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Estimated Research Program Cost and Criteria for Effective Management

As demonstrated in previous chapters, mitigation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted and conservation of energy used in transportation will most likely have to involve more than vehicles and fuels if society commits to 60 to 80 percent reductions in transportation GHG emissions by 2050. Legislation introduced in both the House and the Senate in 2009 implies substantial reductions in transportation GHG emissions. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Waxman’s and Congressman Markey’s proposed bill (H.R. 2454) passed the House of Representatives in June 2009. It would establish a carbon cap-and-trade program, encourage introduction of electric vehicles, require Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation of GHG emissions from heavy-duty transportation vehicles, and require states and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to follow EPA’s guidance in setting targets and planning for reductions in transportation GHG emissions. The bill establishes a goal of reducing GHG emissions by 83 percent from overall 2005 levels by 2050. The legislation does not set transportation-specific requirements, but it requires EPA to set transportation GHG emission reduction targets that states and MPOs should meet. In addition, it outlines a variety of transportation mitigation efforts that states and MPOs could analyze and that regions could implement in pursuing their own GHG emission reduction goals. Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Boxer and Senator Kerry unveiled a bill in October 2009 that has similar provisions.

The surface transportation reauthorization bill introduced in the House of Representatives by Chairman Oberstar of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has planning and target-setting goals that mirror those of Waxman–Markey. The surface transportation reauthorization



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5 Estimated Research Program Cost and Criteria for Effective Management As demonstrated in previous chapters, mitigation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted and conservation of energy used in transportation will most likely have to involve more than vehicles and fuels if society com- mits to 60 to 80 percent reductions in transportation GHG emissions by 2050. Legislation introduced in both the House and the Senate in 2009 implies substantial reductions in transportation GHG emissions. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Waxman’s and Congress- man Markey’s proposed bill (H.R. 2454) passed the House of Represen- tatives in June 2009. It would establish a carbon cap-and-trade program, encourage introduction of electric vehicles, require Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation of GHG emissions from heavy- duty transportation vehicles, and require states and metropolitan plan- ning organizations (MPOs) to follow EPA’s guidance in setting targets and planning for reductions in transportation GHG emissions. The bill establishes a goal of reducing GHG emissions by 83 percent from overall 2005 levels by 2050. The legislation does not set transportation-specific requirements, but it requires EPA to set transportation GHG emission reduction targets that states and MPOs should meet. In addition, it out- lines a variety of transportation mitigation efforts that states and MPOs could analyze and that regions could implement in pursuing their own GHG emission reduction goals. Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Boxer and Senator Kerry unveiled a bill in October 2009 that has similar provisions. The surface transportation reauthorization bill introduced in the House of Representatives by Chairman Oberstar of the Transportation and Infra- structure Committee has planning and target-setting goals that mirror those of Waxman–Markey. The surface transportation reauthorization 79

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80 A Research Program for Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change and Conserving Energy bill introduced by Chairman Rockefeller of the Senate Commerce, Trans- portation, and Science Committee and Senator Lautenberg (S. 1036) calls for annual reductions in per capita vehicle miles of travel, a 40 percent reduction in transportation GHG emissions by 2030, increased use of public transportation, and an increase of 10 percent in the proportion of freight moved on nonhighway modes. In addition, various states have adopted plans to reduce future vehicle miles of travel. As described in Chapter 3, the effectiveness, costs, feasibility, and acceptability of most strategies to mitigate transportation GHG emis- sions have not been established. Because travel and economic growth are tightly linked, implementing the most cost-effective mitigation policies would help minimize reductions in future prosperity. The federal gov- ernment, states, MPOs, cities, and counties will all set transportation policies. Thus, the audience for transportation policy guidance is large and diffuse. The research areas identified in Chapter 3 would provide guidance for policy decisions at all levels of government. The climate will continue to change for decades because of GHGs already in the atmosphere. Therefore, well-designed adaptation to climate change needs to begin. The infrastructure capital costs of raising or replac- ing bridges, roads, and guideways vulnerable to flooding, for example, are high, and climate impacts at the spatial and temporal scales that trans- portation officials require cannot be predicted. The recommendations in Chapter 4 provide a framework for conducting research that can guide decisions about effective transportation adaptation strategies. RESEARCH PROGRAM COST The committee believes that the urgency of responding to energy and cli- mate change goals requires initiation of the research identified in previ- ous chapters in short order. The technical information to inform policy decisions and practice could be significantly enhanced over the course of the next surface transportation authorization cycle, although at least two such cycles would likely be required to complete the envisioned funda- mental and applied research. Some of the recommended research will probably need to continue on a regular basis, much as safety, operations, and other subjects are ongoing topics of research.

