Research Areas

Consumer Demand and Behavior

In this subject, research is aimed at providing meaningful insights into differing (across fuel pathways) and changing (over time) citizen/consumer response to different ways of fueling mobility. Consumer perceptions of current transportation issues, such as fuel economy, “green” vehicles, and future trends are analyzed. A variety of investigations into the forces driving markets for alternatively fueled vehicles—such as costs, innovation, and consumer behavior—are actively being studied the Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways initiative.

Research Leader: Ken Kurani, David Bunch


Infrastructure System Analysis

The goal of this research is to develop a detailed understanding of production facilities and infrastructure at different scales for biofuels, electricity, hydrogen, conventional, and unconventional liquid fuels using tools and models being developed including geographical information systems (GIS), mathematical programming tools, and engineering economic models for infrastructure components. This research also includes an assessment of key inputs such as water, energy resources, electricity, and land.

Research Leaders: Christopher Yang, Yueyue Fan


Energy, Environment, and Cost Analysis

Considerable research effort has been devoted to the analysis of energy cycle emissions of hydrogen and alternative fuels for use in transportation. In this research program, previous studies of lifecycle emissions and energy use are compared and differences explicitly specified. Energy use and emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases are analyzed for each alternative fuel pathway. This research features the incorporation of alternative fuel vehicles into the current Advanced Vehicle Cost and Energy Use model (AVCEM) and Lifetime Emissions Models (LEM), as well as the Social Cost Calculator (SCC).

Research leaders: Alissa Kendall, Richard Plevin


Innovation and Business Strategy

Policy and Business Strategy researchers are developing an understanding of the role of the policy process on the potential transition to an alternative fuel-based transportation system. The research contains a number of projects focused on: the policy process surrounding alternative fuels; evaluation of policy alternatives and their likely implications for the transition; and the development of business strategies for an alternative fuel based economy. Researchers are employing a variety of tools to assess these complex issues including policy development frameworks, microeconomic theory and modeling.

Research Leaders: Amy Myers Jaffe, Andrew B. Hargadon


Vehicle Technology Evaluation

This research centers on developing models of the driveline components and simulation of advanced vehicle operation on appropriate driving cycles. Research also assesses the effects of fuel requirements and availability on advanced vehicle development across the different fueling methods studied in the STEPS Program. Mathematical modeling tools allow researchers to make cross comparisons between conventional and alternative fueled vehicles in order to assess performance, fuel economy, and emissions production.

Research Leaders: Andy Burke Hengbing Zhao


Integrative Scenarios

The objective of this research is to incorporate quantitative results from a range of STEPS projects to develop integrated, self-consistent and insightful scenarios of possible transportation futures.  The quantitative models applied within this research will vary in complexity, but they are likely to be of two types: bottom-up or top-down.  The bottom-up VISION model (from Argonne National Lab) is currently being applied to evaluate the introduction of AFVs Nationally and in California.  A second potential bottom-up model is the MARKAL model. As the STEPS Program evolves, a top-down or economic model may also be incorporated to support scenario development (such as the NEMS, MINICAM, BEAR or AMIGA models, or a Systems Dynamics model such as HyDIVE).

Research Leaders: Joan Ogden, Sonia Yeh, Lew Fulton, Christopher Yang


Policy Analysis

We are developing an understanding of the role of the policy process on the potential transitions to alternative fuel-based transportation systems. Research contains projects focus on the policy process surrounding alternative fuels and evaluation of policy alternatives and their likely implications for the transition. Researchers employ a variety of tools to assess these complex issues, including policy development frameworks, microeconomic theory and modeling.

Research Leaders: Daniel Sperling, Sonia Yeh, Julie Witcover


Mobility and Travel Behavior

This area of research focuses on how individuals’ attitudes, values, and preferences affect their travel behavior in different communities. Personal travel behavior can be influenced by a multitude of factors including, but not limited to personal and household characteristics, work schedule, distance, etc. Along with these factors, and many others, travel is also dependent on mobility. Thus, it is also important to consider other factors that can affect mobility, such as infrastructure availability, urban elements, transport modes available, etc. Understanding travel behavior as well as personal mobility will allow for a better understanding of different individuals’ transportation patterns.
Research Leader: Susan L. Handy, Caroline Rodier