Air Quality

The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) require Metropolitan Planning Organizations within non-attainment areas to perform air quality conformity determinations prior to the approval of Transportation Plans and Transportation Improvement Programs to ensure consistency between transportation activities and federal air quality goals. MPOs, and the local governments they serve, benefit most from the promotion of on-going activities in this field. NARC seeks to foster that information exchange by providing the following resources.

NARC Air Quality Toolkit:

NARC’s Air Quality Toolkit is a resource designed to assist regional councils of government and MPOs with educating staff, constituents, and local elected officials in the latest on federal air quality regulation. The toolkit includes information on the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), additional training resources from US EPA and FHWA on transportation conformity, as well as a number of other air quality related updates.

National Ambient Air Quality Standards:

The 1990 CAAA requires EPA to set NAAQS for six pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment. The Clean Air Act established both primary and secondary standards to protect public health and welfare. The Clean Air Act requires periodic review of the science upon which the standards are based and the standards themselves. In addition to NARC’s Air Quality Toolkit, the following resources are available:

Transportation Conformity:

Transportation conformity is required by the Clean Air Act section 176(c) (42 U.S.C. 7506(c)) to ensure that federal funding and approval is given to highway and transit projects that are consistent with (“conform to”) the air quality goals established by a state air quality implementation plan (SIP). Conformity, to the purpose of the SIP, means that transportation activities will not cause new air quality violations, worsen existing violations, or delay timely attainment of the national ambient air quality standards.

MOVES (MOtor Vehicle Emissions Simulator):

EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ) continues to develop and refine the MOtor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES). This emission modeling system is intended to estimate emissions for mobile sources covering a broad range of pollutants and allow multiple scale analysis. MOVES currently estimates emissions from cars, trucks & motorcycles. Technical guidance on MOVES can be found HERE.

Additional Resources:

NARC, U.S. FHWA and U.S. EPA conducted a series of workshops to tackle the most pressing challenges in balancing healthy air and transportation investments.  NARC has compiled the contents of fourteen workshops held between 2001 and 2009 into one document that will prove to be useful to regional councils and metropolitan planning organizations nationwide. You may find the workshop summaries as well as a resource guide HERE.

The Congressional Research Service has published the report, The Clean Air Act: A Summary of the Act and its Major Requirements. Click HERE to view the report.

Need more help? Request a peer exchange through U.S. FHWA HERE.

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