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Estimated Research Program Cost and Criteria for Effective Management 81 The committee was charged with developing approximate costs of the research programs it recommends. As a first step in developing these esti- mates, the committee asked each of the commissioned paper authors to develop a “bottoms up” estimate derived from the research topics the authors’ recommended and their judgment as experienced researchers and research managers.1 The committee relied on these estimates, in part, and applied its judgment, as explained below. As indicated in Chapters 3 and 4, the topics suggested for research are examples of areas where facts are unknown or in dispute or the commit- tee judges that genuine progress in understanding can be made. A rigor- ous cost estimate would have required more detailed research road maps than the committee had the time or resources to develop. There is a com- pelling need to initiate research and analysis to provide the best possible guidance for policy makers based on existing literature, available data, and professional judgment. The committee believes that this cost can be reasonably approximated on the basis of previous experience. Estimates of the cost of the fundamental mitigation research and the applied adaptation research are necessarily more speculative. The com- mittee believes that scholars and experts will need to be convened to pro- vide guidance on the most promising areas. Nevertheless, transportation research programs are typically authorized for periods of 5 or 6 years, and progress in addressing climate change and energy conservation needs to commence as soon as possible. Therefore, the committee has expressed its judgment with regard to the appropriate scale at which to start these activities in the upcoming authorization. The experience that will be gained will help inform subsequent authorizations. Mitigation In the mitigation area, a program with two main components is sug- gested. The first, policy guidance and outreach, would initially provide policy makers with technical guidance for implementing mitigation poli- cies based on available research. It would also provide practitioners with guidance for analyzing and implementing mitigation strategies and 1 See the detailed estimates prepared by Burbank (2009), pp. 16–32 and Table 2; estimates prepared by McNeil (2009), Table 7; and those prepared by Whitty and Svadlenak (2009), pp. 117–119.

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82 A Research Program for Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change and Conserving Energy improving technical tools. These tools would initially be based on the best available information and would be improved as new information emerges from the fundamental research program described below. The committee has drawn on Burbank’s (2009) discussion of needed areas of research and her estimates of program costs, but it suggests a considerably scaled-back approach at the outset. She identifies a large-scale program of activity and technical assistance that would exceed $50 million per year. The committee suggests starting with a smaller set of the most critical policy research activities described in Chapter 3 in the section on policy guidance and outreach. The committee estimates that the five applied policy research topics in that section could all be completed within a total cost of $5 million. Outreach to policy makers at the state, regional, and local levels could be conducted for $1 million annually once new guidance had been developed; hence it would not gear up until the third year or so. Updating technical tools for practitioners would require at least $9 million annually, for a total of $53 million over 6 years.2 Thus, as a starting point, these activities are judged to cost about $60 million, for an average cost of about $10 million during the upcoming authorization cycle. Should this area be funded, a more refined estimate based on expe- rience and need should be developed before subsequent authorizations. A fundamental research program is recommended that would be modeled on the way basic research is organized and conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Burbank recommends a program of $50 million annually, but the committee believes that the existing research institutions would not be able to absorb this much funding pro- ductively at the outset. Instead, the committee recommends that fund- ing begin at $10 million in the first year, grow by $5 million annually for the second through the fourth years, and then level off at $30 million annually in subsequent years. The committee suggests that the first cou- ple of years of this research area be devoted to commissioning critical 2 The committee recognizes that this is a conservative estimate for the cost of improving techni- cal tools relied on by practitioners. For example, the committee that prepared Special Report 288: Metropolitan Travel Forecasting: Current Practice and Future Direction (TRB 2007) estimated that the federal share of investment needed to improve travel forecasting models and get them into practice would be on the order of $20 million annually, and this is only one of the tools where improvements would be needed by practitioners.

