Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
Planning · Environment · Real Estate

HEP Events Guidance Publications Glossary Awards Contacts

Talking Freight Transcript

Freight and the Environment Part II

April 18, 2012

Jennifer Symoun
Good afternoon or good morning to those of you to the West. Welcome to the Talking Freight Seminar Series. My name is Jennifer Symoun and I will moderate today's seminar. Today's topic is the Freight and the Environment Part 2.

Before I go any further, I do want to let those of you who are calling into the teleconference for the audio know that you need to mute your computer speakers or else you will be hearing your audio over the computer as well.

Today we'll have three presenters - Dr. Joe Zietsman of the Texas Transportation Institute, Sylvia Grijalva of the Federal Highway Administration, and Denise Kearns of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Dr. Joe Zietsman is the Head of the Environment and Air Quality Division of the Texas Transportation Institute. He is also a member of the Graduate Faculty of Texas A&M University and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas. His specific research interests are in sustainable transportation, air quality, climate change, and performance measurement. He is also an active member of the Transportation Research Board where he chairs the Committee on Sustainable Transportation and serves as member of the Air Quality and Performance Measurement Committees.

Sylvia Grijalva is the US/ Mexico Border Planning Coordinator for the US DOT, Federal Highway Administration and has worked as such since 1998. She works with other Federal, State, and local officials from both nations to improve the transportation including transportation planning along the border. She is also the US coordinator for the US/Mexico Joint Working Committee on Transportation Planning.

Denise Kearns works in EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality where she leads communications, outreach, and regional coordination for the agency's SmartWay Transport Partnership, a successful public-private partnership that supports the greening of freight transportation and the supply chain. Her presentation today provides an overview and introduction to SmartWay, EPA's flagship program for improving efficiencies and achieving sustainability in the goods movement industry.

Today's seminar will last 90 minutes, with 60 minutes allocated for the speakers, and the final 30 minutes for audience Question and Answer. If during the presentations you think of a question, you can type it into the chat area. Please make sure you send your question to "Everyone" and indicate which presenter your question is for. Presenters will be unable to answer your questions during their presentations, but I will start off the question and answer session with the questions typed into the chat box. If we run out of time and are unable to address all questions we will attempt to get written responses from the presenters to the unanswered questions.

The PowerPoint presentations used during the seminar are available for download from the file download box in the lower right corner of your screen. The presentations will also be available online within the next few weeks, along with a recording and a transcript. I will notify all attendees once these materials are posted online.

One final note: Talking Freight seminars are eligible for 1.5 certification maintenance credits for AICP members. In order to obtain credit for today's seminar, you must have logged in with your first and last name or if you are attending with a group of people you must type your first and last name into the chat box. I have included more detailed instructions in the file share box on how to obtain your credits after the seminar. I encourage everybody, even if you're not applying for AICP credit, to download the evaluation form from the file share box and submit this form to me after you have filled it out.

We're now going to go ahead and get started. Today's topic, for those of you who just joined us, is Freight and the Environment Part 2. As a reminder, if you have questions during the presentation, please type them into the chat box and they will be answered in the last 30 minutes of the seminar. Our first presenter will be Dr. Joe Zietsman of the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI).

Joe Zietsman
Thank you very much, Jennifer. The topic of my talk is "developing performance measures for sustainable freight movement." I will briefly touch on the concept of sustainability and a little bit on performance measurement, and then I will take a specific sustainability issue, mainly extended truck idling, and I will talk about and discuss how we could address that topic.

Coming back to the topic of sustainability, I would like to refer you to a recently completed project, Report 708 under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies. The guidebook contains a very good description of what sustainability is, how performance measurement can be used to address sustainability, and how it can be applied. It's an easy-to-read guidebook format, probably about 40- 55 pages, with lots of diagrams and graphics to make it a very easy read. I would encourage anyone who would like to learn more about the topic of sustainability to download this report from the website and look into that.

I will mention a little bit about how we not necessarily define sustainability, but the principles of sustainability, as contained in this guidebook. I think many of you are familiar with the so-called triple bottom line or the three dimensions of sustainability. That's the basic approach that we followed in this guidebook, but we applied a little bit of a different twist to it, just to make it more applicable and more practical for transportation. It starts out with human needs; obviously, with sustainability, we are concerned about current and future needs, so that is the fundamental principle of sustainability, as we know. The first leg of the stool is economic development and prosperity, so that's the economic dimension. The second one deals with community health and vitality, so that's the social dimension. The third one is environmental and ecological systems, so that's the environmental dimension. Typically, the issue of equity is dealt with as part of the social dimension: in other words, as part of community health and vitality. In our approach, we dealt with equity a little bit differently. We decided that equity is part of all three dimensions, and you can't keep just as part of the social dimension. The way we thought about equity in our approach to sustainability is that it actually provides the glue or bonding agent for the three legs of the stool. In other words, you cannot really address sustainability if you are not addressing equity within the three dimensions. This is our demonstration/illustration of sustainability. I'm not going to go into any more detail, but you can download the guidebook from the NCHRP website.

