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Measure for Measure: Using the Energy Utility Model to Standardize Evaluation of Transportation Efficiency Measures

As the environmental and financial costs of conventional gasoline become more apparent, there is growing interest in the concept of transportation efficiency. Broadly, this concept involves using less energy to meet current travel demand and often employs a systems-level approach. The transportation sector has much to learn from the electric and thermal energy sectors, where demand management strategies have used established screening tools to assess the environmental and financial benefits of efficiency measures for years. Adoption of such screening tools may be ideal for the transportation sector as electric vehicles (EVs) bring these two sectors together. We present an example of how the Vermont State efficiency screening tool can be used to evaluate a transportation measure: a switch from a conventional vehicle to an electric vehicle. The screening tool results demonstrate that the estimated cost benefits of electric vehicles varies from -$15,911 to $24,645, depending on the model of EV, miles driven annually, and externalities considered, among other factors. The cost effectiveness of EVs was improved by including avoided health costs due to reduced tailpipe emissions. More broadly, our results show that cost-effectiveness screening tools used within the electric and thermal energy sectors provide a meaningful way to assess potential gains in transportation efficiency and can be used for evaluation of other transportation efficiency measures (such as bicycle and walking infrastructure, transit, etc.). Use of such screening tools will aid in communication and collaboration between the energy and transportation sectors, while facilitating a systems-based approach to transportation planning and demand management.

This abstract appears with the permission of the Transportation Research Board. For the complete paper, please visit http://pubsindex.trb.org

Justine Sears, Karen Glitman & Greg Fanslow. 2013. Measure for Measure Using the Energy Utility Model for Standardized Evaluation of Transportation Efficiency Measures. Transportation Research Record, No. 2375.

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Measure for Measure: Using the Energy Utility Model to Standardize Evaluation of Transportation Efficiency Measures


  • Karen Glitman - VEIC
  • Justine Sears - VEIC
  • Greg Fanslow - VEIC


  • Transportation Efficiency
  • Energy Planning
  • Program Review, Design & Implementation
  • Policy & Regulatory Support
  • Emerging Technologies