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RIT to study air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the Great Lakes region
Date:10/22/2007

Reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the Great Lakes region due to freight transportation requires a little creativity and a serious look at sustainabilityways of protecting the environment without slowing the economy.

A team of professors at Rochester Institute of Technology recently won a $60,000 grant from the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute to determine whether marine shipping makes more sense from an environmental perspective than alternative modes of moving freight. The study will compare and contrast different modes of transportation in the Great Lakes regionroad, rail and shippingbased on cost, energy use, emissions and time-of-delivery.

We will build a computer model that will allow analysts to evaluate emissions from shipping within the Great Lakes and to compare those emissions with alternative transportation routing in the Great Lakes region, says James Winebrake, chair of science, technology and society/public policy at RIT.

The study will help identify ways to enhance sustainable shipping on the Great Lakes by identifying environmentally friendly shipping alternatives that will likely include marine components, Winebrake says.

The software will assess the carbon footprint of different modes of transportation and allow analysts to explore economic and environmental tradeoffs associated with using one form of transportation instead of another. A mapping component will allow the user to see different routes evolve based on different criteria.

Our approach is like a MapQuest for freight, but instead of evaluating shortest distance routes, we can also evaluate routes that minimize carbon emissions, regional pollutants, or costs, says Scott Hawker, assistant professor of software engineering at RIT.

Policy analysts and shippers will benefit from this software, as will planners weighing decisions that will influence freight flow.

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Contact: Susan Gawlowicz
smguns@rit.edu
585-475-5061
Rochester Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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