In terms of addressing sustainability, a good place to start is with goals. Under sustainability and sustainable transportation, especially when you look at freight, there is the issue of extended truck idling. It's a major concern in the United States specifically with so many trucks crisscrossing the nation, taking freight all over the place. Some estimates say there are about a half-million long-haul trucks crossing the nation on a daily basis. In terms of the Federal rules, truck drivers need to rest for 10 hours for every 14 hours of driving, so in a 24-hour day, you would typically have to rest for 10 hours, according to the law. When truck drivers rest, they pull up in a truck stop or rest area, and to keep the truck cabin warm or cool, depending on the temperature conditions, they idle the main engine. This causes significant emissions and fuel wastage: 350 tons of NOx per day is emitted due to extended truck idling, and 2 million gallons of diesel fuel per day is wasted due to extended truck idling. Today, I am lucky to be in San Diego, and the temperature is about 73 degrees. On a day like today, a truck driver would not need to run his main engine to keep the truck cabin comfortable, but this is definitely not the norm. Typically, when it's getting cold in the evenings or during the day when it's getting hot, you would want to run the main engine.

What can be done about this? There are a couple approaches. One is a mobile or on-board approach. These are auxiliary power units, or little engines, diesel-powered or battery-powered, that power an auxiliary AC unit or heating unit, as shown on this slide. This is one way it can be done. Instead of running the main engine of the truck, you could run these little engines to power an auxiliary AC or heating unit, therefore saving emissions or fuel.

Another approach is the stationary or off-board approach. You pull your truck into a truck stop that has these devices, stationary off-board truck stop electrification, and with a template in the window of your truck, you can pull such a device through there and have air conditioning, heating, or cooling, and even amenities such as electricity, internet, etc. That could prevent idling as well.

Another option is a combination of the two: mobile and stationary. What's demonstrated here is a shore power type approach, so you have electricity that you can hook up to your truck, but what's on-board your truck is some sort of auxiliary AC or heating unit that must be electricity-powered so you can hook up to the shore power and run your auxiliary unit.

Several years ago, TTI won a $3 million competitive grant through the U.S. EPA SmartWay program. What the EPA wanted us to do at the time was look into the issue of extended idling. The map on the slide is an illustration of all the truck stops in the nation that have 50 or more parking spaces. There are more than 2,000 of those facilities nationwide, and it almost looks like a shotgun on a map. The first charge that we had was to come up with a national deployment strategy. Where would be the most optimal spots to put truck stop electrification - the stationary device? Obviously, the companies that provide those technologies currently are private sector companies, and their incentive is to make a profit, and that is understandable. The EPA's take on this issue was yes, we want to reduce emissions and save fuel, so that's one objective in terms of coming up with this national strategy. The second part was put it in places where they will have the most impact (non-attainment areas, etc.). Therefore, come up with a national strategy or national map so that if any agency or state wants to implement truck stop electrification, they can refer to the national map and make sure it all fits together.

The first step was to come up with national truck corridors. We identified 15 truck corridors based on truck volumes, growth rates, etc. These truck corridors were mostly based on interstate systems, but they did not blindly follow the interstate system, depending on which ways the flow go. Some of them diverted off of interstates and some didn't stay on a specific interstate. So, we identified 15 truck corridors, as shown on this map, and our job was to prioritize these corridors, and within each corridor, find out where are the optimum locations to put truck stop electrification.

Here are the evaluation criteria. We came up with nine criteria to prioritize the corridors, and we used the same criteria to identify within each corridor, where would be the correct area to put these truck stop electrification devices. Corridor length: obviously, the longer the corridor, the more truck stop electrification (TSE) locations you would need, because truck drivers need places to rest. You cannot make the spacing too large. Other criteria include major activity centers, such as ports, borders, intermodal facilities; average daily truck volume; truck traffic growth dates; non-attainment areas; whether there are existing TSE sites; the number of truck stops available; corridor temperature (in areas where it's very hot or cold, they would need TSE more frequently and more aggressively); and the number of major intersections where you have more than one corridor connecting and you have the additional traffic and potential to serve other corridors as well as those intersection points. So, those were the criteria we used.

On the next slide, we see the interactive map we produced for the project and the U.S. EPA. I will quickly mention the website so that you can refer to that at your leisure: tse.tamu.edu. That provides you with the interactive map.

This map shows the corridor, and within each corridor, we have also identified locations. When you zoom in, you would see these highlighted areas, the darker blue and the orange. Those are zones. We took each corridor and divided it up into different zones of about 20-mile areas used those criteria that I highlighted, and then identified the optimum locations to put TSE with regards to spacing and all those factors that I mentioned. When you zoom in further in the zones, you come up with a Google map that shows you the boundaries of the zone. It also tells you the different truck stops available within the zone that you can implement with TSE.

The next step was to look at mobile technologies, or the APUs. The EPA wanted us to come up with a verification protocol: how would we verify these units so it could be an apples-to-apples comparison? Again, with these APUs, they are private-sector companies, and the information they provide is based on their own testing and feeling on how their technologies work, so it's not necessarily a robust one-on-one comparison between the different units. The EPA wanted us come up with a generally-applicable verification protocol: how do you verify these units in terms of parameters such as performance, emissions, fuel consumption, noise, etc. When we looked into that, the first thing we found was that we needed a facility to test these devices. In other words, we needed an environmental test chamber, because if you want to test the way an APU works, you need to make sure it can keep a truck cabin cool warm. At the same time, you can measure the parameters such as fuel consumption and emissions. We looked around nationwide and found that these facilities are very scarce.

