APPENDIX C
ANALYSIS OF THE CMAQ DATABASE

Harry S. Cohen, Ellicott City, Maryland

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) maintains a database on all projects funded under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program. The database provides information on type of project, location, funding level, and estimated emission reductions. Currently, the database covers the first 8 years of the CMAQ program (FY 1992–1999).

The following are provided in this appendix:

  • A description of the database,

  • A summary of what the data show about the types of projects funded and emission reductions,

  • An assessment of the usefulness of the database for this study, and

  • Recommendations for improvements to the database.

The FHWA CMAQ database for each fiscal year provides the following information on individual projects in each state:

  • A brief text description of the project;

  • Project type;

  • Amount obligated for the project in the fiscal year; and

  • Estimated emission reductions in kilograms per day for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and particulates (PM10).

Text descriptions, project type, and amount obligated are provided for all projects in the database. As discussed in more detail below, estimates of emission reductions are provided for many, but not all, projects.

The text descriptions in the database usually provide an indication of where in the state the project was located and the type of



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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 APPENDIX C ANALYSIS OF THE CMAQ DATABASE Harry S. Cohen, Ellicott City, Maryland The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) maintains a database on all projects funded under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program. The database provides information on type of project, location, funding level, and estimated emission reductions. Currently, the database covers the first 8 years of the CMAQ program (FY 1992–1999). The following are provided in this appendix: A description of the database, A summary of what the data show about the types of projects funded and emission reductions, An assessment of the usefulness of the database for this study, and Recommendations for improvements to the database. The FHWA CMAQ database for each fiscal year provides the following information on individual projects in each state: A brief text description of the project; Project type; Amount obligated for the project in the fiscal year; and Estimated emission reductions in kilograms per day for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and particulates (PM10). Text descriptions, project type, and amount obligated are provided for all projects in the database. As discussed in more detail below, estimates of emission reductions are provided for many, but not all, projects. The text descriptions in the database usually provide an indication of where in the state the project was located and the type of

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 work involved. The locations may be specified in terms of a route designation, city, or county. Examples of these descriptions, selected at random from the database, are provided in the accompanying text box. Examples of Project Descriptions from the CMAQ Database Employee commute options—Bridgeport Land use ordinance demo Hawthorn Bridge—sidewalk improvement (CONSTR) Construction funding for park-and-ride lot at MD108/MD32 Hillsborough County video surveillance system Additional design cost for grade-separated interchange Roadway/geometric/signal improvements City of Wilmington signals US-17N in Myrtle Beach, closed-loop signal system Purchase of 40 large passenger buses SORTA FY 1995 Clean Air Fare Subsidy With regard to project type classifications, the program guidance document (FHWA 1992, 12–13)1 asks states to classify CMAQ projects as follows: Transit: construction, equipment, or operating expenses for new and improved services and parking for transit services. Other shared-ride: vanpool and carpool programs, parking for shared-ride services. Highway/road (traffic flow):2 traffic management and control services, signalization projects, intersection improvements, and construction or dedication of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. 1 The most recent program guidance (FHWA 1999, 22) adds two new project categories— public–private partnerships and experimental pilot projects. 2 In the FY 1992 database, these projects are referred to as “highway/road”; in subsequent years, they are referred to as “traffic flow.”

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 Demand management: employer trip reduction programs, transportation management plans, flexible work schedule programs, vehicle restriction programs. Pedestrian/bike: trails, storage facilities, promotional activities. Inspection and maintenance and other transportation control measures (not covered by the above categories). The CMAQ project categories listed above are broad. For example, “traffic flow” includes both the construction of HOV lanes and the retiming of traffic signals. Similarly, “transit” includes both the purchase of alternative-fuel buses and the addition of parking spaces at a transit station. States that have no nonattainment or maintenance areas are allowed to use their CMAQ funds for any project eligible for federal funding under the Surface Transportation Program (STP) or CMAQ. Also, other states receiving the minimum apportionment may use a portion of their CMAQ funds for any project eligible for federal funding under the Surface Transportation or CMAQ programs under certain circumstances.3 In the CMAQ database, these projects are designated as “STP/CMAQ.” States are required to provide the amount of CMAQ funds obligated for each project (or project category where groups of projects are analyzed together) for the year, disaggregated by the categories of projects listed above. However, it appears that obligations in the CMAQ database are not reconciled with the CMAQ program obligations from the Federal Management Information System (FMIS). For example, according to FMIS, total obligations for CMAQ in FY 1997 were $807 million. Total FY 1997 obligations for all projects in the CMAQ database were $773 million. While the difference is small 3 CMAQ funds are apportioned to the states on the basis of the population in nonattainment and maintenance areas multiplied by a weighting factor. The weighting factor is based on the pollutant for which the area is in nonattainment and its severity. All states get a minimum apportionment whether or not they have nonattainment or maintenance areas. Those states without nonattainment or maintenance areas may use their minimum apportionment for any projects eligible under either the CMAQ program or the STP. In those minimum allocation states with nonattainment or maintenance areas where the CMAQ formula results in less than the minimum apportionment, the funds may be used in addition to the formula amount for any CMAQ- or STP-eligible project.

