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Center Identification Number:  77909   

Project Title:  Developing a Framework for a Toolkit for Carbon Footprint that Integrates Transit (C-FIT)

Principal Investigators:

Sara Hendricks, Senior Research Associate
Phone: 813-974-9801

Edward Hillsman, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate
Phone: 813-974-2977


Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida
Fax: 813-974-5168


Amy Stuart, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of South Florida
Phone: 813-974-6632

External Project Contact:     

Amy Datz
State Transit Environmental Planner
(850) 414-4239

I.  Start and End Dates

Start Date:  February 2009               Expected End Date: September 2010

I.  Project Objective/Problem Statement

Research Purpose

This proposed project develops a framework for incorporating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and carbon footprints from transportation activities and services into five major transportation planning processes in the state of Florida.  The framework under this scope of work will focus on incorporating bus transit alternatives into transportation planning, and it will include guidelines and formulas for estimating emissions.  It will do so in ways that anticipate the need to incorporate other forms of transit (rail, bus rapid transit) and other modes (walking, bicycling, vanpooling) into the framework in future projects.

The scope of work will consider how reducing GHG emissions can weigh into the identification and selection of alternatives for transportation service and infrastructure.  These transportation alternatives are developed through several planning processes, both federal- and state-directed.  The premise of this study is that the overall increase or decrease in the amount of greenhouse gas emissions may vary considerably across proposed transportation project alternatives, including modes.  A process to generate comparative information on GHG emissions for bus transit alternatives can aid in the funding prioritization and decision making process for developing transit service.


In Florida, the planning processes of interest include Florida’s Local Government Comprehensive Planning (LGCP) process, which creates and implements local transportation and land development policies that are enforceable by code, and the Florida Development of Regional Impact (DRI) review process that is applied to individual land development projects.   Both of these processes steer later building decisions related to land development and transportation services and facilities.  Federal processes include Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements (EA/EIS) required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and air quality Conformity Analysis required through the Clean Air Act.  Regarding Florida’s attainment status, measured levels of ozone in several counties currently exceed the new NAAQS, which was made more restrictive by EPA in the Spring of 2008.  The federal government also requires urbanized areas to establish metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) that are charged with identifying and prioritizing transportation improvements.  These improvements are those that qualify for federal transportation funding and are identified in the MPO long range transportation planning (LRTP) process, and prioritized in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and the State Implementation Plan (SIP).  These planning processes differ according to the scale of the proposed transportation infrastructure under consideration.  For example, the federally required  air quality conformity analysis, the MPO long range transportation planning process and the Florida State local government comprehensive planning process deal with transportation infrastructure development at the system planning level, in which several alternative transportation system scenarios over a long range time horizon are considered.  The other two planning processes, both the Federal NEPA EA/EIS and the Florida State DRI processes, address the impacts of individual transportation and land development projects, and also evaluate alternative scenarios.

Presently there are no federal air quality standards for the primary greenhouse gas, CO2.  However, some states are forging ahead with consideration for figuring greenhouse gas emissions into transportation planning processes, including California and Florida.  In 2008,the Florida legislature added consideration of GHG to the comprehensive planning process (HB 697) and to the MPO LRTP (HB 7135).  The Governor of Florida has formed a Climate Change Action Committee indicating an even greater future commitment by Florida government to address this issue.  It also is anticipated that the next federal transportation reauthorization bill will address issues relating to climate change.  It is increasingly clear that future transportation planning in the state of Florida will need to analyze, estimate, and consider greenhouse gas emissions resulting from transportation system development and operations.  The purpose of this research project is to provide information, guidance, and an analytical tool to support transportation decision making at the system, land development, and project levels.  The result of this research will be to enable transportation planners to more effectively weigh air quality considerations in response to proposed transportation funding allocations.