In the end, TTI decided to build our own environmental test chamber so that we could do this type of testing. This slide you see there is our environmental and emissions research facility, and on the next slide, you see a shot of the inside of the chamber. The dimensions are 75' X 23' X 22'. It's large enough to take a full-size truck, tractor and trailer, so we can drive a truck into the chamber and control for temperature and humidity. The temperature range is -40 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. We can also control for relative humidity and solar loading, so when we replicate a hot day in Houston we can also add solar lights to get the full effect. On the cold side, we can add the wind chill factor, up to 35 miles per hour. Here's another slide of facility with the lights and the wind fan. Here's the control room, and this is an installation example of where we did some testing inside the chamber.

In terms of fuel consumption, this slide shows a comparison to the base truck, which was a 2006 freight liner that TTI owns. We do all of our comparisons relative to the base truck, so the percentage is shown as a percentage of the emissions or fuel consumption relative to a base truck doing the same work. For the hot test, we set the chamber to 100 degrees, and the target temperature in the cabin of the truck was 70 degrees. Then the APU would work and we would measure the emissions and the fuel consumption. For fuel consumption, it's 35-45% of the base truck for two APUs (the red one and the green one). CO2 is similar, and NOx was 25-30% of the base truck.

On the cold side, you see some other bars in purple and light blue. Those are direct fire heaters, or little devices that just do heating. You can see the emissions and fuel consumption were a lot lower because they're smaller engines. There is caveat to that slide, and that is that those little devices were not able to hit the target temperature of 73 degrees in the truck cabin. We also looked at infiltration, and the chamber allowed us to monitor infiltration into the cabin as well. The future version is for us to bring in a chassis dynamometer that we can drive inside the chamber, and we're working on that currently.

In conclusion, sustainability is an important framework, and NCHRP 708 puts it together. Under sustainability, truck idling is a significant source of emissions and fuel wastage. We developed a national deployment strategy for TSE and came up with a protocol for APU testing. We did a broad range of testing to see how these APUs performed, and all of this data is a basis for effective policies and decision making. Thank you for your attention.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you, Joe. I encourage everyone to continue typing in questions for Joe, and just make sure you indicate which presenter your questions are for. Now we will continue with our next presentation, given by Sylvia Grijalva with the Federal Highway Administration.

Sylvia Grijalva
Thank you very much and thank you for inviting me to present today. As Jennifer stated, I am the coordinator for the U.S./Mexico Joint Working Committee (JWC) on Transportation Planning. Today I'll give an overview of why the border is important to freight, how the JWC began and its purpose and goals, some of its activities, including the greening transportation at the border work, and other activities they do.

First of all, some of the most recent statistics that we have for the US-Mexico border is that the value of trade between the two countries was over $423 billion in 2011. The value of surface transportation between the two countries totaled over $367 billion, and that was an increase of 14.6% compared to the year before.

The value of imports carried by truck was 12.4% higher than it was in 2010, and the value of exports carried by truck increased also by 14.9%. Texas led all states in surface trade with Mexico, with $129 billion. This was the third time on record that Texas had more than $100 billion in trade with Mexico via surface modes in one calendar year. Just to illustrate, it's a trend that is going up for freight, but for passengers and pedestrians, or tourist traffic, 151 million people crossed into the U.S. from Mexico in personal vehicles or as pedestrians, and that's an 8.9 percent decrease from 2010. I find it interesting that freight traffic is going up, but not tourist traffic.

For background, the U.S.-Mexico border is about 2,000 miles. There are 45 active land border ports of entry (POE) and nine international railroad crossings on the southern border.

The U.S./Mexico JWC on Transportation Planning originated via a memorandum of understanding between both countries; both the Secretary of the Department of Transportation in our office and also the Mexican Secretary of Communications and Transportation signed that memorandum, and that was in 1994. The JWC coordinates transportation planning. It's chaired by the FHWA and the Secretary of Communications and Transportation. There are also other Federal and State partners. All the US - Mexico border states are represented as well as all the key border stakeholders: GSA, CBP, and their counterparts, and of course the Department of State is there as well as the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Relations, and other partners. There are twin goals stated for the group, and that is to increase communication and coordination.

The JWC works on biennial work plans. Some of the efforts underway right now are some regional border master plans, border wait-time studies, traffic forecasting and data coordination, and the greening transportation at the border that we will talk about today.

First of all, we just started off with trying to increase awareness of some of the greening efforts at the border - if not at the border, then something that could be transferred to the border. In San Diego - I think that some of you went to this conference - in February 2011, we had a Greening Transportation at the Border Workshop. It was to exchange information on greening efforts along both borders. It was put together by our subcommittee at the JWC and it includes people that are not actual members of the JWC. The EPA, BECC, FHWA, all the states, some of the Mexican agencies, and other groups were part of the subcommittee on greening transportation, and they helped us in putting together the workshop.

The workshop focused on four themes. The one I was interested in was performance and reliability measures, and we had several presentations on the topic. However, the Green Border Subcommittee decided we needed something to help all agencies plan better at the border. We wanted to have a project that created a baseline of vehicle emissions data. We wanted something that develops some performance measures for emissions reduction strategies and performs emissions data analysis, enhancing air quality models at the Ports of Entry (POEs) by establishing that baseline data and emissions reductions with or without infrastructure or operational changes.

