Energy Analysis and Sustainability
The U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s Energy Analysis and Sustainability Division focuses on the intersection between energy and transportation.
Our team works with transportation leaders to investigate and support the expansion of transportation energy sources, reduce transportation energy use, and improve transportation energy assurance with the goal of advancing toward a more resilient and sustainable transportation system.
We provide innovative, impactful, energy-related transportation analyses, support, and solutions for sponsors such as FAA and FHWA, other federal agencies including the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Defense (DOD), and state, city, and private sector entities such as New York City and the Santos Family Foundation.
Applied Data Science
- Statistical and analytical modeling of transportation, environmental, and human resources data (including “big data”) for safety, environmental performance, and equity
- Custom modeling tools and interactive performance dashboards
- Application of artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning and natural language processing, to enhance tools and analyses
- Scenario analyses for multimodal supply chains and resilient infrastructure options
- Building energy analyses and reporting on energy and resource use
- Policy development for energy resilience solutions and sustainability
- Sustainability policy development and implementation for federal facilities and operations
Environmental Analysis, Science, and Engineering
- Natural hazards and extreme weather modeling and analyses
- Risk and impact analyses on criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, air, water, and soil use and quality, land use change, ecosystem function, and biodiversity and wildlife
- Engineering assessments including technology readiness level evaluations and failure mode and effects analysis expertise, trade-off assessments, and deployment experience
- Micro-grid expertise, facility, and transportation operations energy use, as well as efficiency, emissions analyses, and procurement assistance
- Impact analyses of infrastructure technology on employment, commuting, and freight operations
- Sustainability program development and implementation to increase energy and water efficiency, reduce waste, transition to net-zero buildings and carbon-pollution free electricity, and increase resilience to changing climate conditions
- Nature-based solutions to promote biodiversity and enhance resilience to changing climate conditions, including design and installation of pollinator gardens for federal facilities and bio-swales to reduce flood risks
Safety and Security Assessments
- All-hazard analyses including natural hazards, crash hazards, multimodal conflicts, technology hazards, and military hazards
- Combined transportation technology assessments for emission-reduction performance and safety effects
- Comprehensive program evaluations, risk assessments, and mitigation strategies
- Transportation access analyses for rural and urban residents
- Impact assessments for vulnerable communities
- Statistical analyses of equity in hiring processes and workforce management
Spotlight On Our Recent Work
Our division has developed and deployed transportation infrastructure and flow analysis tools to support transportation practitioner scenario exploration.
- The Freight and Fuel Transportation Optimization Tool (FTOT) for supply chain scenario optimization, infrastructure scenario exploration, and resilience analyses.
- The Resilience and Disaster Recovery (RDR) Tool Suite to estimate resilient infrastructure return-on-investment, including benefit-cost analysis (public release expected Summer 2022).
- The VIEW vehicle blind zone tool for relative assessment of the blind zones of vehicles, relative potential risk to vulnerable road users, and a crowdsourced, scalable database.
Energy Source Evaluation and Deployment
Our division works with a range of sponsors and public-private partnerships in the areas of alternative fuel and energy source evaluation, clean fleet transition planning, alternative fuel corridor designations for clean fleets, and technical facilitation and training throughout the country for advanced technology deployments. Examples include:
- Supporting the new Joint Office of Energy and Transportation created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
- Supporting DOE’s Clean Cities Program with technical facilitation and training throughout the country for fuel and advanced technology vehicle and infrastructure deployments
- Supporting FHWA in implementing the Alternative Fuel Corridor Designation Initiative
- Supporting NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services and City of Cambridge in technical and market feasibility assessment, operational analysis, and developing a Clean Fleet Transition Plan with the goal of eliminating fleet emissions over time through electrification and fuel efficiency technologies
- Providing strategic and technical support for FAA’s Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative and the Aviation Sustainability Center (ASCENT) Center of Excellence in the development, assessment, and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels
- o Providing technical support to FAA’s participation at the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization regarding the use of sustainable aviation fuels and lower carbon aviation fuels under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation
Our division works with federal, local, and nonprofit sponsors and partners on innovative approaches to improving safety for Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs) engaged in active transportation, including through development of novel tools, technology and market assessment, and support for early deployment. Examples include:
- Supporting the Safe Fleet Transition Plan technology assessment, program development, and deployment support for multiple New York City departments for NYC Vision Zero
- Supporting Santos Family Foundation in assessing vehicle blind zone risks to vulnerable road users—from a driver’s seat in 10 minutes, using only a smart phone, tape measure, and five-foot pole—and assessing potential countermeasures to address large vehicle risks for VRUs
- Developing clean, safe urban freight analyses for various sponsors, including FHWA, City of Boston, Together for Safer Roads, and the National Association of City Transportation Officials
Our division works with several sponsors to provide technical and programmatic support for federal sustainability requirements that apply to DOT facilities and operational assets. Examples include:
- Providing policy analysis for the development of U.S. DOT Sustainability Orders to convey policy and assign responsibility to ensure that the Department and its Operating Administrations meet all applicable federal sustainability requirements
- Providing strategic and technical supporting for the the development of U.S. DOT Sustainability Plans and Climate Action Plans outlining goals and implementation actions
- Performing data synthesis, analysis, and performance reporting for federal sustainability and climate resilience requirements
Meet Our Team
Selected staff biographies.
David A. Arthur, PE
Chief of Energy Analysis and Sustainability
MEng Automotive Engineering, University of Michigan
BS Mechanical Engineering, Pennsylvania State University
As chief of the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s Energy Analysis and Sustainability Division, David A. Arthur manages more than a dozen highly specialized technical research staff leading or supporting projects in sources, uses, and assurance of transportation energy. He is also a Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) organizational process leader for the U.S. DOT Volpe Center and the lean and process improvement lead for its Business Enterprise Office.
Arthur provided support to the U.S. Air Force, where the U.S. DOT Volpe Center created a decision-making tool that analyzed numerous energy architectures and strategies for Beale Air Force Base. He also provided similar support to the Hampton Roads region, where the U.S. DOT Volpe Center developed an economic model for assessing impacts from recurrent flooding and extreme weather to the transportation infrastructure.
In addition to overseeing resilience projects, Arthur provides automotive engineering expertise to NHTSA-sponsored projects on automotive safety and software. He has co-authored numerous publications—including reports on wireless power transfer and the functional safety of steer-by-wire, brake/traction, and electric power-steering systems—and has moderated panels including a session at a past Conference on Electric Roads and Vehicles.
Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2012, Arthur spent 14 years in the private sector, where he was an inventor or co-inventor on 23 patents in the areas of hydrogen fuel cells and battery hybridization strategies. He was also a program chief engineer at United Technologies for an automotive fuel cell program and a stationary flow battery energy storage program for micro-grids. At General Motors, Arthur spent 11 years in various roles, including as lead systems engineer on the fuel cell program, as a regenerative braking engineer for the EV1 electric vehicle, and as a chassis engineer for the Precept hybrid-electric vehicle.
Environmental Protection Specialist
Master’s of Forestry, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
BA East Asian Studies, Wesleyan University
Andrew Breck joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2011. Applying a dual background in the natural and social sciences, he analyzes data to support strategic decisions, plans, and policies for a variety of customers. Breck’s work addresses diverse topics, including sustainability, energy, safety, resiliency, and social equity. He currently works primarily on high-performance sustainable buildings and other resource efficiency topics for MARAD, alternative fuels and vehicles for FHWA, data quality for FMCSA, and planning and asset management for NPS.
Breck has also developed resource management plans for a variety of clients, proposing options and weighing the costs and benefits of each approach. His analyses focus on monetary as well as non-monetary costs and benefits, such as ecosystem services and social outcomes. One example of a relevant transportation application for this type of analysis is assisting transportation agencies in evaluating methods for managing the right-of-way real estate that they own and maintain for safety, aesthetics, asset preservation, and other desired values.
MA Energy and Environmental Analysis, Boston University
BS Environmental Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Stephen Costa supports a variety of projects focused on the role of transportation as both an element of energy supply and end-use. These include interagency collaborations to advance the production, transport, and distribution of alternative fuels, as well as the expansion of alternative fuel infrastructure and end-use adoption of alternative fuel and advanced energy technology vehicles. His recent efforts have assisted programs and initiatives at U.S. DOT’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST-R), DOE’s Vehicle Technologies and Bioenergy Technologies Offices, FHWA, and other DOT modal administrations and state agencies.
Before joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2006, Costa worked at DOE for more than six years. There he supported and led a range of energy efficiency and alternative fuel programs targeted at public and private partners in fleet management, building administration, and domestic manufacturing, as well as the public and consumers.
Costa was awarded a U.S. DOT Secretary’s Award for Excellence for his demonstrated leadership, breadth of knowledge, and extensive efforts in promoting Departmental initiatives on energy security and environmental stewardship in 2008.
Alexander K. Epstein, PhD
PhD Engineering Sciences, Harvard University
SM Applied Physics, Harvard University
BS Engineering, Olin College
Alexander K. Epstein, PhD joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2011, where he oversees transportation energy sustainability and vehicle-based safety projects spanning local, state, and federal transportation agencies. He leads a portfolio of vehicle innovation research and implementation initiatives with public- and private-sector fleets, develops industry and nonprofit partnerships to demonstrate and assess technologies, and leads or supports coordinated research in support of FMCSA, NHTSA, and other U.S. DOT Operating Administrations, linking local deployment with federal stakeholders and best practices. Epstein directly supports a number of Vision Zero initiatives across the U.S. to reduce vulnerable road user and other traffic fatalities, as well as fleet, airport, and other building decarbonization initiatives.
Current focus areas include partnering with fleet operators to develop a Safe Fleet Transition Plan framework to systematically identify, prioritize, and implement fleet-level safety best practices, as well as advancing development and use of the Clean Fleet Transition Tool for optimizing future fleet emissions targets and achievable implementation roadmaps. Previously, Epstein helped apply a risk-based decision tool for U.S. Air Force energy resilience that informed energy architectures and strategies at Beale Air Force Base, and he led development of an open-source climate data scenario planning and analysis tool now widely adopted by NPS.
Epstein is a two-time recipient of the U.S. DOT Secretary’s Award for Excellence, and in 2016, he received the Federal Laboratory Consortium’s Excellence in Technology Transfer Award—U.S. DOT’s first in seven years.
Dan F.B. Flynn, PhD
PhD Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University
BA Biology, Oberlin College
Dan Flynn, PhD is a data scientist with 15 years of experience in quantitative research on transportation safety, land use, and environmental science. His research projects span across modes, using statistical tools to derive insights from and create compelling visualizations of complex data sets.
Flynn supports the Office of the Undersecretary for Policy at U.S. DOT by piloting machine learning and predictive modeling of police-reportable crashes in near real-time using crowdsourced data. He also serves as a technical lead for the development of an innovative statistical model to assess the safety of motor carriers in the U.S. for FMCSA.
Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Flynn was a research scientist in sustainability and global change, working at Harvard University, the University of Zurich, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has taught courses on environmental science, sustainable energy solutions, and data science solutions using open-source statistical programming languages.
Environmental Protection Specialist
MS Environmental Studies, Antioch University New England
BA Peace and Justice Studies, Tufts University
Peter Herzig joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2014 as a student intern and joined the Energy Analysis and Sustainability Division as an environmental protection specialist later that year. Since joining the division, he has provided technical and coordination support for the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) as the program specialist. Herzig also provides geospatial analysis and project management support for a variety of transportation infrastructure projects. He is an active participant in the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s Green Week, and he led the 2015 winning Innovation Challenge team that proposed a visualization and screening tool designed to help U.S. DOT and other agencies efficiently integrate national social and transportation data into planning and operations to ensure that transportation and other public services are available to users in all communities. Herzig also manages multiple projects through his role as a contracting officer’s representative.
Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Herzig worked on several projects aimed at the corporate adoption of responsible business practices for a more sustainable global economy. He is a Marine Corps veteran, having served in Iraq as an intelligence analyst and a security specialist at the U.S. Embassies in Zambia, the Dominican Republic, and Turkey.
MS Civil and Environmental Engineering (Concentration in Systems Engineering), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
BS Management Science, BS Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Kirby Ledvina joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s Energy Analysis and Sustainability Division in 2021 after interning with the division the previous summer. She supports diverse projects in the areas of sustainability, supply chain optimization, and transportation asset management.
Prior to the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Ledvina was a graduate research assistant with the MIT Data Science Lab, where she designed and computationally tested customer-sharing schemes for delivery vehicle routing. Previously, she also supported research in environmental economics and climate policy as a member of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. Ledvina’s work in modeling countries’ energy and emissions trajectories under the Paris Agreement was presented at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018. She is an accredited LEED Green Associate and a certified Tableau Desktop Specialist.
Kristin C. Lewis, PhD
Principal Technical Advisor for Energy Analysis and Sustainability
PhD Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
BS Chemistry and Environmental Studies, Yale College
Kristin Lewis, PhD serves as part of our team of principal technical advisors who work across the Center to identify emerging transportation technologies, conduct analyses and assessments on topics of national significance, and explore new opportunities in response to evolving national concerns. She serves as the principal technical advisor for energy analysis and sustainability. Read Kristin Lewis’s full bio.
BS Mechanical Engineering Technology, Northeastern University
Scott Lian joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2003, supporting safety codes and standards development for hydrogen as a transportation fuel and subsequent research, demonstration, and deployment activities of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, including the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Program. Products include a Fuel Cell Bus Lifecycle Cost Model.
He provides ongoing technical support for the deployment of alternative fuels in public transportation fleets serving NPS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and state and local parks. Lian brings nearly two decades of expertise in vehicle technologies, fueling (or charging) systems, fleet operations, and safety. NPS support includes a technical analysis of alternative transit fleet fuels and transition strategies for battery-electric bus deployment at the Presidio National Historic Park, a guide for Alternative Transportation Systems – Vehicles and Supporting Infrastructure, and a feasibility analysis for new fleet maintenance infrastructure at Cape Cod National Seashore. For FWS, he led an evaluation of commercially available electric low-speed vehicle trams.
