The transport sector is one of the largest and the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel burning in the LAC region (Latin America and the Caribbean). Transport also is the leading cause of air pollution in most Latin American cities, causing premature deaths, increased morbidity and other public health concerns, as well as other significant social and economic impacts.

Effective climate action is incomplete without addressing the overall system performance of the transport sector. Understand, assess and acknowledge the importance of sustainable transport interventions to reduce GHG and local air pollutant emissions is a significant step to mobilize decisions and resources, facilitate stakeholder dialogue, build public support and prioritize investments.

To scale up interventions in sustainable transport, a common framework for assessing impacts of reducing local and global pollution of policies, programs, and projects is required. Currently, there is still a lack of coherent, consistent and applicable methodologies for assessing such impacts from transport interventions. In addition, there are limitations on available and consistent data to evaluate climate and air pollution impacts of transport and related investments. Data collection systems are also limited. Furthermore, appraisal of transport interventions is usually based on limited and fragmented visions as a result of the lack of such a common assessment framework.

The Clean Air Institute is implementing the Regional Project of the Sustainable Transport and Air Quality Program (STAQ Program), funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the World Bank. One of the objectives of the Regional Program is to help LAC cities to develop abilities as well as to identify and apply tools to evaluate impacts of their transport interventions.

Within this context, the Clean Air Institute has commissioned a study to develop a widely consulted framework to assess transport interventions in terms of their GHG and local emission impacts, as well as to evaluate and recommend a set of methodologies and models to this end. The objective of this assignment is to prepare a practical guide oriented to clients for selecting and using the most adequate methodologies to determine CO2 and local criteria emissions from on road transport to satisfy requirements for:

a) Carrying out ex-ante CO2 emissions and local pollutants estimations of transport interventions. These are characterized by being required as part of an intervention’s approval process. They are performed before funding approval and disbursement. They typically respond to the question of what global and local air emission benefits can be expected to accrue due to the proposed intervention. They are often required to forecast “with-project” emissions and compare these to a counterfactual “without-project” reference case.

b) Supporting the development of mobile sources emission inventories. These are characterized as an analysis of the global and local air emissions from on road transport within a predefined geographical area and period of time. The geographical area and time period may be mega-, mesa-, or micro-scale. The geographical area could have an upper bound of national level and a lower bound of a specific intersection. The time period could cover from a few minutes to a year.

c) Measuring and evaluating change in CO2 emissions and local pollutants from transport interventions. These are characterized as a practical analysis of completed interventions to determine their real-life benefits in terms of a reduction in global and local air emissions as compared with an alternate development scenario. These respond to the question of what global and local air emission benefits in reality accrued due to the intervention. These are characterized by being a comparison of measured “with-project” emissions as compared to a back-cast counterfactual “without-project” reference case.

As part of this study, a consultation process has been established to provide feedback and nurture recommendations on a common assessment framework and a set of methodologies and models to be proposed for its use in medium and large LAC cities. This workshop forms part of such consultation process, bringing together leading experts and practitioners on transport, air quality, climate change and related issues.

Knowing how transport interventions impact on the amount of CO2 and local pollutant emissions is an important step in the evaluation process, but it is not always the final goal. Therefore, part of the workshop will also be dedicated to approaches and methodologies to determine the relationship between emissions, air quality and health impacts as well as their monetary quantification.

Workshop objectives

This workshop aimed to discuss and provide feedback and recommendations on the preliminary results of the study commissioned by the Clean Air Institute. These include frameworks, methodologies and models to assess the impacts of transport interventions on air pollution, greenhouse gases and related issues.

Workshop participants provided comments on the interim products of the GEF funded work and made recommendations for next steps of the research agenda. In particular, during this workshop key experts and practitioners were invited to provide active participation, and were expected to:

  • Give inputs for the development and enhancement of a practical guide to select methodologies to assess impacts on climate change and air pollution emissions from transport interventions.
  • Provide feedback on the ongoing methodology review and help to complete it.
  • Discuss the usefulness, opportunities, challenges and needs to implement the practical guide.
  • Assess the adequacy of frameworks, methodologies, and models in relation to information, local analytical capacities and decision making and other usefulness.
  • Identify significant issues and experiences with using the frameworks, methodologies and models in Latin American cities.
  • Identify priority areas for further work on the proposed methodologies as well as potential collaborative efforts.
  • Discuss approaches and methodologies to determine the relationship between emissions, air quality and health impacts as well as their monetary quantification and identify further work needed.

This workshop was part of the GEF Regional Sustainable Transport and Air Quality Program. It has been made possible thanks to the GEF and World Bank support, as well as to a generous grant from the Spanish Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean (SFLAC).

Workshop structure

The workshop was structured in two days:

Day 1, Activities of day 1 concentrated in reviewing, discussing and proving feedback on the ongoing methodology review and the practical guide on the selection of methodologies. The first part of the day aimed at providing a common understanding and language for discussion, as well as an update on the status of the study and other initiatives. This was followed by the presentation of the three main types of methodologies, a discussion on the common elements of each of them, i.e. activity, vehicle characteristics and emission factors as well as the view of practitioners on the usefulness of the exercise, their main needs, opportunities and challenges.

Day 2, started with revised versions of the key elements of the study based on the inputs of Day 1. It continued with a series of discussion panels on modeling impacts of emissions and air quality, and measuring health impacts. These two panels provided a comprehensive overview of the impacts of air quality and greenhouse gases on the environment and population. Next, a set of two discussion panels lead on one the hand on how to value impacts in economic terms, as well as tools for prioritization. On the other hand, a panel discussed how the discussed methodologies could be used to support project financing. A final panel was dedicated to the discuss usefulness, opportunities and challenges of an integrated assessment of air quality and climate change implications of transport interventions.