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 (less than 5 percent in FY 1997), it would nonetheless be desirable to avoid publishing two different estimates of CMAQ obligations for a fiscal year. The committee investigated the desirability of using the FMIS database to obtain information about CMAQ projects, particularly programmatic detail. Limitations of that database, however, precluded this option.4 CLASSIFICATION OF PROJECTS The project classification scheme used in the CMAQ database was expanded to examine the composition of the CMAQ program in more detail and to link program expenditures with specific types of projects for which data on cost-effectiveness are available in the literature. The categories and subcategories are as follows: Transit Alternative-fuel vehicles Conventional fuel transit vehicles Park-and-ride facilities Station and bus stop improvements Transit service expansion Other transit improvements Traffic flow Congestion and incident management HOV lanes Traffic signal improvements Traveler information Turn lanes and other intersection improvements Other traffic flow improvements 4 A comparison of CMAQ data compiled from FMIS by the Surface Transportation Policy Project for FY 1992–1997 and FHWA’s CMAQ database for the same years showed a significant undercount for many project categories. For example, in FMIS, bicycle and pedestrian projects that are part of larger improvements never appear as separate projects in the database. Hence FMIS represents a serious undercount of CMAQ-funded bicycle and pedestrian projects. Similarly, transit projects are undercounted—43 percent for FY 1992–1997 in the FHWA CMAQ database versus 32 percent in the FMIS database for the same period. Moreover, since the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, no data are collected on transit projects in FMIS, a critical omission for one of the most important CMAQ spending categories.

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 Shared ride Park-and-ride facilities Other shared ride Pedestrian/bicycle (no subcategories) Demand management Employee trip reduction Other demand management STP/CMAQ (no subcategories) Other (and unclassifiable) Alternative-fuel vehicles Paving and sweeping to reduce PM Rail freight Vehicle inspection and maintenance All other improvements The project descriptions in the CMAQ database were used to assign projects to the above subcategories. Also, in cases where projects appear to have been misclassified, they were switched from one major category to another.5 In many cases, it was difficult to determine appropriate subcategories on the basis of project descriptions. For example, many of the project descriptions under “transit” were just the name of a transit agency or line. These were classified as “other transit improvements.” Similarly, many of the project descriptions under “traffic flow” were just the name of an intersection or highway. These were classified as “turn lanes and other intersection improvements,” even though it was possible that only traffic signal improvements were made at these intersections. COMPOSITION OF THE CMAQ PROGRAM Using the categories and subcategories listed above, Figure C-1 and Table C-1 show the composition of the CMAQ program for the 8-year period from FY 1992 to FY 1999. 5 Less than 1 percent of the project amounts that were originally classified as “transit,” “traffic flow,” and “pedestrian/bicycle” appear to have been misclassified. However, about 25 percent of the project amounts originally assigned as “demand management” were reassigned to other categories on the basis of the project description. Also, about 20 percent of the projects originally assigned as “STP/CMAQ” were reassigned to categories that were more descriptive of project type (mostly to “traffic flow” and “transit”).

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 FIGURE C-1 CMAQ spending priorities, FY1992–1999. (Source: FHWA CMAQdatabase.)