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Estimated Research Program Cost and Criteria for Effective Management 83 surveys of the literature and convening panels of scholars and experts. The most promising areas based on priority topics would be identified, drawing on those identified in Chapter 3 that are most amenable to advancing through expanded investment. The committee believes that $30 million per year is an appropriate scale of investment for fundamen- tal mitigation research at the outset, but it recognizes that this level of investment needs to be reevaluated toward the end of the first authoriza- tion to determine the appropriate level in subsequent years. Adaptation An adaptation research program is needed that would (a) summarize and build on existing knowledge to guide decision making, particularly in the area of developing decision tools for policy makers that incorporate prob- abilistic approaches to risk management, and (b) conduct applied research in the traditional areas of transportation programs (construction, opera- tions, maintenance) and for the revision of standards. The first priority for this research should be to develop guides to decision making based on existing research. Decisions about how to protect, move, or extend the life of existing infrastructure at risk from climate change–related damage could be both expensive and controversial. The risks involve uncertainties beyond those normally encountered in transportation infrastructure deci- sions. Tools to guide decision making that incorporate these risks and uncertainties are needed. In parallel, more fundamental research should be undertaken to improve these tools. Technical guidance at the opera- tional level is also needed. Stakeholders involved in building, operating, and maintaining transportation infrastructure need to be involved in the development of a detailed applied research agenda, which would occur during the upcoming authorization cycle. The identified research would be conducted during the following cycle. The foundational research, as rearranged in accordance with the sug- gestions of Chapter 4, would cost roughly $31 million over the first 6 years, according to McNeil’s (2009) estimates of the cost of each research topic (see Table 7 of her paper). During the initial 6-year period, expert and practitioner stakeholders could also flesh out the recommended applied research topics and develop a research road map with detailed cost esti- mates and schedules and a request that the program be funded in a second

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84 A Research Program for Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change and Conserving Energy authorization. Development of detailed applied adaptation research plans and individual project scopes would cost roughly $3 million. The applied research program could also begin work on revision of design standards and identification of best practices, with a combined cost of about $13 million. Over the first 6 years, these activities, along with supporting research activities 3 and administration, would total roughly $60 million, or about $10 million per year. In the second 6-year period, emphasis would be placed on the applied research topics based on a detailed program plan developed in the interim by experts and stakeholders and completion of the foundational research. The actual cost of these activities will depend on the development of the research program plan. Summary The committee believes that an investment of $40 million to $45 million annually over an initial 6-year period is appropriate in starting a research program of this nature (Table 5-1). During this authorization period the program will be able to provide initial guidance to policy makers and begin conducting applied and fundamental research. The guidance will be updated as research projects are completed, but such research will need to continue beyond the first authorization period. The cost of the program for a subsequent authorization will depend on the experience gained in the first round and the detailed research program plans to be developed. The committee believes that the research should be organized as a single program and given high priority. Because of the importance and nature of the research, University Transportation Centers should also be encouraged to fund transportation energy conservation and climate change–related research. The recommended program may appear sub- stantial but would represent only about 9 percent of all the surface trans- portation research programs of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). The decisions to be made with the information developed will 3 Supporting research activities are defined to include the information clearinghouse and dissemina- tion activities recommended by McNeil (2009) as well as the cost of travel for stakeholder involve- ment in development and review of requests for proposals and meetings to evaluate final reports.

