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The Role of Light Duty Vehicles in Future Air Pollution: A Case Study of Sacramento

UCD-ITS-RP-10-17

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Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS)

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Suggested Citation:
Wang, Guihua (2010) The Role of Light Duty Vehicles in Future Air Pollution: A Case Study of Sacramento. Transportation Planning and Technology 33 (6), 541 - 549

On-road light-duty vehicles (LDVs) play an important role in contributing to urban air pollution. Although vehicles are getting cleaner, regional growth in vehicle population and vehicle miles traveled would somewhat offset California’s efforts in transportation pollution reduction. To better understand the role of LDVs in future air pollution, we conduct a case study for Sacramento, California, and investigate future trends in urban air pollution attributable to the light-duty fleet. Results indicate that ambient concentrations of CO, NOx, and total organic gases (TOGs) caused by future light-duty fleets would dramatically decrease over coming years. The resulting concentrations in 2030 might be as low as approximately 20% of the 2005 concentrations. These reflect the improvements in vehicle/fuel technologies and standards in California. However, the future particulate matter (PM10) pollution could be slightly worse than that caused by the 2005 fleet. This is a result of the growing fleet-average emission factors of particulates from 2005 to 2030. For purposes of future particulate control, more attention needs to be paid to LDVs, besides  heavy-duty vehicles.