energy efficiency. Further, it was widely accepted that new highway capacity was essential to the continued economic growth and competitiveness of major metropolitan areas.
These views are now being challenged. Some analysts and environmental groups argue that adding highway capacity will result in more traffic, higher emission levels, and greater energy consumption in the long run by stimulating motor vehicle travel and encouraging dispersed, automobile-oriented development. In addition they see continued highway expansion as antithetical to a more environmentally oriented and resource-conscious future that stresses the revitalization of older urban and inner suburban neighborhoods and supports transit and nonmotorized forms of transport.
These issues are part of a larger debate over the appropriate direction of metropolitan growth and the role of transportation in that process. This debate involves value judgments about the relative importance of mobility, economic growth, environmental protection, and energy conservation. It considers a broad range of policies, from investments in transportation supply to demand management and pricing strategies.
This study is focused on a more specific topic: the effects of investment in highway capacity on air quality and energy use in metropolitan areas. Its primary audience is metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), state officials, legislators, and courts with oversight responsibilities. These agencies and officials are being asked to meet the regulatory requirements of the CAAA by making judgments about the environmental effects of highway capacity expansion on the basis of their interpretation of the best available evidence. Energy issues do not convey the same urgency or require the same regulatory analysis, yet transportation 's increasing consumption of the nation's petroleum resources is of concern. To the extent that energy efficiency and energy use are affected by changes in traffic flow characteristics and travel volume from highway capacity expansion, these effects are considered in this study.
The purpose of this study is to review the current state of knowledge, evaluate the scientific evidence, and narrow the areas of disagreement about the impacts of highway capacity additions on traffic flow characteristics, travel demand, land use, vehicle emissions, air quality, and energy use. The state of modeling practice is also exam-