What do improved and cross-compared economic/environmental/transportation/energy models tell us about the future of sustainable transportation?
Motivation & Value:
STEPS develops a wide range of models and related tools to conduct research and create future scenarios. This research area will increase the focus on innovative tool development, validation—including a review of previous modeling results from today’s perspectives to learn and improve models—and comparison with other existing methods. These activities will directly support priority research activities but also serve as an independent effort to assess the state of modeling and improve modeling practices in the area of sustainable transport, with a geographic scope that includes California, the U.S. and the world.
Key Research Questions:
- What do existing models at the California, U.S. and international levels tell us about different possible energy and transportation futures and the paths to those futures?
- How have the forecasts and models of market adoption of new vehicle and fuel technologies developed during the STEPS 2007–2010 and NextSTEPS 2011–2014 programs performed relative to their actual market penetration? What lessons can be learned and applied to improve our future models and forecasts?
- How do model projections and scenarios compare and what can we learn from each?
- How can a wide range of diverse and divergent scenarios/modeling outcomes be used to help inform decision-making and policy design in the face of significant uncertainty? Are there robust strategies that we can identify?
- What assumptions are being made and which ones matter most? What metrics of change over time are required to assess the comparative likelihood of alternative energy pathways, including one dominated by shale oil and gas, meeting sustainability goals and timelines?
- How can we improve our own scenario making and use our own models in a better fashion to help us assess policies?