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Estimated Research Program Cost and Criteria for Effective Management 85 TABLE 5-1 Estimated Cost of Research Programs ($ millions) Program 6-Year Total Annual Average Mitigationa Guidance and outreach 60.0 10 Fundamental research 130.0 21.7 Subtotal 190.0 31.7 Adaptation Research 60.0 10 Total 250.0 41.7 aThe mitigation research cost estimate does not include the cost of collecting travel data for research and improved modeling practice purposes. The cost of such data collection could be $300 million annually (see Appendix B). The estimates also do not include the cost of a mileage charging demonstration program (see Appendix A). involve costs and benefits of much greater magnitude than the cost of the research. CRITERIA FOR RESEARCH PROGRAM MANAGEMENT Three main interrelated themes about research organization emerged from the papers commissioned for this study and the committee’s deliberations: 1. Broad and diverse audience: Transportation system governance is decentralized, and it plays an indispensable role in the daily lives of all Americans. In addition, transportation has a significant impact on national petroleum imports and energy consumption. For these rea- sons, the audience for the necessary policy and implementation guid- ance spans all levels of government, private industry, and the public. 2. Need for stakeholder involvement: Stakeholder perspectives and inter- ests are diverse. Individuals at different levels of government, in indus- try, and in nongovernmental organizations have different kinds of responsibilities, and some of the measures to be studied are potentially controversial. Stakeholder involvement in the research programs needs to be broad and deep to ensure relevance to this diversity of interests. Relevance can be encouraged through stakeholder involvement in a research program and virtually guaranteed through stakeholder

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86 A Research Program for Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change and Conserving Energy governance of a program. (Involvement implies an advisory role, whereas governance implies a decision-making role.) 3. Need for credible, objective research: Because of the controversial nature of some of the topics and the differences in perspective of some of the stakeholders, the research program needs to be as credible and objec- tive as possible. Objectivity can be achieved by following the highest standards of scientific quality control: scoping of requests for propos- als by qualified research managers, open solicitation and competition for funding, merit review of proposals by peers, and peer review of completed research. The above themes can be reduced to two essential criteria for organiz- ing and managing the research: extensive stakeholder involvement and processes to ensure scientific rigor. To these criteria could be added an important aspect of research management: an ability to shift direction, reorder priorities, and reprogram funds as new information is gained. Finally, the programs must be accountable to the elected officials who provide the funds and the stakeholders who need the insights from research to make decisions. Stakeholder Involvement Stakeholder involvement may vary across the different program areas, as described below, but in each case it needs to be extensive. Expert and practitioner stakeholders should participate in prioritizing and selecting areas of emphasis, in merit review of proposals, and in evaluating projects as they near completion. Mitigation Policy Guidance and Outreach Critical in this area is the recognition that transportation decisions are made by policy makers at all levels of government—national, state, regional, and local—as well as in the private sector, and their views about priorities should be reflected in the research undertaken. Fundamental Mitigation Research Research to advance knowledge in mitigation would be best organized on the NSF model, in which requests for proposals are shaped by subject

