Using simulation to estimate vehicle emissions in response to urban sprawl within Geauga County, Ohio

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Abstract

Urban sprawl often leads to rapid expansion and haphazard developments of low density residential land uses that are spatially disjoined. Populations occupying these new developments are expected to contribute to increased traffic volumes and vehicle emissions through increased home-work journeys. Computer simulation is one of few feasible approaches to model projected trends of local communities to understand how they evolve and better plan their future courses. The VERTUS model was developed as a planning tool to estimate vehicle emissions in response to urban sprawl. The model is specific towards estimating vehicle emissions at the local and highway levels during the home-work journey. The model was applied to Geauga County, Ohio to estimate how an increase in housing over a 20-year period from 2000-2020 will influence vehicle emissions generated. Results indicate that emissions are currently highest in the western part of the county where the greatest number of households is located. This geographic distribution remains when emissions are estimated for growth in housing. While additional housing translates to more vehicle emissions, this research found that differences exist among the county's individual municipalities in terms of emissions generated. In several instances, municipalities with a smaller growth in housing generate a greater amount of emissions than a municipality with a larger growth in housing. These differences result from variations in the commuting characteristics of each municipality's residents and provide insight into how household travel patterns relate to vehicle emissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-66
Number of pages15
JournalOhio Journal of Science
Volume109
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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