Proposed Study Parameters

1.       As a complement to measuring the carbon footprint of transit use globally, and of the operations of a transit property as a whole, which is the focus of a study currently underway at FSU, this study will look at how to consider estimates of GHG when analyzing and evaluating the merits of alternative transportation modes for the NEPA, DRI, LGCP, LRTP and Conformity Analysis planning processes.  This focus on how to incorporate GHG emissions into transportation planning, distinguishes this study from two others now being sponsored by FDOT: Conserve by Transit and an FSU study that is developing an analysis method that quantifies a baseline carbon footprint from transit operation, to be used in a cap and trade market.  Apart from these two FDOT-sponsored studies, there is a third project underway, TCRP Project J-7, Synthesis Topic SH-09, which will present the  state-of-the-practice on what transit agencies, state, and local governments are already doing to reduce GHG emissions in the transportation sector.  The results of these three studies will be considered for incorporation, where appropriate, into the framework of the C-FIT Toolkit.

2.       This scope represents Phase I of a multi-phase study.  Phase I will focus upon evaluating how existing/emerging methodologies for measuring GHG emissions can be applied to the five specifically identified planning processes, to identify limitations and gaps in analytical needs and data, and to develop recommendations for an approach and framework for measuring GHG emissions that provide useful inputs to the five planning processes.  Implementation of that approach and framework, in a set of guidelines accompanied by supporting tools, would fall within the scope of Phase II.

This scope will address GHG emissions generated from the provision of bus transit as a transportation modal alternative.  As a result of the selection of a bus service alternative during the planning process, the emissions of interest are those avoided due to a mode shift of travelers from private motor vehicle to use of bus transit plus the increased emissions resulting from the provision of any additional transit service to meet demand.  The calculation will also include anything that the public transit agency does to reduce emissions resulting from the additional service, such as use of alternative fuel buses, the construction, operations, and maintenance of off-site transit infrastructure used to provide additional service, etc.  This study will not include GHG emissions generated from bus transit agency overhead functions, such as administrative support, employee work commute mode, bus maintenance and fueling station activity, vehicle procurement, etc.

3.       This scope is focused upon GHG emissions measurement only and not other issues relating to sustainability of public transit, i.e., paper recycling, water use, soil erosion mitigation practices, etc.

4.       This scope is focused upon comparing proposed highway alternatives to bus transit alternatives only; rather than all public transit modes (light rail, BRT, etc.) compared to highway.  This is because the dominant public transit mode in Florida is and will be bus transit for the foreseeable future (next ten years).  Also, because bus transit operates on highways and uses oil, debate about highway vs. transit would most likely center on the merits of bus transit.  A Phase II study may include consideration of other public transit modes that, like additional highway capacity, require emission of GHG to produce infrastructure and materials for infrastructure, as well as emissions to move persons and vehicles on existing infrastructure.

II.  Objectives/Tasks

Objectives and Supporting Tasks

There are three objectives of this research.

1)      Develop a framework for analyzing GHG emissions within the present planning processes

2)      Illustrate how the framework might be applied in an instance of a plan to expand bus transportation in an area

3)      Identify major uncertainties and gaps in data, analytical tools, and planning processes to be addressed in future projects

Work not included in this scope of service is not to be performed and will not be subject to compensation by the Department.

The following are the anticipated tasks necessary to achieve the above objectives.

Task 1:  Kick-Off Meeting and Project Management

A net conference kick-off meeting shall be scheduled to occur before any work begins.  At a minimum, the project manager and the principal investigator will attend.  The Research Center staff will be advised of the meeting and given the option to attend, in person or via net conference.  Other parties may be invited, as appropriate.  The subject of the meeting will be to review and discuss the project’s tasks, schedule, milestones, deliverables, reporting requirements, and deployment plan.  Task 1 will also include project management, including preparation of quarterly progress reports and internal review.

Task 2:  Literature Review and Coordination With Other Research Efforts

A literature review will be undertaken to support the following tasks, including coordination with ongoing work in the state of Florida relevant to the research project objectives.   Email communication, telephone calls and up to three telephone conferences to coordinate will take place with the following:

·         The FDOT Conserve by Transit Study, undertaken by Florida State University, which evaluates the global carbon impact and health benefits of moving people out of single-occupant vehicles and onto transit, bicycle and pedestrian modes.