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Estimated Research Program Cost and Criteria for Effective Management 87 matter experts, panels of experts serve as merit reviewers, proposals are openly solicited, and only the most qualified proposals receive funding. The panels would be mostly composed of scholars, but inclusion of some practitioners would be vital in ensuring that the research is relevant to people who must implement transportation programs. Adaptation In the foundational research category, a small number of research projects would develop methodologies that would be helpful in providing policy makers and practitioners with advice on how to inventory vulnerable assets and in making informed decisions about adapting infrastructure. Stakeholders should be engaged in selecting areas of emphasis, and they should participate in merit review panels along with subject matter experts and in peer review. Included in this area are fundamental research projects on adaptation that could be organized along the lines of the fundamental mitigation research described above. The planning for the applied adaptation research program should be based on extensive interaction with practitioners and experts in the rel- evant fields, who would help develop a detailed research plan, participate in merit review, oversee research projects as they are conducted, and help evaluate the research as it nears completion. Scientific Rigor The best practice in research management is to have open solicitations for the conduct of research, to rely on merit review by peers for the selec- tion of the best proposals, and to involve experts—and, in the applied areas, practitioners—in the evaluation of the research. Management Capability, Flexibility, and Focus By its nature, research, whether fundamental or applied, is a process of dis- covery. Often the most carefully developed plans will have to be adjusted as knowledge is obtained. Thus, research managers need the capability and flexibility to shift direction. Such decisions should not be undertaken lightly and should be predicated on extensive dialogue with expert and practitioner stakeholders, but the capability is essential. Highly detailed

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88 A Research Program for Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change and Conserving Energy legislative designations in the authorization of the programs could limit this flexibility. The committee also considered whether the various research pro- grams could be folded into the ongoing activities of the USDOT modal administrations. It concluded that such a decision risks fragmentation and loss of focus of the activity. Accountability If the programs are funded, they should be designed to be accountable to Congress and to stakeholders. The engagement of stakeholders in decisions to be made about priorities and in evaluation of completed projects will satisfy their accountability needs. To ensure accountabil- ity to Congress, evaluations at the program level should be conducted by independent third parties capable of analyzing research activities of this nature. The peer review should be conducted at least every other year, and reports should be provided by the evaluators directly to Congress. RELATED ISSUES Mileage Charging Interest in mileage charging as an option to replace or supplement the gas tax in funding surface transportation infrastructure and opera- tions is growing. Implementation of a mileage charging system would provide a pricing mechanism for road use on the entire network; this system could become an element of a mitigation strategy, whereby vehi- cles with low or poor fuel economy could be charged a premium over a base charge for road use. As described in Appendix A, several recent reports by congressional commissions and others have recommended a broad research and demonstration program to test the feasibility of this concept. An R&D program is needed that would inform the design and opera- tion of a series of mileage charging demonstration programs. The research would give policy makers information about how issues such as privacy, efficiency, public acceptance, and equity affect the design and implemen-

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Estimated Research Program Cost and Criteria for Effective Management 89 tation of a mileage charging program. It would also recommend strate- gies for addressing public concerns. Extensive demonstrations would be required to test alternative concepts and engage key stakeholders and the public in determining the acceptability of such an approach. Data The transportation field suffers from inadequate data with regard to sys- tem performance and travel behavior. Rough indicators are available, particularly at the national level, but they are less reliable at the state and local levels at the detail required for good decisions. If legislation that requires reductions in per capita travel at the national, state, and regional levels is enacted, better baseline measures of passenger and freight travel will become necessary. Most data systems designed to provide national statistics are only representative at the national level and sometimes at the state level. For regions to monitor passenger and freight travel reli- ably, larger and more frequent samples would be necessary. Further- more, if regions are to use transportation and land use strategies to reduce GHG emissions and energy consumption, the modeling needed to develop reasonable forecasts of travel and land use patterns and how they might change under various policy regimes will require much more extensive data than are currently collected. Because the United States is a large and diverse nation with more than 300 million residents, 250 mil- lion vehicles, and thousands of jurisdictions, data collection will entail considerable costs (see Appendix B). Such data serve many transporta- tion purposes; the need to address climate change and energy conserva- tion may serve as the impetus to make the appropriate level of investment in data collection. SUMMARY Transportation mitigation and adaptation research programs would cost $40 million to $45 million annually for the upcoming authorization. The investment would be worthwhile given the risks posed by climate change and energy dependence and the link between transportation, the economy, and the lifestyles of hundreds of millions of people. Many