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 TABLE C-1 CMAQ Obligations by Type of Project (FY 1992–1999) Project Category and Subcategory FY 1992–1999 Obligations Millions of Dollars Percent Transit     Alternative-fuel vehicles 193 3.1 Conventional-fuel transit vehicles 800 12.7 Park-and-ride facilities 91 1.5 Station and bus stop improvements 302 4.8 Transit service expansions 456 7.2 Other transit improvements 937 14.9 Subtotal 2,780 44.1 Traffic flow     Congestion and incident management 508 8.1 HOV lanes 291 4.6 Traffic signal improvements 536 8.5 Traveler information 84 1.3 Turn lanes and other intersection improvements 295 4.7 Other traffic flow improvements 371 5.9 Subtotal 2,086 33.1 Shared ride     Park-and-ride facilities 85 1.4 Other shared ride 152 2.4 Subtotal 238 3.8 Pedestrian and bicycle 199 3.2 Demand management     Employee trip reduction 51 0.8 Other demand management 133 2.1 Subtotal 184 2.9 STP/CMAQ 338 5.4 Other (and unclassifiable)     Alternative-fuel vehicles 40 0.6 Paving and sweeping to reduce PM 55 0.9 Rail freight 23 0.4 Vehicle inspection and maintenance 264 4.2 All other improvements 94 1.5 Subtotal 476 7.6 Grand total 6,300 100.0

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 Together, transit and traffic flow improvement projects accounted for slightly more than three-fourths (77 percent) of CMAQ obligations during the first 8 years of the program. These types of projects provide benefits in addition to emission reductions, such as time savings to highway and transit users. Types of projects for which most of the benefits are emission reductions or energy savings—alternative-fuel vehicles, paving and sweeping to reduce PM, and vehicle inspection and maintenance—account for only about 8 percent of CMAQ obligations. Figure C-1 also shows the number of projects funded between FY 1992 and FY 1999 by project type. Slightly more than two-fifths (43 percent) of the projects were traffic flow improvements, but only one-fifth (21 percent) of the projects were transit related, compared with 44 percent when project value is the analysis criterion. The differences arise because the amount of obligations per project is not the same for each category. For example, in comparison with other CMAQ project categories, transit projects have relatively higher dollar obligations per project. Hence, transit represents a larger share of the CMAQ program when the program is analyzed by value of projects than when analyzed by numbers of projects. Trends over Time Table C-2 shows the composition of the CMAQ program by type of project for each fiscal year. This information is provided in graphical form in Figures C-2 through C-8. As suggested by the following observations, the composition of the CMAQ program has been changing over time. Transit Projects (Figure C-2) CMAQ obligations for all transit projects range from 34 percent in FY 1997 and FY 1998 to more than 50 percent in FY 1995 and FY 1999. These variations are due to the effects of a few large projects. In FY 1995, $76 million was obligated for the construction of a busway from downtown Pittsburgh to the airport and another $76 million for the purchase of rail cars for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s Market-Frankfort line. In FY 1999, $124 mil-

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 TABLE C-2 CMAQ Obligations by Type of Project for Each Fiscal Year Project Category and Subcategory Percentage for Fiscal Year Total FY 1992 FY 1993 FY 1994 FY 1995 FY 1996 FY 1997 FY 1998 FY 1999 Transit                   Alternative-fuel vehicles 0.3 6.9 2.9 3.5 2.6 4.3 1.5 1.9 3.1 Conventional-fuel transit vehicles 17.8 11.1 17.1 15.5 9.5 9.3 8.7 14.2 12.7 Park-and-ride facilities 1.4 2.5 1.5 1.2 1.3 0.8 0.7 2.1 1.5 Station and bus stop improvements 9.4 3.6 2.3 4.6 5.4 4.5 5.2 5.5 4.8 Transit service expansions 0.0 6.4 4.3 13.3 6.8 2.2 1.8 13.5 7.2 Other transit improvements 20.9 18.1 12.6 13.1 14.2 13.1 15.9 15.4 14.9 Subtotal 49.8 48.6 40.6 51.2 39.8 34.1 33.8 52.6 44.1 Traffic flow                   Congestion and incident management 1.9 5.3 10.8 9.9 7.7 8.0 4.6 10.5 8.1 HOV lanes 23.5 0.8 0.8 2.4 8.7 7.8 1.8 1.8 4.6 Traffic signal improvements 5.7 7.4 9.6 8.5 12.0 10.7 8.8 4.7 8.5 Traveler information 0.8 6.4 1.8 0.7 0.2 0.6 1.1 0.4 1.3 Turn lanes and other intersection improvements 4.0 2.9 2.6 3.2 7.0 11.4 3.6 2.8 4.7 Other traffic flow improvements 0.1 4.5 9.8 4.6 2.6 4.8 15.0 4.9 5.9 Subtotal 36.0 27.2 35.3 29.4 38.2 43.3 35.0 25.2 33.1

