution centers; (4) Railyards; (5) Bridges and overpasses; and (6) Airports. The framework was applied using an integrated model to assess fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, noise impacts, and monetized damages (Value of Statistical Life, Social Cost of Carbon) from two case studies: routine resurfacing and vehicle operations on road segments within the San Francisco Bay Area using 2019 data, and annual marine, cargo, rail, trucking, and infrastructure maintenance operations at the Port of Oakland in 2020. The results suggest that emission sources in a project’s supply chain and construction (material production and deliveries, construction activities, fuel refining) can significantly contribute to the full scope of impacts from transportation systems. Equitable mitigation policies (e.g., electrification, pollution control technologies) need to be tailored to address the sources that impact communities the most.

Status: Completed

Budget: $79,994


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