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90 A Research Program for Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change and Conserving Energy mitigation strategies are possible, but not all are necessarily politically acceptable, likely to be effective, or good public policy. Because of the dearth of data and research in this area, policy makers do not have good information about which policies would be most cost-effective, feasible, and acceptable. The recommended research programs would begin to fill this gap but would not be completed within a single authorization period. The committee recommends that this research be given high priority and hopes that new funds can be found to fund this research as a single, unified program. It believes that University Transportation Centers should also be funding transportation energy and climate change–related research. The required investment for subsequent authorizations will depend on the experience gained and on development of more detailed research plans for a second authorization period. The organization of the research is as important as the topics and the funding level. The audience for the research is broad and diverse, as are the entities that would have to implement the results. Thus, extensive stakeholder involvement in the research program is critical to its success. Furthermore, because the topics are important and even controversial, the research should be conducted at the highest standards of scientific inquiry. The management of the research program should be capable of shifting direction as knowledge is obtained and should have the flexibil- ity to do so. It should be accountable to Congress and stakeholders. Mileage charging has emerged as a possible supplement to or replace- ment for the fuel taxes that are the principal sources of revenue for high- way and transit programs. Such a program could become a key element of a mitigation strategy by allowing for additional fees on fuel-inefficient vehicles. Prominent groups, including two commissions chartered by Congress, have recently recommended an accelerated demonstration program to test various technologies and engage policy makers and the public in determining whether such a system would be technically fea- sible and acceptable. (See Appendix A.) Collection of the data necessary to carry out the kinds of initiatives envisioned in proposed legislation would cost considerably more than the mitigation and adaptation research identified above (see Appendix B). Data collection would help governments in carrying out the planning

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Estimated Research Program Cost and Criteria for Effective Management 91 and analysis requirements in draft legislation and would make mitigation research much more successful. The committee recommends that Con- gress authorize funding for the collection of data adequate to meet the needs of federal, state, and local governments as they analyze options and plan mitigation strategies. The nation faces a challenge as important and complex as any national priority in achieving transportation GHG emission reduction and energy consumption goals through significant changes in travel demand. Trans- portation is deeply woven into the fabric of the economy and the daily lifestyles of Americans. Whole metropolitan areas, residential neighbor- hoods housing more than 100 million people, and mobility preferences have been shaped by decades of history and transportation, energy, and housing policies. The Interstates and other intercity highways have allowed industrial and commercial development to occur in areas with- out the advantages of a natural harbor or proximity to a rail hub. Because transportation is such a large contributor to GHG emissions and energy dependence, significant changes in federal, state, and regional transportation policy may well become necessary. Such changes will surely require difficult choices among values and desired outcomes. Adapting the transportation system to climate change will be necessary, and the high costs and levels of uncertainty imply difficult choices for policy makers. Furthermore, mitigating transportation’s impacts and adapting to a changing climate will be ongoing challenges for decades to come. The sys- tem built over the past century is too large, its effects too pervasive, and its economic significance too high for it to change quickly or easily. Investment in the research and data collection recommended in this report will inform the federal, state, and regional policy makers of today and tomorrow who will be confronted with making such decisions— decisions that will affect not only the feasibility and cost of achieving cli- mate and energy goals but also the future prosperity of the nation and the quality of life of every citizen. These decisions will have a better chance of leading to desired outcomes if they are based on the best knowledge science can provide. The cost of the recommended research investment pales in comparison with the importance of informing the best possible choices for the future.

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92 A Research Program for Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change and Conserving Energy REFERENCES Abbreviation TRB Transportation Research Board Burbank, C. J. 2009. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and Energy Mitigation for the Transportation Sector: Recommended Research and Evaluation Program. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. McNeil, S. 2009. Adaptation Research Programs and Funding. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C. TRB. 2007. Special Report 288: Metropolitan Travel Forecasting: Current Practice and Future Direction. National Academies, Washington, D.C. Whitty, J. M., and J. R. Svadlenak. 2009. Discerning the Pathway to Implementation of a National Mileage-Based Charging System. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C.