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 Shared ride                   Park-and-ride facilities 0.8 1.6 1.1 3.0 1.2 1.3 1.0 0.5 1.4 Other shared ride 2.1 4.0 3.1 2.0 1.6 1.7 2.7 2.5 2.4 Subtotal 2.9 5.6 4.2 5.0 2.8 3.1 3.7 2.9 3.8 Pedestrian and bicycle 3.0 3.0 2.2 1.5 4.0 4.9 4.4 2.7 3.2 Demand management                   Employee trip reduction 0.0 0.2 1.1 0.8 1.8 0.2 1.2 0.6 0.8 Other demand management 1.2 1.7 3.1 1.9 2.5 2.3 2.4 1.5 2.1 Subtotal 1.2 2.0 4.3 2.7 4.2 2.4 3.5 2.1 2.9 STP/CMAQ 6.6 6.8 6.3 3.5 5.2 6.1 7.9 3.3 5.4 Other (and unclassifiable)                   Alternative-fuel vehicles 0.0 0.5 0.8 1.5 0.0 1.3 0.6 0.0 0.6 Paving and sweeping to reduce PM 0.3 0.7 2.5 0.8 0.1 0.4 1.1 0.9 0.9 Rail freight 0.0 0.5 0.2 0.9 0.0 0.8 0.3 0.1 0.4 Vehicle inspection and maintenance 0.1 0.1 2.5 2.6 2.8 2.3 8.9 9.9 4.2 All other improvements 0.1 4.9 1.1 0.9 2.9 1.2 0.8 0.2 1.5 Subtotal 0.5 6.8 7.1 6.7 5.9 6.0 11.7 11.1 7.6 Grand total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 FIGURE C-2 Transit projects as percent of all CMAQ obligations, by fiscal year.

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 FIGURE C-10 Transit projects as percent of all CMAQ obligations, by region.

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 FIGURE C-11 Traffic flow projects a spercent of all CMAQ obligations, by region.

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 Turn lanes and other intersection improvements range from less than 0.5 percent of total CMAQ obligations in Region 10 to 12 percent in Region 4. Traffic signal improvement projects range from 4 percent of total CMAQ obligations in Region 10 to 12 to 15 percent in Regions 4, 5, and 8. Region 6 spends 23 percent of total CMAQ obligations on congestion and incident management projects. In most other regions, these projects account for less than 10 percent of total CMAQ obligations. HOV lanes account for 16 percent of total CMAQ obligations in Region 9. In other regions, these projects account for less than 5 percent of total CMAQ obligations. Shared Ride Projects (Figure C-12) Regions 1, 3, and 8 spend 6 to 8 percent of total CMAQ obligations on shared ride projects. Other regions spend 2 to 4 percent of total CMAQ funds on these projects. Pedestrian and Bicycle (Figure C-13) Regions 3 and 7 spend less than 1 percent of total CMAQ obligations on pedestrian and bicycle projects. Region 10 spends 19 percent of total CMAQ obligations on these projects. Demand Management (Figure C-14) Demand management projects range from about 1 percent of total CMAQ obligations in Regions 7 and 9 to 7 percent in Region 1. STP/CMAQ Projects (Figure C-15) Regions 7 and 8 spend 30 and 48 percent, respectively, of CMAQ obligations on STP/CMAQ projects. In most other regions, these projects account for less than 3 percent of CMAQ obligations. Other Projects (Figure C-16) CMAQ obligations for paving and sweeping projects (to control PM10) are 10 percent in Region 7, 5 percent in Region 8, and 9 percent in Region 10. In all other regions, expenditures on these projects are less than 1 percent of CMAQ total obligations. Regions 6, 7, 8, and 9 spend less than 1 percent of total CMAQ obligations on vehicle inspection and maintenance projects. Region 2 spends 10 percent of total CMAQ obligations on these projects.

