Energy and Environmental Impacts of Atlanta’s Reversible Express Toll Lanes and High-Occupancy Toll Lanes

Nationwide, there is growing trend in using managed lane concept to enhance operations on freeways. As part of their $16 billion proposed buildout of managed lanes in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is opening reversible express toll lanes on the I-75 / I-575 Northwest Corridor, and is expanding the High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes on I-85 in Fall 2018.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) national performance management measures under MAP-21 require states to assess the performance of the National Highway System (23 CFR 490.511) to ensure the most efficient investment of Federal transportation funds. Transportation performance goals include: congestion reduction, system reliability, freight movement, economic vitality, and environmental sustainability. However, a detailed assessment of changes in per-capita energy use has never been conducted for these projects. This research primarily aims to evaluate the effects of two newly-constructed Express Toll Lanes along the I-75 corridor and I-85 corridor in the Metro Atlanta region in the energy and environmental context, including the impact of per-vehicle and per-person energy consumption and air pollutant emissions (PM10, PM2.5, NOx, CO, CO2, VOCs, etc.) modeling, and near-road pollutant concentration predictions.

This study is supported by a comprehensive before-and-after data collection effort being conducted by Georgia Tech researchers for the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA). Tools combining dispersion model AERMOD, emission model of conventional vehicles MOVES-Matrix, and emission model of Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) Autonomie will be applied in this research.

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