·         The development of a methodology for transit agencies to determine their baseline greenhouse gas footprint, looking at the whole of their entire operations and capital projects, based upon case study transit agencies, undertaken by Florida State University.  This will look at the credit and debit system that may ultimately be applied to the cap and trade analysis.

·         FDOT State Safety Office development of a method for calculating the carbon footprint of pedestrian and bicycle facilities development and maintenance.

·         TCRP report SH-09 will address what transit agencies around the US are doing in relationship to this issue.  The report will be issued in April 2009. The results will be considered and incorporated as appropriate.

·         Approximately 30 days after the signing of the Task Work Order, CUTR researchers will meet by netconference with the FDOT Project Manager, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) staff in Tallahassee, and with an invitation to local Tampa staff of FDEP to participate in the discussion.    A second meeting with these same participants will take place prior to the preparation of the Final Report in Task 8.  The first meeting will be to review the project approach and determine any needs or requirements of air quality conformity analysis.  The second meeting will be to review findings and receive input to ensure compatibility with FDEP processes.

·         CUTR researchers will send study findings to USEPA and FHWA/FTA staff identified by the FDOT project manager in coordination with FDEP, for the purpose of seeking federal input and improving consistency of the model framework with emerging federal approaches.

Task 3 Deliverable: Technical Memorandum 1 - Summary of Literature Review, Coordination Issues, and Result of First FDEP Meeting

Task 4: Document Approaches that Other States Use to Include Greenhouse Gas Emissions in their Transportation Planning Processes

Based upon the findings from Task 2, the states of California, Washington and up to two other states (not Florida) will be selected and reviewed in depth.  Case studies of urban areas from these states will be sought and summarized, which describe how planning processes in those states presently work with federally regulated air pollutants, with specific attention to including consideration of GHG emissions, into the MPO long range transportation plan (LRTP) and transportation improvement program (TIP), the State Implementation Plan (SIP) ( emerging Transportation Control Measures successful in other states), the long range planning counterparts to Florida’s local government comprehensive plan (LGCP) Traffic Circulation, Transportation and Land Use elements, Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), NEPA, and the evaluation of transportation improvement alternatives for major land development projects comparable in scale to a Florida Development of Regional Impact.  Researchers will characterize emerging approaches and issues for estimating GHG emissions and planning their reduction.  These issues include life-cycle analysis, indirect emissions, organizational and project boundaries, the planning time horizon, analytical tools, data availability, and issues relating to reducing errors and uncertainty.  Case study information will be collected through telephone conferences and electronic file sharing with transportation planners from these states.

Task 5:  Documentation of Existing Planning and Analysis Processes Used in Florida

The existing planning and analysis processes provide the context into which the C-FIT Toolkit will be applied.  Researchers will document the five current federal- and state-directed planning processes and procedures used, in the development of the state’s transportation system, as they relate to the consideration of public transit alternatives.  Documentation will also include the statewide coordination required for the LGCP and DRI processes.  Documentation will also include any existing and emerging models, such as the next generation model issued by EPA regarding GHG.  Documentation will include the identification of the opportunities and decision points for developing and selecting alternative transportation solutions, including public transit, and the methods, data and criteria used for their evaluation. 

Task 6 Deliverable:  Technical Memorandum 2 - Summary of Case Studies and Florida Planning and Analysis Processes

The report findings will be organized into three sections.  The first section will document the opportunities which the GTFS data presents for transit agencies and techniques for leveraging the GTFS to assist transit agencies.  The second section will document the developed data schema and how the implementation of the schema expanded the use of the GTFS data.  The final section of this task will address any difficulties and limitations of the GTFS and Google Transit.  The findings will be combined into a publication for printing and distribution (i.e., PDF).

