December 19, 2018
A recent collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed the RPC and the Champaign Urbana Urbanized Area Transportation Study in select company. CUUATS was one of only four agencies from around the country chosen by the EPA to provide critical data for a project looking at air quality and greenhouse gas emissions caused by transportation.
The CUUATS case study, part of a document published on the EPA’s website titled “Applying TEAM in Regional Sketch Planning,” looks at ways for Champaign County to realize a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions if certain strategies are implemented in the Champaign-Urbana region.
Looking for scenarios that would be effective at reducing emissions created through transportation, the EPA consulted with CUUATS to select strategies unique to Champaign County. CUUATS staff explored available data to support their strategy selection, and, in the case of land use strategies, conducted additional analysis to provide required data.
Over the past several years, the EPA has supported air quality and transportation planning activities by developing methods to quantify the potential emission reductions from travel efficiency strategies. They have worked with various state and local agencies like CUUATS to apply these methods in a series of case studies.
Similar to previous case studies, the EPA solicited letters of interest from agencies around the country interested in applying the Travel Efficiency Assessment Method (TEAM) approach in their local context and evaluating their selected strategies. Other agencies selected from the letters submitted were from Puget Sound, Washington; Lake Charles, Louisiana; and the State of Connecticut. The case studies in this report are the EPA’s latest in this field of study.
CUUATS carries out the federally mandated Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the current plan is called “Sustainable Choices 2040,” every five years and provides an annual report card to assess the area’s transportation system. The LRTP was approved in December 2014 and the next update will come in December 2019.
The EPA believes case studies like the one conducted by CUUATS provide a valuable resource to encourage other agencies to not only conduct similar analyses, but to ultimately adopt their own effective travel efficiency strategies to improve local air quality and reduce emissions.