Environment and Transportation
Cambridge Systematics is deeply committed to sustaining our environment and conserving natural resources – ensuring that a healthy environment and top quality transportation services go hand in hand. Our environmental initiative assists communities and transportation agencies in planning and implementing sustainable transportation systems that will meet the needs of our growing economy while contributing to a better environment. Our environmental practice focuses on two primary areas:
- Supporting state and local agencies in integrating environmental and climate change considerations into planning, policy, and project-level decisions; and
- Supporting transportation climate change policy, mobile source greenhouse gas emissions analysis and reduction strategies, and climate impact and adaptation assessments.
- Transportation Climate Change Policy and Planning – Cambridge Systematics’ extensive policy work with Federal and state agencies integrates climate change considerations into agencies’ strategic policy development – addressing GHG mitigation as well as preparing for the effect of climate change. Critical Cambridge Systematics analysis on these issues will inform upcoming national legislation, such as authorization of the next surface transportation bill as well as potential energy legislation, and will assist transportation agencies as they develop effective state and local policies. Cambridge Systematics supported the creation and implementation of the U.S. DOT Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting (in 1999). We coordinated the planning process and drafted the Center’s first strategic plan, identifying research priorities in both GHG emissions reduction as well as impacts and adaptation.
This interdisciplinary study, conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, analyzed the potential impacts of climate change on each modal network and overall transportation services in the study area. A recent article in the Times-Picayune (New Orleans) featured the Gulf Coast Study work.
- Mobile Source Greenhouse Gas Emissions Analysis and Reduction Strategies – Cambridge Systematics has extensive expertise with the full range of transportation analysis techniques, such as demand forecasting/travel behavior, transportation demand management, operations, and air quality analysis. This expertise provides a strong foundation for our GHG emission analyses. Cambridge Systematics currently is conducting a national-level, multistakeholder study of the effectiveness of GHG reduction strategies, such as road pricing, land use policy, transit improvements, commuter choice, carpooling, freight measures, intelligent transportation systems (ITS), operational improvements, and regulatory measures. Cambridge Systematics has conducted GHG emissions reduction analyses for the government of Prince Edward Island, Canada; the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; and the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management. We currently are supporting several states in developing mobile source strategies for their Climate Action Plans.
- Climate Impact and Adaptation Assessments – Cambridge Systematics is a leader in assessing the potential impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure, operations, and long-range planning and investment. Our approach integrates region-specific environmental trend information, climate model scenarios, and key transportation data to assess risks from climate factors and consider adaptation strategies. Cambridge Systematics supports agencies in addressing potential climate change in their planning and investment decisions – helping to ensure that the investments we make today will result in reliable and robust transportation networks for decades to come. We led U.S. DOT research on the risks of climate change to transportation in the Gulf Coast, conducted as part of the U.S. Climate Science Program. View our Hot Issue for more information on this topic.
- Integrated Transportation and Environmental Planning and Project Development – Cambridge Systematics has strong technical credentials in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental studies, coupled with exceptional capabilities in transportation planning. This expertise allows Cambridge Systematics to provide seamless support to clients from planning through project development. At the project level, we conduct specialized studies for NEPA analyses and develop NEPA documentation. Cambridge Systematics works with clients to successfully incorporate environmental factors early in the process, as part of scenario and long-range planning, to achieve high-quality environmental and transportation results while addressing new Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) requirements. Cambridge Systematics currently is developing guidance on linking planning and NEPA for the Florida and Montana Departments of Transportation (DOT) and is facilitating Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)-sponsored workshops across the country that bring together transportation and environmental resource agencies to explore how to better coordinate conservation and transportation planning.
This strength in integrated planning is complemented by Cambridge Systematics’ capability to develop decision support tools and processes (information, management, GIS, visualization tools) to help improve the overall project development, delivery, and management process. Cambridge Systematics developed a prototype Environmental Information Management System that was recently endorsed for next phase development through the AASHTOWare program.
- Air Quality – Cambridge Systematics has worked with state, Federal, and local clients to meet air quality challenges for more than 30 years. We have provided technical assistance to the FHWA and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states, metropolitan planning organizations (MPO), and city agencies with respect to the planning, design, analysis, and evaluation of transportation control measures (TCM) to help nonattainment areas meet ambient air quality standards. We provide innovative strategies for TDM, emissions inventory, conformity, monitoring, vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) forecasting, market-based measures, cost-effectiveness analyses, emissions trading, vehicle inspection and maintenance (I/M) programs, Clean Air Act lawsuits, and GHG emission reductions. As air quality issues continue to evolve, we respond to clients’ changing policy and technical needs, addressing such as issues as air toxics, freight emissions, and public health.
- Freight and Environment – Cambridge Systematics is a leader in the field of intermodal freight. For more than 20 years, we have helped public and private sector clients address trucking, rail, air, and marine freight issues to develop innovative freight projects and strategies that reduce impacts and are environmentally sensitive. Cambridge Systematics is developing the next generation of integrated freight and environmental policies, programs, and planning tools. We help our clients identify critical issues, provide state-of-the-art data and analytical tools, and build effective public-private partnerships. Our freight services include environmental impact statements, feasibility studies, and market research; emission reduction strategies (including greenhouse gas analyses); climate risk assessment; ITS technologies and port security strategies; and integrated land use and freight planning.
- Land Use – Coordinated transportation and land use can achieve significant mobility and environmental benefits. Strategies such as infill, transit-oriented development (TOD), and walkable communities can reduce vehicle-travel, energy use, and emissions of criteria pollutants and GHG emissions by 20 to 30 percent or more. Cambridge Systematics helps clients overcome technical and institutional barriers to achieve innovative solutions that fit their communities, drawing on our analysis of best practices nationwide. We support state and local agencies in regional planning and visioning, developing effective corridor and statewide planning and management policies, and designing transit-supportive land use policies. Cambridge Systematics has developed and applied land use forecasting methodologies ranging from qualitative and sketch-plan approaches to integrated travel demand and land use modeling.
Why Cambridge Systematics
In today’s world, transportation leadership and environmental stewardship are integrally connected. Transportation leaders are working to fully integrate environmental strategies into transportation decisions in creative ways that effectively contribute to a healthy environment for generations to come. Cambridge Systematics has a proven track record in successfully taking on new challenges – we are well recognized as a leader in transportation policy and strategy development in all areas of transportation practice and on the cutting edge of climate change and other emerging environmental issues. Grounded in transportation excellence, Cambridge Systematics has the technical capabilities and tools needed to synthesize environmental data, assess performance needs, and build strong, integrated environmental and transportation programs that will carry us into a sustainable future.