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NCHRP Project 25-48 4 F I N A L R E P O R T NCHRP 25-48: Combined Interface for Project-Level Air Quality Analysis The increasing sophistication of models at each point in the Project-Level âmodeling chainââtraffic activity, mobile emissions, air dispersionâhave increased the number of configuration decisions, data inputs, and geospatial resolution options. Superimposed upon the complex analytics are requirements relating to model scenarios: build/no-build or âworst caseâ analysis. In response, the user community has developed a number of pre- and post-processing tools to support the input data requirements of each model type, including tools for migrating data from older models such as MOBILE6. These advances have introduced significant complexity to the process and created discontinuity. NCHRP 25-48âs objective is to simplify the process of Project-Level analysis while maintaining the richness of the underlying models. The product of this work must be a user-friendly tool that combines disconnected models through a centralized GUI, supported by intuitive wizards providing context-sensitive help, to guide practitioners through the process of conducting or reviewing a Project-Level mobile emissions analysis. (From the original project proposal.) Introduction This report is a summary of NCHRP Project 25-48: Combined Interface for Project-Level Air Quality Analysis, a software development project completed by Resource Systems Group, Inc. (âRSGâ) and Lakes Environmental Software (âLakes Environmentalâ) and commissioned by the Transportation Research Board (âTRBâ). The project is a joint effort to develop TRAQS (TRansportation Air Quality System), a user-friendly, GUI-based, software application that simplifies project-level air quality analysis of mobile source emissions by integrating the âmodeling chainâ components of traffic activity, mobile emissions, and air dispersion modeling. The sections below summarize the original project scope, workflow, and schedule. The software development process is described, including decisions made during development that led to the final features of the TRAQS interface. The final section discusses possible future enhancements to the TRAQS interface that could be implemented in later versions of the software as well as some of the user recommendations reported by a panel of beta testers during the final phase of development. Project Scope In September 2013, under contract to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), RSG completed an assessment of MPO and DOT capabilities to use MOVES (The U.S. EPAâs MOtor Vehicle Emission Simulator). That effort sought to recommend new training, tools, and datasets to advance agency capabilities in mobile emissions analyses. Among the recommendations, gathered from extensive stakeholder outreach, was the development of a Graphical User Interface (GUI) to facilitate Project-Level analysis. The research conducted for this project directly meets this need. During the project, a Stakeholder Outreach Group (SOG) was formed, consisting of professionals engaged in mobile air quality analysis. The Stakeholder Outreach Group was drawn from the organizations listed in
NCHRP Project 25-48 5 Appendix A, along with members of the NCHRP 25-48 panel. The SOG was instrumental in identifying and prioritizing the key features of the software. In addition, the final software product, referred to as âTRAQSâ (Transportation-Air Quality System) was beta tested by 8 professionals during September â November 2016. Project Objective The release of numerous new and updated interagency regulatory guidance documents demonstrates the recent advancements in mobile emissions modeling since 2010 (Table 1). The increasing sophistication of models at each point in the Project-Level âmodeling chainâ â traffic activity, mobile emissions, air dispersion â have increased the number of configuration decisions, data inputs, and geospatial resolution options. In response, the user community has developed a number of pre- and post-processing tools to support the input data requirements of each model type. These advances have introduced significant complexity to conducting a Project-Level mobile emissions analysis. The objective of this project was to simplify the process of Project-Level analysis while maintaining the richness of the underlying models. The successful outcome of this project is the successful completion and delivery of TRAQS â an easy-to-use software interface that enables analysts to conduct a Project-Level air quality analysis from start to finish. Table 1. Project-Level Emissions Analysis Guidance Documents & Software GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS & SOFTWARE RELEASE DATE Transportation Conformity Guidance for Quantitative Hot-spot Analyses in PM2.5 and PM10 Nonattainment and Maintenance Areas (EPA-420-B-15-084) November 2015 Using MOVES2014 in Project-Level Carbon Monoxide Analyses (EPA-420-B-15-028) March 2015 Policy Guidance on the Use of MOVES2014 and Subsequent Minor Revisions for State Implementation Plan Development, Transportation Conformity, and Other Purposes (EPA- 420-B-14-008) July 2014 Using MOVES to Prepare Emission Inventories in State Implementation Plans and Transportation Conformity: Technical Guidance for MOVES2010, 2010a and 2010b (EPA- 420-B-15-093) November 2015 Using MOVES for Estimating State and Local Inventories of On-Road Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Consumption â Final (EPA-420-B-16-059) June 2016 US EPA AERMOD Version 15181 June 2015 MOVES2014a November 2015 EMFAC2014 May 2015
NCHRP Project 25-48 6 Project Structure and Workflow The project scope comprised two phases. The first phase (Phase I) included preliminary planning by the Project Team to determine the design architecture of the TRAQS interface and gather input from stakeholders in the field of mobile source project-level air quality analysis. The second phase (Phase II) included incorporating stakeholder recommendations from Phase I into the development and design of the software interface while providing ongoing releases of the software for testing and review. Phase II also included beta testing of the software by practitioners in academia, government, and the private sector. Final software documentation is also a final project deliverable. The complete project scope is as follows: Phase I â¢ Developed the preliminary software specifications and design architecture of the software interface (Task 1). â¢ In Task 2, RSG convened the SOG who provided initial feedback on interface features; â¢ The NCHRP project panel was also invited to inspect the progress of the interface within the Task 4 development of the alpha version of the TRAQS interface. â¢ The SOG also provided Project-Level case studies for interface testing (Task 5) and beta test sites (Task 6). â¢ At the completion of Phase I RSG and Lakes addressed revised interface specifications, updated plans/costs, and developed an updated Phase II work plan. Phase II â¢ The Phase II portion of NCHRP 25-48 focused on developing, testing, improving, and revising the software interface. Lakes Environmental lead interface development in Task 4. Software development incorporated internal team bi-weekly Software Inspection meetings and five webinars with selected SOG members who provided ongoing review of the GUI and set interim software development goals. â¢ RSG conducted extensive testing of the interface in Task 5 to ensure consistency of results across multiple data input scenarios. â¢ Based on responses to the user outreach conducted in Task 2, the team selected practitioners as beta testers of the new software interface (Task 6). â¢ RSG managed the user documentation/reaction of this phase. â¢ Lakes Environmental made necessary modifications to the software based on beta testing and feedback. â¢ Finally, both firms collaborated to deliver the final project deliverables (Task 7): 1. TRAQS software installation package 2. User Manual 3. Final project report (this document), including suggested improvements to TRAQS 4. Training Materials