Task 7:  Development of a Framework for Calculating GHG Emissions for Alternative Planning Scenarios

Researchers will construct a scenario to use as a case study, to illustrate how alternative planning scenarios can be analyzed within a framework for calculating GHG emissions.  This scenario will focus on planning to expand bus transit in a corridor, to develop worked examples to demonstrate how GHG emissions can be calculated and to identify data and analytical tools needed by the planning process.  The Framework for a Carbon Footprint that Integrates Transit (C-FIT) Toolkit as applied to air quality conformity analysis and the Florida State LGCP process will be developed to be consistent with the existing and emerging calibrated urban and regional travel demand models, which are used for both short and long range transportation planning.  This consistency between the modeling environment and the C-FIT Toolkit will ensure user and system interfaces that meet the requirements of FDOT.  To the maximum extent possible, the methods for measuring GHG emissions for transit in the scenario will be developed with the aim to use data that are available, expected to be used by transit agencies in calculating their carbon footprints with the approach being developed by FSU, or otherwise easy and inexpensive to obtain.  If this is not possible, then an inventory of other necessary data will be developed, with recommendations on the most effective and efficient means to collect the data.

Task 8: Final Report Preparation

Researchers will draft a final report to include the results of the previous tasks, and recommendations for a follow-up project that would implement the framework in an actual toolkit for use in incorporating GHG emissions into transportation planning.  It will include a discussion of the methodological limitations of the analytical framework, and the identification of priorities for filling these data and analytical needs, based on reducing errors and uncertainty.  The draft final report will be submitted 90 days prior to the end date of the contract.  FDOT will have a 30-day review period before providing recommendations, then an additional 15 days for a second review before final approval of the draft report.  Upon FDOT approval, the final report will be finalized and a PowerPoint presentation will be prepared and transmitted in electronic format to FDOT offices in Tallahassee.

Task 9 Deliverable: Draft Final Report - Framework for a Toolkit for Carbon Footprint that Integrates Transit (C-FIT)

Task 10 Deliverable: Final Report - Framework for a Toolkit for Carbon Footprint that Integrates Transit (C-FIT)

III. Deliverables

Progress Reports  CUTR will submit quarterly progress reports to the Research Center.  The first report will cover the activity that occurred in the 90 days following the issuance of the Task Work Order.

Reports will be submitted within 30 days of the end of the reporting period.  CUTR will submit reports  even if little or no progress has occurred (in which case, the report would explain delays and/or lack of progress).  Progress reports will be sent in MS Word to Sandra Bell, .

Progress reports will contain the following information:

1.       Contract Number, Task Work Order Number, and Title

2.       Work performed during the period being reported

3.       Work to be performed in the following period

4.       Anticipated modifications (i.e., to funding, schedule, or scope).  This section is for reporting/informational purposes, not for officially requesting an amendment.                        Note:  To request an amendment to a contract, CUTR will provide the project manager with the appropriate information (i.e., what is being requested with justification) in the required format.  If the project manager concurs with the request, he/she shall forward it with his/her approval and commentary, as appropriate, to the Research Center for administrative review and processing (pending available funds, etc.)

5.       A Progress Schedule (Figures A, B, and C) updated to reflect activities for the period being reported.

Failure to submit progress reports in a timely manner may result in termination of the work order.

Technical Memorandum 1 – Summary of Literature Review, Coordination Issues, and Result of FDEP Meeting

Technical Memorandum 2 – Summary of Case Studies and Florida Planning and Analysis Processes

Draft Final Report – Framework for a Toolkit for Carbon Footprint that Integrates Transit (C-FIT)

The draft final report will be submitted to Sandra Bell,  The draft final report will also be submitted to other state agencies, as appropriate, with an invitation for their review and comment.  It will be edited for technical accuracy, grammar, clarity, organization, and format prior to submission to the Department for technical approval.  The Research Center expects contractors to be able to provide well-written, high-quality report that address the objectives defined by the scope of service.  Draft final reports will  be prepared in accordance with the Guidelines for Preparing Draft Final and Final Reports, found at ( and in plain language according to the Governor’s initiative.  This document provides information on all report requirements, including format requirements, the technical report documentation form, disclaimer language, and so forth.

