Assessing Scenarios for a Low Carbon Corridor from Northern to Southern California

Research Team: Mark Hansen (lead), Timothy Lipman, and Yati Liu

UC Campus(es): UC Berkeley

Problem Statement: Intercity travel spanning from Northern California (i.e., Sacramento through the San Francisco Bay Area) to Southern California (i.e., Los Angeles and San Diego) contributes significantly to carbon emissions. While there are numerous cost-effective and equitable opportunities to reduce or eliminate future emissions related to this travel, taking immediate planning and policy actions can hasten the transition. To guide short-term decision-making, a long-term vision for a low carbon corridor connecting Northern and Southern California is essential, encompassing low carbon aviation, high-speed rail, and road transport.

Project Description: The project will develop a set of five to six technically and politically feasible scenarios for future travel between Northern and Southern California with a focus on developing snapshots of the mix of travel services on this corridor in the years 2035 and 2045. Each scenario will specify, for these two years, the mix and approximate market shares of airline service, high speed rail service, and road travel. Furthermore, the scenarios will specify the penetration of low carbon technologies, including low carbon drop-in fuel, battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell, and hydrogen combustion in the airline and road sectors. Scenarios will be developed in consultation with the California Air Resources Board, the High Speed Rail Authority, Caltrans, the California State Transportation Agency, airports, airlines, and environmental advocacy organizations. Each scenario will be assessed based on multiple criteria, including capital and operating cost, technical risk, life cycle carbon emissions, level of service, equity, and employment impacts. Particular focus will be given to air service options. Based on this initial assessment, a set of two to three scenarios will be selected for further analysis. The down-select will be based on stakeholder consultation, informed by a briefing on the multi-criteria assessment results. Specific policy, planning, and investment actions required to realize each of these scenarios will be identified. Finally, the researchers will develop a set of recommendations concerning a future vision for travel along this corridor and near term actions and longer-term policies that will encourage the realization of this vision.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $100,000