Document Type


Date of Award



College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (COSET)

Degree Name

MS in Transportation Planning & Management

First Advisor

Lei Yu


In most cities, there are multiple routes available that satisfy traveling on a specific origin-destination (O-D) pair of a traffic network. Motorists typically choose to travel a route that will yield the shortest travel time, which is usually by highways/freeways. This study explores the effects of choosing alternative 0-D routes on vehicle emissions in Houston, Texas. Field studies were conducted to examine if traveling on the alternative O-D routes yield lower emissions in light-duty vehicles; and if so, based on what road characteristics. Two analyses were conducted: a suburban analysis and an urban analysis. Both analyses have a base route and at least one alternative route. By driving on each route, instantaneous speed and acceleration of vehicles were collected on a second-by-second basis using Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. Then, for each second-by-second data, the Vehicle Specific Power (VSP) value was calculated. Total emissions for each route and emission rates of operating mode bins were estimated using the operating mode binning approach provided by the Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES). Based on the results, it was concluded that traveling on alternative routes does emit less emissions during certain periods of the day.