Final Report – Framework for a Toolkit for Carbon Footprint that Integrates Transit (C-FIT)

Once the draft final report has been approved, the university shall prepare the final report and one PowerPoint presentation.  The university will deliver eight (8) copies of the final report in MS Word on CD and one (1) unbound original, no later than the end date of the task work order, to the attention of Sandra Bell at

The Florida Department of Transportation

Research Center, MS30

605 Suwannee Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450


Each copy will be provided on a CD or DVD (i.e., for a total of eight disks).  If the project manager requires additional copies, such provision must be indicated in the scope.

Project Certification  The Sponsored Research office or appropriate authority will submit as a final deliverable a project certification prepared according to university compliance standards.

IV.  Project Schedule

V.  Project Budget

Salaries and Fringe                                      86,454.48

Fixed Price Sub Total                                    86,454.48

Indirect Cost (fixed price subtotal x 10%)    8,645.45

Total Fixed Price Amount                             95,099.92


Total Lump Sum Amount (Salaries and Benefits)                95,099.92

Cost Reimbursable (Subtotal)                                                        420.00

Indirect Costs (cost reimbursable subtotal x 10%)                         42.00  

Total Project Cost                                                                           95,561.92      

Description of Research Roles on the Project

Sara Hendricks will serve as the primary contact for the project and will be responsible for project administration.  Ms. Hendricks will arrange coordination meetings and be responsible for the preparation and submittal of all deliverables.  Ms. Hendricks will lead the literature review effort in coordination with Drs. Hillsman and Stuart and the graduate student assistant.  Ms. Hendricks will take the lead on Task 5, work with Dr. Hillsman on Task 4 and work with Drs. Hillsman and Stuart on Task 7.

Ed Hillsman will provide input at the kick-off meeting, participate in project coordination, and provide recommendations on research literature sources and summaries of literature in his field of expertise.  Dr. Hillsman will take the lead on Task 4 and work with Ms. Hendricks and Dr. Stuart on Task 7.

Amy Stuart will provide input at the kick-off meeting, participate in project coordination, and provide recommendations on research literature sources and summaries of literature in her field of expertise.  Dr. Stuart will work jointly with Dr. Hillsman on Task 7, with assistance from a graduate student assistant, and input from Ms. Hendricks.

Phil Winters and Joel Volinski will provide internal review of technical memoranda and the draft final report.

Jennifer Iley will provide assistance with contract administration, help with the set-up of net conferences, and assist with the preparation of the draft final report.

A graduate student will provide assistance with the literature review, the development of case studies from other states and help document Florida planning processes.

A second graduate student will assist in the development of a methodology for calculating green house gas emissions and provide support in the collection and analysis of data.

Patricia Ball will provide technical editing of the draft final report.

VI.  Use of Graduate Student(s) and Other Research Assistants

Graduate students will conduct literature searches with regard to the engagement of existing planning processes and analytical methods for the calculation of regulated air pollutants.  Graduate students will assist in documenting the five identified planning processes as they relate to consideration of public transit alternatives, including existing and emerging models, opportunities and decision points, methods, data and criteria used for their evaluation.  Graduate students will assist in case study development and in the formation of a framework for incorporating greenhouse gas emissions into planning processes.

VII.  Equipment

No equipment will be needed.

VIII.  Travel

All travel must be in accordance with Section 112.061, Florida Statutes.  FDOT employees may not travel on research contracts.

IX.  Net Conferences

Per Task 1, one net conference will be conducted for the kick-off meeting.  Per Task 2, approximately 30 days after the signing of the Work Task Order, CUTR researchers will meet by net conference with the FDOT Project Manager and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) staff in Tallahassee, with an invitation to local Tampa staff of FDEP to participate in the discussion.    A second net conference with these same participants will be held prior to the preparation of the Final Report in Task 8.  The first meeting will be to review the project approach and determine any needs or requirements of air quality conformity analysis.  The second meeting will be to review findings and receive input to ensure compatibility with FDEP processes.  Per Task 2 one additional net conference may be scheduled for coordination purposes, if necessary, for a total of up to four net conferences held during the project.

National Center for Transit Research · at the Center For Urban Transportation Research · University of South Florida · 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 · Tampa, FL 33620-5375 · (813) 974-3120 · (813) 974-5168 · · Comments: