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Energy Analysis and Sustainability

(Wikimedia Commons / Photo 1: skinnylawyer / Photo 2: TheDigitel Myrtle Beach / Photo 3: Spsmiler)

Volpe’s Energy Analysis and Sustainability Division evaluates the technical feasibility, environmental sustainability, and safety of advanced vehicle and fuel technologies from a multimodal, system-wide perspective.

We work with transportation leaders to guide policies and regulations that reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Our team specializes in three key areas of expertise:

  • Technology evaluation: Researching and evaluating advanced vehicle and fuel technologies with a focus on technical feasibility, environmental sustainability, safety, efficient integration, social benefits, and costs.
  • Policy development and implementation: Providing assistance to leaders to help them develop and implement national policies and regulations that promote reductions in transportation energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Safety and sustainability:  Evaluating the risks and benefits of technologies and policies designed to promote environmental sustainability, while maintaining or enhancing transportation system safety.


  • Regulatory analysis
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Alternative fuel assessment
  • Measurement and modeling
  • Risk assessment
  • Policy development and implementation support
  • Sustainability system application and development (e.g., green rating systems, high performance sustainable building practices)
  • Greenhouse gas accounting and reduction system development
  • Refined building energy modeling (e.g., DOE’s EnergyPlus)

Sample work

Alternative fuels:

  • Led research for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI).
  • Assisted FAA in developing a fuel readiness evaluation tool for new, alternative jet fuel.
  • Evaluated the feasibility of transporting alternative jet fuels over the current transportation network.
  • Developed a national model for evaluating alternative fuel transport patterns, costs, and impacts.
  • Provided research and insight to the DOT Deputy Secretary for the Department’s intermodal alternative fuel road-mapping efforts.


  • Assisted transportation facility operators in making their buildings and operations carbon neutral.
  • Helped FAA develop a requirement to implement sustainable buildings for airport and air traffic facilities.
  • Partnered with MassDOT on the Carbon Neutral Airport Pilot Program.

Technology and safety

  • Assisted in developing regulations requiring truck manufacturers to reduce energy use.
  • Aided National Park Service in evaluating and procuring advanced technology vehicles for passenger transport and park maintenance.
  • Administered pilot tests of alternative fuel vehicles.
  • Helped FAA author new regulations for pilot work hours.


View selected staff biographies.

Updated: Tuesday, October 20, 2015
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