The subcommittee that developed the workshop also came up with these goals. We went ahead and came up with a project for that, and we ended up with a Border Wait-time Emissions Analysis Study. It's a 1-year study that ends in the fall of this year, and our consultant is Cambridge Systematics. The primary tester will be in the El Paso area land POEs, and the modeling or the product that we end up with will be applicable to all the other POEs along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Our first objective was to help support the JWC work plan. One of our main objectives at JWC is to develop regional border master plans, and by doing this project we want to gather some environmental data and forecast future conditions at the border, and that information will be included in the regional border master planning effort. We want to foster some consistency among individual agencies in the planning process. To continue the objectives of supporting the JWC, we want to make sure that we can evaluate the emissions impacts of transportation projects and promote implementation of projects that reduce emissions. Also, we want to promote environmental conscientiousness in the planning, design, and operation of the facilities and the transportation system.

We also want to develop some relationships. We are going to be using some data and micro simulation at two El Paso POEs that we used to quantify vehicle activity associated with border waits. The concept is to develop a set of operating mode profiles that can be extrapolated to other regions along the border using reasonable, available metrics. That's the whole key, because a lot of times the data isn't available, but we are trying to address that as well.

We will identify the data: the operational data - border wait time data, booth hours, geometric data - and the planning data. We will also be able to provide examples using the EPA MOVES model to estimate emissions.

We will have a baseline emissions inventory and we want to use MOVES to evaluate that. We also want to identify missing data and the costs, because right now we have a lot of data that we need and can't collect in this project, but we want to at least identify it and see what it could cost to get the data. We are a bi-national group, and Mexico uses MOBILE6 model and not MOVES yet, and California uses EMFAC instead of MOVES, so we also want to have some guidance to have them use information that we're going to develop for those models as well.

We will consider some strategies and performance measures such as cost effectiveness, potential emissions reductions, border crossing wait times, and other system performance measures. Then we will propose best practices.

The final product will be a template for a model, or a model to help the model at the land POEs. It will reflect cross-border travel activity and use reasonably available metrics such as volume and delay as the key inputs, the results will be sensitive to proposed improvements to infrastructure and operational characteristics of the POEs, and it will be applicable to the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border.

So, that was the overview. Yesterday I received our first big bunch of deliverables, and we got the border traffic characteristics, the local data collection and needs assessment, the emissions assessment with respect to border crossing activity patterns, and verification on consistent relationships and performance measures. Also, we got the data constraints, the missing data, and what it cost to get that data. I haven't had a chance to evaluate it or I would have presented that as well, but I think we are halfway toward it, and the final product will be the template that I was telling you about, with a white paper to support those activities. I'd like to preface that I am not an expert. It's my job to try to make happen what the JWC puts into their work plan. Thank you very much, and I will wait for the questions at the end of the seminar.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you, Sylvia. I encourage you to keep posting questions for Sylvia in the chat box. We will now move on to our final presentation, given by Denise Kearns of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We will take question while we wait for Denise to get on the line. Sylvia, since we finished your presentation last, I will go to a question for you. Did the working group consider the experiences of other jurisdictions outside North America in terms of spotting best practices or other opportunities?

Sylvia Grijalva
There was a portion of the contract that required them to look at other studies that were conducted, so they did come forth with various other studies and activities previously conducted, not only in other countries but also at differing locations, like at a tollbooth or other similar activities where idling might occur. . So, yes, they did, but if there are some that you think are valuable, please forward them to us and we'll make sure that they are aware of them as well.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you. Denise is back on the line. We'll come back to questions at the end.

Denise Kearns
I am pleased to be on the line and providing an overview to everyone about the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership. In my presentation today, I will start with a quick look at some of the key factors that are driving the growing interest in sustainable freight, and then I will outline the core philosophy and key objectives that have helped the SmartWay program to succeed. We will look at the tools and resources that SmartWay has made available to its partners over the years as well as the freight industry, and what our next steps are going forward.

One of the key factors behind the goal to achieving sustainable transportation is this industry's impact on climate change. As you can see, transportation accounts for roughly one-third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. It's also a significant source of other pollutants. I think most of us are aware of NOx, particulate matter, toxins, and all of these pollutants contribute to major health and environmental health effects. Among all the sectors, transportation also relies most heavily on petroleum, a non-renewable fuel source. In fact, 95% of all the energy used for transportation is derived from oil, so transportation consumes about two-thirds of all the oil used in the U.S. As we have these oil costs increasing and concerns over climate change, the transportation industry has become a much more active in pursuing strategies to operate more sustainably.

Within the transportation industry (and this is brand-new data that the EPA just published recently), passenger cars and trucks are always the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, nut medium and heavy-duty trucks, which are the freight industry, also represent a significant source of emissions. They account for about 20% of all the greenhouse gases emitted by transportation activities. It's also broken out here. You can see the heavy-duty trucks, which are the workhorses of the industry, are broken out so you can see how emissions are spread out among those types of different trucks.

Data recently published by the American Trucking Association shows that the trucking industry moves about $504 billion in freight, which is more than 80% of all the freight transportation revenue, and by tonnage, that's about 67% of all freight weight. I know we have new EPA regulatory standards coming into place that will make new trucks much cleaner and more efficient, but it will take several decades to replace these in-use, existing trucks already on the road. SmartWay has partnered with no rail industry, but the core of the program has been with the trucking industry, and my talk today will focus primarily on the trucking industry.

In addition to the environmental factors that are driving the freight industry to operate more sustainably, the economic importance of this industry is another key issue. Freight transportation is a cornerstone of the economy. Look around your office or your home, and anything that you can touch has come to you through freight. Communities and businesses depend on trucking and rail for production and delivery of goods purchased online or through stores. We have $11 trillion in value in freight shipments that are being moved domestically. Trucking by itself generates $660 billion in revenues, employing about 9 million people - I think the ATA said it's about 1 in every 13 people in the country. It's essential to our nation's competitiveness and local economies.

Sustainability is what SmartWay is all about. It started out and continues to be a partnership between business and government, promoting sustainable goods movement by reducing emissions and fuel consumption from our nation's supply chain.

The program's approach, in working with industry, has always recognized that freight is critical to the economy, jobs, and a healthy business climate. When the EPA first launched the program in 2004, our charter partners, which include many of the nation's largest freight carriers and shipping companies, helped establish the program's goals and develop tools that would help them measure, benchmark, and improve fuel efficiency in the industry so that businesses could save money, stay competitive, and demonstrate their leadership and environmental stewardship and commitment to protecting the environment.

I will present some specific program accomplishments in a couple slides, but this program has been a win for business and for the environment. As I mentioned earlier, SmartWay started in 2004. At the time of the launch we had 16 charter partners, and since then, the program has experienced exponential growth. Today, with support from the trucking industry and freight shipping customers, the partnership includes over 2,000 carriers including the top 100 carriers, 250 Fortune 500 shippers from every major business sector, and several hundred major logistics firms and affiliates as well.

Here are some of our larger partners. Our website contains a full list of partners, and it's updated weekly. I have provided website information at the end of the presentation.

As I said, I want to highlight some of the accomplishments since the partnership was formed in 2004. You can see there that we have had an impact on reducing million metric tons of CO2 by 16.5 million and we have had a significant reduction in PM, NOx, 50 million barrels of oil have been conserved, and savings of just over $6 billion in fuel costs.

In the next part of my presentation, what I want to do is take a look at three key program elements that have been and continue to be important to SmartWay success. The most important element of SmartWay is the partnership. I will spend some time explaining the purpose and value of the tools we have developed through SmartWay and how those tools are helping companies assess their performance. I'll provide an update to recent changes in our technology program, which is where SmartWay and created the testing and verification program for trucks and equipment, and I'll close with a discussion on outreach and education efforts.

Here's a snapshot of how the program works. On the left-hand side, you see SmartWay provides freight companies with tools and resources for assessing, tracking, and reducing their emissions, as well as testing and identification of proven technologies and strategies that will help them get to their emissions reduction goals, and, finally, recognition. On the right-hand side, as you can see, when a company first joins SmartWay, it commits to improving the environmental performance of its delivery operations. Trucking companies or carriers commit to adopting technologies and controls into their fleet operations, and then SmartWay shippers that sign onto the program commit to shipping the majority of their goods with SmartWay carriers.

For the companies that join SmartWay, the first step to improving their environmental performance is to use SmartWay's tools to help them calculate their freight emissions. These tools assist companies in measuring their emissions, establishing a benchmark, and setting goals for improvement. For organizations joining the partnership today, it's an exciting time because our tools have recently been upgraded and developed to handle more refined inputs and to provide the users (shippers, primarily) with better information on fuel use and emissions. Let's take a look at how these tools work.

We have four categories of partners: truck carriers, logistic companies, multimodal carriers, and shippers. The trucking sector is most important. They are the ones that are generating the emissions predominately, and they have been broken down to include nine categories of truck carriers. These categories delineate different types of freight shipping operations and equipment with characteristics that meet different freight shipping goods movement needs. This kind of fleet-level delineation ensures an accurate apples-to-apples type of comparison, especially when a carrier or shipper wants to assess its efficiency. As opposed to earlier renditions of the tools, when it was all one kit and caboodle, here we have broken it out.

When partners submit data, they submit either a trucking tool, a multimodal tool, or a logistics tool, depending on what type of partner they are. Shippers also have a tool, and we will get into that in a little bit. The basic data needed to run SmartWay's freight tool includes fuel use, vehicle miles traveled, and payload. Additional data inputs include information like truck engine model, year and class, idle time, speed changes, and other parameters, These inputs are used in our emissions calculations, and the outputs allow carriers to see how well they are performing, both as an organization, for their own assessment and goal-setting purposes, and relative to other carriers in the same business. It also allows shippers to identify carriers that best meet their shipping needs.

SmartWay shippers are the key users of this data, and they are most interested in the outputs of the carriers' tool, because it helps them make more informed decisions and identify the carriers that will best meet their shipping needs. Specifically, the carrier tool outputs provide eight emissions metrics that will cover CO2, NOx, particulate matter, both fine particulate matter as well as PM 10. Metrics for each of these four pollutants are expressed in both grams per mile and grams per ton-mile on a fleet-wide basis, so that's why you end up having eight metrics.

In addition to using the carrier data to help select carriers, SmartWay shippers also need the data to assess their carbon footprint. They have a shipper tool as well so that they can respond to customers, shareholders, and corporate needs for energy and environmental benchmarking. As I said, many of our shippers are large companies that are responding to their own internal desire to improve their sustainability, lower their carbon footprint, and demonstrate leadership.

The next slide is a sample of carrier data that shippers have access to for assistance in carrier selection, and this data is on our website. A shipper or carrier has access to this data, and if you look closely, you can see it's aggregated or CO2, NOx, and PM on a gram per mile and gram per ton-mile basis. If you look here, carriers are assessed ratings based on the range that is established for each of the truck categories that have been established. This is the basic information provided on the website, and guidance has recently been developed to help users interpret this data. This is what we have been providing on a weekly basis over the past several weeks.

That is basically the tool, and if you have questions on that, hopefully there will be time at the end. I want to move into a couple of other areas of the program. We have a testing and technology program. We have recently reorganized SmartWay to some extent, and we have what we call a new Technology Assessment Center. This has integrated the expertise of SmartWay's clean diesel and technology programs. The new center provides a more comprehensive approach to reducing emissions from heavy-duty fleets. They oversee research, test, and evaluate emissions and fuel saving technologies and strategies from long-haul tractors, off-road equipment, marine, and rail, and they also look at catalysts, filters, idle reduction units, tires, and aerodynamics. The center has been verifying technology, which is kind of what the business of the SmartWay verification program has been all along. They are also developing test protocols and assessment tools, and providing some technical expertise to other Federal programs, academia, technical groups, and our emissions and legacy fleet programs within EPA. They keep very busy.

The other key element to the program is our recognition. Our outreach and education activities largely involve partner recognition in one form or another. Recognition include a rewards program were we highlight the accomplishments of outstanding SmartWay partners. In turn, these partners publicize their progress, which helps to encourage their peers to become more sustainable and join the partnership. We also publicize broader SmartWay program results and develop case studies and partner profiles that are posted to the website.

The next slide gives a couple of examples of how we recognize our partners. The picture on the left is an award that was given to some of our most outstanding partners over the years. We have also run a public service campaign recognizing the partners and also promoting the program and encouraging participation and involvement by the industries. It's been quite successful. We have reached 3 billion in the past few years via some TV airings that we have had. We've gotten several million dollars in pro bono placement, so it's been very effective.

Going forward, we hope to continue to refine the program's tools to include more real-world performance data, enhance the flexibility, and make the tools easier to use and understand. I think we have come a long way in that direction. We also want to broaden the partnership to achieve more public-private benefits, which are tons of emissions reduced, save more oil, improve operational strategies for further savings, and help strengthen US business. This last slide includes a link to our website and help line. Thank you very much for your time.

Q&A

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you, Denise. Now we are going to move on to the question and answer session, starting with questions that have been posted online. Once we get through those questions, if time allows, we can open up the phone lines for questions. You can continue posting questions online as you think of them.

Denise, we will start with some questions for you. I think Abby Swain has answered some of them, but I'm going to go ahead and ask you as well. Does the SmartWay program collaborate or ever team with the U.S. DOE Clean Cities program?

Denise Kearns
We are working with DOE in trying to coordinate some of the efforts that DOE has reached out to many of the companies that partner with SmartWay. DOE's emphasis has been primarily on fuel. SmartWay has not focused too much on fuel in terms of fuel savings benefits, but we have certainly been in conversation with DOE and are trying to work together on the programs.

Jennifer Symoun
Another question for you is on any type of information you have about these programs at the State or Regional level, and the question was clarified as talking about SmartWay sister projects.

Denise Kearns
I'm not 100% sure which sister projects are being referenced, but SmartWay has been tied into our Clean Diesel program, which is a very successful grant program, and many of the funds that have been issued through Clean Diesel have been used for the purchase of technologies and trucks that are cleaner and have demonstrated their benefits. I'm not sure about that question exactly.

Jennifer Symoun
I think Abby typed in response to that as well. She said "I don't know of any, but personally I would advocate that it's better to have one national partnership with all that sophistication and richness rather than competing local programs. It's good to recognize fuel-efficient freight movement wherever/however it occurs, though."

Denise Kearns
I would agree. As I said, we work very closely with the American Trucking Associations and some of their state agents. Many of the ATAs are very strong advocates for SmartWay and have worked with their different chapters to encourage participation and involvement. We work very closely with our Clean Diesel group at a regional as well as national level.

Jennifer Symoun
Do State DOT fleet services participate in SmartWay?

Denise Kearns
We have been in touch with one federal agency, which is the General Services Administration's transportation group, and they do a lot of freight movement and transportation. They have formally joined SmartWay and have engaged several hundred carriers, and there's executive order for the greening of the supply chain, and they have encouraged other Federal agencies to participate. If any Federal or State agencies are on the line and are interested, I would encourage them to send me an e-mail. We do want to work with our sister agencies and we have had various overtures, but it's very difficult to work through the bureaucracy to get an agreement struck to have them join the partnership. But we do work towards that. Please send me information if you are interested in learning more.

Jennifer Symoun
Can you break out the emissions and fuel conservation data my geographic location?

Denise Kearns
Insofar as a partner's headquarters could define that. I'm not 100% sure that it would be a fair depiction. Trucks travel all over, so it would be geographic but I'm sure there'd be concerns about how accurate that would be or how you would spread that out without getting more information on the routes traveled by the trucks.

Jennifer Symoun
Does SmartWay collaborate with the U.S.-Mexico border areas, per Sylvia's presentation today?

Denise Kearns
I believe we have been working to some degree on the border issues. I know we've had some discussions about clean trucks moving back and forth across the border.

Sylvia Grijalva
Right, and just to add in, yes. We did have a presentation on SmartWay at our Greening Transportation at the Border workshop in February. Also, there is a member of the JWC from the EPA who moves us in that direction.

Jennifer Symoun
Denise, there's a comment from someone at EPA asking you to make sure to mention the DERA competitive national RFP that should be out any day now for $20 million nationwide for diesel emissions reduction, retrofits, repowers, TSE, and electrification of vehicles and equipment.

Denise Kearns
We can certainly post that information, maybe in follow-up.

Jennifer Symoun
There is a web address listed there as well. I think we had another question for Sylvia. You mentioned that all states are represented on the JWC. Do you have a list of State representatives?

Sylvia Grijalva
I do. All of the Border States, and there are 10 of them: four on the U.S. and six on the Mexican side. They are on our website, which is www.borderplanning.fhwa.dot, or just Google the US-Mexico Joint Working Committee, and they will come up. There is a members section there and everybody's listed from both sides of the border. If you want someone in particular or if you are interested in a state in particular, ask me and I will tell you the name of that state or agency's representative.

Jennifer Symoun
Will the input data for emission modeling (MOVES, EMFAC and M6-Mexico) be made available as a deliverable with the study?

Denise Kearns
Yes, anything that we use should be included in that study.

Jennifer Symoun
Thank you. Now I'll go back to some questions for Joe. Do you know of any program researching barriers to TSE usage? I've been trying to understand why facilities are underutilized.

Joe Zietsman
We've done a couple of studies where we interviewed the actual truckers and operators and asked them why they were using it or not using it, and we learned quite a bit from that. For example, some truck drivers told us that their companies don't support using TSE, and some smaller companies thought they would lose money if they paid for that type of equipment or technology. Some of them frankly said they don't like it. I'm now talking about those who don't use it. They say they're so used to the noise of the truck engine that they sleep much better if they can listen to the idling of their truck. Those are the kinds of answers that we got, and I could also refer you to Linda Gaines of Argonne National Labs. She's done some work on some of those reasons as well.

Jennifer Symoun
Can you explain why the two tested APUs had converse performance with the hot and cold test? Is there information somewhere on what APUs perform better under hot vs. cold conditions?

Joe Zietsman
I think the answer to the question is that the APU has two components. One part is the power source, which is the diesel engine, and the other component is the actual AC unit or heating or cooling unit that it drives. I think what happens there is that the efficiency of the heating and cooling device that these APUs drive differ, and sometimes, for example, when it provides heating, it's more efficient than the other units. I think that is why we saw a flip of the data. For the second part of the question, we are just beginning to scratch the surface in terms of getting data together on the APUs. One can wait until more data is available - we continue to do testing for EPA - or one can talk to the individual manufacturers, but often what they provide is under very easy and mild conditions. What we are doing in our environmental test chambers is putting it to the extremes. Often these devices can hardly keep up with the requirement to keep the cabin at 73 degrees.

Jennifer Symoun
Do you have any plans to test using a more recent base year truck to compare APU emissions to engines with after-treatment control devices?

Joe Zietsman
That's a great point; for example, the SCR (selective catalytic reducer) that is now available on 2011 and a newer trucks. That is what we're doing currently in the next phase of the study. We are getting some of those trucks to develop baselines for new trucks. We are also testing APUs that have GPS to see how they handle the particulates. So yes, we are currently doing that.

Jennifer Symoun
What priorities do you see for future research related to TSE?

Joe Zietsman
Regarding this whole idling reduction technology work, I think to do a little bit more thorough study on the health impacts. Someone brought up that topic. I think it's very important. Economic was brought up too, and I think that's very important. Obviously, we need more testing so that we can have more data so that we can make better comparisons. I think another issue is regarding technology. What are the impacts of using these devices with diesel particulate filters, maybe fuel cells - there are some APUs lately that are coming out that use fuel cells. Those are all areas that we need to get into.

Jennifer Symoun
We will go back to you, Denise. Is there any work going on regarding TSE obstacles at rest areas with regard to placing units?

Denise Kearns
I know that there have been some things going on, but I can't speak to that.

Joe Zietsman
I think it probably varies from area to area. I can't imagine any obstacles per se. I can imagine that if the economics is not working out too well for the suppliers then it's difficult for them to stay in business, as we have seen with some companies in the past. Looking from the perspective of the truck driver, you idle away close to a gallon of fuel per hour, and that's more than $4. If you pay $2 per hour not to have to idle, then it seems to be fairly straightforward economics that you should be doing it. As I have pointed out, there are some reasons why people don't do it currently.

Sylvia Grijalva
I know that there are some restrictions that FHWA has where you can't charge certain things at rest areas, and that might be an obstacle. I know that happened here in Arizona where that was an obstacle of utilizing some of that technology.

Denise Kearns
I think as Joe says, sometimes it's just habit. As fuel costs go up, I think these obstacles, unless they are imposed for some reason, will quickly go away.

Jennifer Symoun
We have another question that I will put out to all the presenters. Has anyone looked at the effectiveness of idle reduction and fuel reduction devices/technologies on other types of vehicles, such as school/transit buses (i.e. low-resistance tires)?

Joe Zietsman
We looked at alternative fuels for construction equipment and school buses. We also did quite a bit of work on trucks, which is not different types of vehicles, on SmartWay technologies where we looked at eco-driving, alternative fuel, and a few other SmartWay-type approaches. That's about the extent of the other types of vehicles that we have looked into at TTI.