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 FIGURE C-12 Shared ride projects as percent of all CMAQ obligations, by region. FIGURE C-13 Pedestrian and bicycle projects as percent of all CMAQ obligations, by region.

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 FIGURE C-14 Demand management projects as percent of all CMAQ obligations, by region. FIGURE C-15 STP/CMAQ projects as percent of all CMAQ obligations, by region.

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 FIGURE C-16 Other projects as percent of all CMAQ obligations, by region. EMISSION REDUCTIONS AND COST-EFFECTIVENESS OF CMAQ PROJECTS The CMAQ program guidance document (FHWA 1992, 13) also requires states to provide estimates of emission reductions in kilograms per day for VOCs, NOx, CO, and PM10. Table C-4 shows the number of FY 1992–1999 projects with estimates of emission reductions for each project type. Excluding STP/CMAQ projects, which are in states that receive the minimum apportionment, emission estimates for at least one of the four pollutants are provided for almost 70 percent of all projects. Table C-5 shows percentages of FY 1992–1999 projects with estimates for each of the four pollutants. Almost 60 percent of the projects in the database have estimates of

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 emission reductions for VOCs; however, only 5 percent have estimates for PM10. Table C-6 shows percentages of projects with estimates for each of the four pollutants by fiscal year. In FY 1992, fewer than 20 percent of projects had estimates for VOCs. In the next year, this percentage jumped to almost 60 percent, and it remained at about this level for the next 5 years. Similar though somewhat more erratic patterns are seen for estimates of the other pollutants. The units for reporting emission reductions in the CMAQ database—kilograms per day—present a problem in evaluating the cost-effectiveness of CMAQ projects. The cost-effectiveness of air quality improvement strategies is usually expressed in terms of cost per ton (or some other unit of weight) reduction in emissions. In fact, in the legislation calling for this study, Congress asked the committee to “assess the effectiveness, including the quantitative and nonquantitative benefits, of projects funded under the [CMAQ] program and include, in the assessment, an estimate of the cost per ton of pollution reduction.” Since project life (the period over which the emission reductions are expected to occur) is not given in the database, it is not possible to determine cost per ton reduced for the projects in the CMAQ database. To eliminate this problem in the future, it would be useful to ask states either to (a) report total emission reductions for a project rather than emission reductions per day, or (b) add information on project life to the database, so that total emission reductions can be calculated as the product of project life (in days) and emission reductions per day.7 Some problems were found in the treatment of those projects for which obligations in a given fiscal year did not cover the total cost of the project. For some of these projects, the estimated emission reductions were for the entire project, even though the obligations for that project in a given fiscal year accounted for only a small part 7 The second option may be more desirable because state implementation plans (SIPs) require information on estimated emission reductions in kilograms or tons per day. Thus, if an area wants to include a CMAQ-funded transportation control measure in a SIP and get credit, these data must be provided.

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 TABLE C-4 Projects with Any Estimates of Emission Reductions (FY 1992–1999) Type of Project Quantitative Estimates of Emission Reductions for One or More Pollutants Yes No Total Projects Transit 1,119 490 1,609 Traffic flow 2,207 999 3,206 Shared ride 550 190 740 Pedestrian/bicycle 469 231 700 Demand management 319 165 484 STP/CMAQ – 336 336 Other 265 234 499 Grand total 4,929 2,645 7,574 Percentage 65 35 100 Total without STP/CMAQ 4,929 2,309 7,238 Percentage 68 32 100 TABLE C-5 Projects with Estimates for Each Pollutant by Project Type (FY 1992–1999) Type of Project Total Projects Percent of Projects with Quantitative Estimates of VOCs CO NOx PM10 Transit 1,609 62.5 38.2 51.5 7.5 Traffic flow 3,206 65.6 35.7 40.0 1.1 Shared ride 740 66.2 38.6 52.7 6.1 Pedestrian/bicycle 700 56.7 40.3 46.0 7.7 Demand management 484 63.0 35.7 52.1 5.8 STP/CMAQ 336 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 Other 499 34.5 19.4 26.1 18.2 Grand total 7,574 59.0 34.3 42.3 4.9

