National Academies Press: OpenBook

Guide to Deploying Clean Truck Freight Strategies (2017)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Guide to Deploying Clean Truck Freight Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24957.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Guide to Deploying Clean Truck Freight Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24957.
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1 1.1 Purpose There are many different options for decision makers seeking to promote clean truck strate- gies. The sheer number of opportunities, however, can make it challenging for decision makers to determine (1) what are the most appropriate and cost-effective strategies for a particular site, corridor, region, or state; and (2) how public agencies can most effectively encourage the devel- opment of these strategies, given that the purchase and operation of freight trucks are controlled by private industry. The purpose of this research study was to produce a guidance document and analytical tool that will help answer these questions. The guide and tool will particularly help overcome two of the major barriers confronting public agencies that seek to encourage deployment of clean truck strategies: the diverse nature of the trucking industry and the limited information on emissions benefits. 1.1.1 Diversity in the Trucking Industry Trucking varies widely in terms of equipment, markets served, operational practices, and fleet size. Strategies that work for one type of carrier or market segment may not be feasible or cost-effective for another. Aerodynamic improvements, for example, offer little benefit to trucks that operate predominantly on urban arterial streets, because aerodynamic drag contributes minimally to energy losses at lower speeds. In contrast, hybrid-electric systems typically provide minimal benefits to long-haul fleets operating mostly at steady-state highway speeds. Natural gas offers another comparison, with liquefied natural gas (LNG) more appropriate when weight and range are paramount (e.g., long haul) and compressed natural gas (CNG) more appropriate for return-to-base, short mileage vehicles. Public agency staff may not be able to assess which strategies are the best fit for each segment of the truck freight industry. And they may not be certain which truck industry sectors operate within the agency’s sphere of influence and how public-sector actions can help promote clean truck deployment within those sectors. The guide and tool aim to provide this information, enabling decision makers to identify and evaluate clean truck strategies at different geographic scales and for different facility types. 1.1.2 Limited Information on Emissions Benefits The other major barrier relates to the limited information currently available on the emissions impacts of many new and emerging technologies and on some types of operational strategies. In some cases, the technologies are simply too new to have received rigorous emissions testing. Much of the current information on hybrid-electric trucks, for example, comes from vendors or fleets and focuses on fuel impacts, with little or no information on criteria pollutant impacts. Even C H A P T E R 1 Introduction

2 Guide to Deploying Clean Truck Freight Strategies if a strategy’s fuel savings are known, the effect on particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions is often uncertain. While less fuel combustion generally means less exhaust emissions, emission control systems may operate differently for hybrids or other advanced- technology trucks, so PM and NOx benefits may not be proportional to fuel and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions benefits. Moreover, in vehicles with very low tailpipe emissions, tire and brake wear can make up a sizeable portion of PM emissions, so these must be considered when estimating emissions impacts. The guide and tool will allow decision makers to quickly compare fuel, GHG, PM, and NOx impacts for each strategy. 1.2 Background Freight trucks have become significantly cleaner and more fuel efficient in recent years. A new heavy-duty truck today has emission rates for PM and NOx that are at least 10 times lower than a new truck in 2005, and 20 times lower than a new truck in the late 1990s. While gains in fuel economy and GHG emission rates have been more modest, today’s long-haul trucks are at least 20% more fuel efficient than their predecessors in the 1990s and earlier. Despite these gains, freight trucks are likely to remain a major focus of efforts to reduce emis- sions for at least the next decade. One reason for this is growing concern about the health effects of diesel particulate matter (DPM). The State of California, World Health Organization, and other organizations have identified DPM as a human carcinogen, and studies in Southern California suggest that DPM is responsible for more than 70% of air pollution cancer risk. Heavy-duty trucks are a large source of DPM emissions. Freight trucks are also a large source of NOx emissions, which is a precursor to ground-level ozone (smog). More than 40 metropolitan areas of the United States do not meet the national ambient air quality standards for ozone. And the challenge of complying with the ozone standard will only increase if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) tightens the standard, as many expect the agency to do. In terms of GHG emissions, heavy-duty vehicles are responsible for more than 40% of emission from on-road transportation, which is significantly higher than trucking’s share of vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Trucking contributes about 5% to total U.S. GHG emissions. Perhaps more impor- tant than the share is the trend: GHG emissions from trucking have been growing faster than any other major transport mode, as truck freight volumes have outpaced fuel efficiency improvements. These three developments—concern about DPM, challenges meeting the federal ozone stan- dard, and a focus on transportation GHG reductions—will continue to compel public agencies, as well as the freight industry, to pursue opportunities to deploy clean truck strategies. 1.3 Overview of Final Report This report serves as the compilation of the research team’s findings and documentation of the development of the guide and tool. The report contains a summary of the literature review (Chapter 2), a synthesis of the research team’s interviews with public agencies (Chapter 3), and a synthesis of interviews with the private sector (Chapter 4). Based on a synthesis of these findings, the researchers developed the guide and tool and solicited feedback from the NCHRP project panel, a set of case study pilot testers, and additional stakeholders. The report provides a brief summary of the stakeholder workshop convened to discuss feedback (Chapter 5) and the case studies developed based on the user pilot testing (Chapter 6). Chapter 7 contains a broad overview of the final guide and tool. More detailed technical and user information, including case study examples, is provided in a separate document, the User Manual for Clean Truck Strate- gies Analysis Tool. (The tool and user manual can be found on the TRB website by searching for “NCHRP Research Report 862.”)

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TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Research Report 862: Guide to Deploying Clean Truck Freight Strategies provides decision makers with a guide to assist in the potential deployment of fuel-efficient and low-emission truck freight strategies. The guide includes an analytical tool and a user manual to identify and evaluate appropriate strategies that can be deployed at the state, regional, and local levels. The guide will allow transportation practitioners to encourage the best use of the technological, operational, and infrastructure investment alternatives that mitigate truck freight impacts on criteria air pollutants, fuel efficiency, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Disclaimer - This software is offered as is, without warranty or promise of support of any kind either expressed or implied. Under no circumstance will the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine or the Transportation Research Board (collectively "TRB") be liable for any loss or damage caused by the installation or operation of this product. TRB makes no representation or warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, including without limitation, the warranty of merchantability or the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and shall not in any case be liable for any consequential or special damages.

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