Jennifer Symoun
Would TSE be appropriate for rest areas where parking is limited to a few hours at most vs. overnight parking at private truck stops?

Joe Zietsman
Related to that, we looked very carefully at the Port of Houston and a few others sea ports where one would think that trucks could stop for enough time and you could apply TSE. Our conclusion was that just because the durations were too short, a stationary type of application wouldn't work well. Trucks spend quite a bit of time at public rest areas. They often over-night there, so that's fine for this kind of application, but when you get to things like border crossings and ports, the investigations we have done seem to show that it's really not ideal and it's very difficult to make it feasible.

Tom Kearney
I have a question for Denise. You mentioned SmartWay and some of the outreach you have had with the American Trucking Associations. Has there been any engagement with the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OIDA)?

Denise Kearns
We do work with them and have worked with them in the past on small trucking issues. We have reached out to independent truck drivers as well. I believe OIDA at one time was a recipient of one of our grants to provide information to the small trucking drivers, so we are engaged with the small driving community as well.

Jennifer Symoun
Joe, going back to the previous questions where we talked about other types of vehicles, someone asked you could give more information on construction vehicles?

Joe Zietsman
We did two projects on construction equipment. One is wrapping up now. It is under EPA's Emerging Technology grant work. That was looking at SCR, the NOx reducer, and how well that would work for construction equipment. We tested several types of equipment and we used two devices on the construction equipment before and after the SCR, so under the same operation measure we measure the improvement in NOx due to SCR. The other study we did was at our facility at Texas A&M University where, on a runway, we had construction equipment doing the same work over and over, it was motor graders that we used there, and we tested some fuel additives and hydrogen enrichment products.

Jennifer Symoun
In terms of commercial vehicle electrification facility installation, do you feel there has been a threshold reached in terms of momentum of the adoption of these types of installations so that they will continue to be installed in an accelerating fashion?

Joe Zietsman
Personally, I think the logic of wasting so much fuel will prevail. I think this is something that will expand. Someone mentioned that the health benefits have not even really been looked at, and I think if you do the true economics on what the benefits are associated with cleaning up the air not only at the truck stop but also in the cabin, I think there will be enough momentum behind this that I can see it expanding.

Jennifer Symoun
At this point, I don't see any additional questions, so I will go ahead and start closing. If you think of additional questions, feel free to type them in and I will go back to them. I would like to thank everyone for attending today's seminar. I'd also like to thank our three presenters as well as Abby Swain from the EPA, who has helped by typing in responses in the chat box. The recorded version of today's seminar will be available in the next week or two.

Actually, I do see a question that just came in, so I will go back to the questions. It says Joy, "I am a member of a local transportation association. One large trucking company in our association has complied with the CA requirement of using auxiliary sources to not idle trucks while parked, which was a large amount of money. Their concern with complying is that there is no enforcement, such as when their drivers park for their rest period, many other trucks just idle. Is enforcement going to be studied as part of the equation?"

Joe Zietsman
Yes, that's a great question. Even in addition to monitoring these idle reduction technologies, we are involved in the Austin area with looking at some idle policies where they say after 5 minutes, you need to shut down. The question is do people really shut down? We went underground and went to these truck stops and different places where idling takes place and just observed. That's one thing. The other thing is, when enforcement is visible, the behavior changes totally. It's very true, and I think we all know that if there is no enforcement then it is not going to be done, but if enforcement kicks up it will happen and all the costs associated with that. Thinking out loud, another big area that should be studied is the issue of behavior. I think there's so much that can be learned from behavior and how people would change their behavior and on what basis. I think that's another topic that needs to be addressed as well.

Jennifer Symoun
Denise, a question for you: could SmartWay help fleets meet California regulations requiring accelerated fleet replacement/upgrade?

Denise Kearns
SmartWay is a voluntary program, and certainly California has been very keen on the developments and progress that SmartWay has helped to facilitate in the marketplace. Under our new greenhouse gas rule, there are early reduction/replacement incentives in place, so I would think if there's anything that could help to support that, there would be some parallel in our greenhouse gas rule. Certainly, in as far as SmartWay has been instrumental in supporting and encouraging the development of technology within the marketplace on an independent, voluntary basis, is will support whatever California is trying to accomplish.

Jennifer Symoun
Again, I don't see any other questions, so I will continue to close out. As I mentioned, the recording and presentations from today will be available in the next two or three weeks on the Talking Freight website, and I'll send out a reminder once they're available.

As a reminder, if you are an AICP member and would like to receive 1.5 Certification Maintenance credits for attending this seminar, please make sure you were signed in today with your first and last name or type your first and last name into the chat box if you are attending with a group of people. Please download the CM Credit instructions if you are unsure of how to obtain your credits for today's seminar. Please download the evaluation form and email it to me after you have completed it. We're especially looking for ways we can improve upon Talking Freight for the future. We've been doing these seminars for almost 9 years now using the same format, and we want to make sure they continue to be of interest to the attendees.

The next seminar will be held on May 16 and will be on the Impacts of Heavy or Oversize Truck Shipments on the U.S. Highway Network. Please visit the Talking Freight web site shown on the slide on the screen to register for this webinar.

I also encourage you to join the Freight Planning LISTSERV if you have not already done so. The LISTSERV is the primary way we advertise Talking Freight, and it's also used to share freight information among over 1,000 members.

Thank you to our presenters, and thank you to everyone who attended. I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Updated: 05/10/2012
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000