Program Objectives:

  • Improve transportation energy efficiency and reduce emissions through roadway design, traffic operations, and community design and planning
  • Advance the use of sustainable fuels, technologies, and energy efficient transportation modes
  • Increase understanding of the economic and environmental impacts of renewable fuels and encourage use of sustainable transportation energy sources
  • Investigate economic models that encourage more efficient passenger and freight movement

Research focus areas


  • Assuring adequate infrastructure to support first (grain) and second (cellulose) generation biofuels industries
  • Evaluating and mitigating the impact of biofuel production and distribution on transportation infrastructure, including pavements, gravel roads, structures, and railroads
  • Cellulostic biofuels industry inbound and outbound logistics from harvest to final consumer markets
  • Use of biofuels industry co-products and by-products to improve transportation infrastructure
  • Multimodal transportation logistics systems for the bioeconomy (highways, railroads, waterways, and pipelines)
  • Assessing the fuel efficiency and emissions of biofuels
  • Fiscal impact of biofuels production and use on the transportation system

Sustainable community development and design

  • Increasing the quality of public transportation and encouraging cycling and walking facilities, services and environments
  • Encourage sustainability in community design and vision to bring people and their needs closer together, and to make cities more vibrant and walkable

Transportation efficiency and air quality

  • Improving the efficiency of automobile use, such as using more fuel efficient vehicles, driving more efficiently, avoiding cold starts, and car pooling
  • Improving the efficiency of commercial vehicle traffic such as the use of idling reduction technologies and better route planning
  • Using telecommunications to reduce or replace physical travel, such as tele-commuting or tele-shopping
  • Reducing fuel use and emission through roadway design and traffic operations
  • Incorporation of complete streets and green streets concepts in Iowa urban design standards. (Joint effort with Statewide Urban Design and Specifications)
  • Modeling microscopic vehicle activity as input to modal emissions modeling
  • Assessing the air quality impacts of transportation strategies

Other transportation environmental impacts

  • Roadway water run-off and water quality issues