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 TABLE C-6 Projects with Estimates for Each Pollutant by Fiscal Year Fiscal Year Total Projects Percent of Projects with Quantitative Estimates of VOCs CO NOx PM10 1992 182 19.2 18.7 14.8 3.3 1993 778 59.3 33.3 27.8 5.9 1994 980 63.3 36.5 42.7 4.4 1995 1,072 61.8 41.1 44.9 5.0 1996 1,258 56.7 29.7 35.1 4.0 1997 1,178 63.2 37.0 50.4 5.6 1998 1,052 58.2 33.6 45.3 5.5 1999 1,074 58.1 31.8 51.3 4.7 All Years 7,574 59.0 34.3 42.3 4.9 of the cost of the project.8 This problem can lead to an underestimate of cost per ton of pollution reduced. To eliminate this problem in the future, it would be useful if the total cost of a project were included in the database (including costs in all years whether covered by CMAQ or other funding sources), along with CMAQ obligations for the project in the fiscal year. The analysis requirements in the CMAQ program guidance for projecting emission reductions are very flexible. States are not required to use a specific methodology in estimating emission reductions. Further, states are not required to provide documentation of key input factors (e.g., reductions of vehicle miles or changes in emission rates) used in developing estimates of emission reductions. As a result, users of the CMAQ database have difficulty evaluating the basis for estimates of emission reductions. Also, the lack of a standard methodology decreases the level of confidence for comparisons of emission reductions and cost-effectiveness across project types and states. 8 Many projects are implemented using CMAQ funds from more than one fiscal year. Frequently, these projects appear in the CMAQ databases for different years with identical estimates of emission reductions, even when the amount of funds in each year differs greatly.

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 SUMMARY AND AUTHOR’S RECOMMENDATIONS The following are the key findings from the review of the composition of the CMAQ program: Slightly more than 75 percent of obligations during the first 8 years of the CMAQ program have been for traffic flow and transit improvement projects. These types of projects provide benefits beyond emission reductions, such as time savings to highway and transit users. Types of projects for which most of the benefits are emission reductions or energy savings—alternative-fuel vehicles, paving and sweeping to reduce PM, and vehicle inspection and maintenance—account for only about 8 percent of CMAQ obligations. There are large year-to-year changes in the distribution of CMAQ obligations among different types of projects. The patterns of these changes do not indicate any clear trends. However, it appears that obligations for HOV projects are decreasing while obligations for vehicle inspection and maintenance projects are increasing. There are large differences across regions in the composition of the CMAQ program. For example, transit project obligations range from about 5 to nearly 60 percent of total CMAQ obligations, depending on the region. Traffic flow projects range from about 10 to nearly 60 percent of total CMAQ obligations, also depending on the region. Three problems limit the usefulness of the database in estimating the cost-effectiveness of CMAQ projects in providing emission reductions: Emission reductions are stated in kilograms per day, and project lives are not given. Accordingly, it is not possible to determine the total amount of emission reductions attributable to a project. For some projects in the database, it appears that emission reductions are reported for the entire project, whereas obligations in a given fiscal year account for only a part of the cost of the project. This problem can lead to an underestimate of the cost per ton of achieving emission reductions. Little is known about the data, methods, and assumptions used in estimating emission reductions. As a result, it is difficult to

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program: Assessing 10 Years of Experience - Special Report 264 compare the cost-effectiveness of different types of CMAQ projects in different states. To address these problems, it is the author’s recommendation that FHWA ask states to Add information on project life to the database, so that total emission reductions can be calculated for project cost-effectiveness analyses; and Report total cost for a project (including costs in all years whether covered by CMAQ or other funding sources), along with CMAQ obligations for the project in the fiscal year. FHWA also should consider ways of addressing problems due to inconsistent data, methods, and assumptions in estimating emission reductions, without imposing unreasonable reporting burdens on states. REFERENCES Abbreviation FHWA Federal Highway Administration FHWA. 1992. Further Guidance on the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ Program). U.S. Department of Transportation, Oct. 16. FHWA. 1999. The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program Under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21): Program Guidance. U.S. Department of Transportation, April.