As technologies and mobility continue to progress, Lian is supporting OST-R by leading a U.S. DOT Volpe Center team in a cross-departmental collaborative research initiative with partners at DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), examining automated, connected, efficient, and shared mobility systems while identifying gaps in research, metrics, and data. The project has forged strong collaborative relationships between U.S. DOT Volpe Center and NREL staff, who are working together to consider future transportation systems and the increasing connectedness between transportation and energy.
Program Support Specialist
BS Business Administration (Emphasis in Administrative Systems and Management), Concord University
Gretchen Reese joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2020 as a program support specialist in the Energy Analysis and Sustainability Division. In this role, she administratively supports the division with general clerical tasks and planning. Reese also provides general support to specific projects within the division.
Reese joined U.S. DOT Volpe Center after completing two years in the Peace Corps serving in northern Uganda. During her service in Uganda, she worked with her host organization to perform needs assessments and introduce projects to address the community’s identified needs. Reese’s main project during service was perma-culture and nutrition to address the lack of availability and access to vegetables during the prolonged dry season of the region. Other projects she worked on include farming as a business, community health events, and literacy promotion in village schools.
Transportation Project Engineer
BS Mechanical Engineering, University of Maine
Michael Scarpino provides planning and management support for programs and activities that promote improved energy-related technologies and practices in the transportation sector. Since joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2013, his primary focus is providing support for interagency initiatives supporting fleet and end-user transitions to alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies, as well as the development of the supporting fueling infrastructure. Scarpino’s current responsibilities involve providing technical and programmatic support to FHWA and DOE for various alternative fuel initiatives and activities, such as FHWA’s Alternative Fuel Corridor Designation Initiative and DOE’s Clean Cities Program.
Prior to working for the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Scarpino worked for 16+ years at DOE supporting the Clean Cities Program. Responsibilities included facilitating the efforts of the national Clean Cities coalition network to increase the use of alternative fuels and vehicles through the development of public-private partnerships. While serving as the team lead project manager, he oversaw the administration of a portfolio of projects and program support contracts totaling over $860 million in annual appropriations and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for transportation-related projects.
Scarpino’s 30+ year federal career includes working for 12 years as a nuclear engineer for the Department of the Navy’s Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire and DOE’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
MS Environmental Policy, Drexel University
BA Environmental Studies, Green Mountain College
Phone: 617 494 3021
Hayden Smith joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2022 as a policy analyst in the Energy Analysis and Sustainability Division, supporting climate risk analysis and resiliency planning for FAA among other projects. Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Smith served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in Philadelphia, creating a regional network of colleges and universities to collaborate on advancing sustainability goals. Smith also participated in the Regional Climate Governance and Adaptive Management Working Group of the Climate Resilience Research Agenda team, organized by the Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast in 2021.
Smith earned an MS in Environmental Policy with a concentration in Environmental Science from Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA) in 2021 and a BA in Environmental Studies from Green Mountain College (Poultney, VT) in 2017.
Erika A. Sudderth, PhD
PhD Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
BS Biochemistry and Cell Biology (Minor in Environmental Studies), University of California, San Diego
Erika Sudderth, PhD joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2014 after completing post-doctoral research at Brown University and University of California, Berkeley. Her research combined field experiments, biochemical analysis, and statistical modeling to understand the effects of global change on ecosystem function. Sudderth also taught university courses in environmental statistics and biological computing.
At the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Sudderth manages a variety of projects in the areas of data science and energy analysis. She leads teams that develop innovative analytical approaches for data initiatives that inform U.S. DOT policy and support traffic safety applications for state and local partners. Sudderth also supports the DOT Energy Resource and Efficiency Program and MARAD to meet federal energy efficiency targets and complete related reporting requirements. In addition, she has supported ARPA-E renewable energy programs by assessing potential environmental effects of a new tidal energy technology and transportation applications of novel solar energy technologies.
Shortly after joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Sudderth helped develop dose-response relationships for effects of aircraft noise on national park visitors as part of the Air Tour Management program for FAA and NPS.
Amity Wilczek, PhD
PhD Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
AB Biology, University of Chicago
Amity Wilczek, PhD joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s Energy Analysis and Sustainability Division in 2021. She provides analytical and statistical expertise for a variety of projects, drawing on her background in natural and environmental sciences, mathematical and statistical modeling, and science communication and education. At the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Wilczek’s work to date has focused on climate resilience (with the Energy and Resource Efficiency Program and FAA) and equity (with the Departmental Office of Civil Rights).
Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Wilczek spent more than 20 years working as a researcher and educator. Her work on plant responses to changing environments has appeared in many scientific journals including Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Ecology, American Naturalist, and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Wilczek’s teaching career started at Harvard and Brown before transitioning to Deep Springs College in eastern California, where she served for more than 10 years as Herbert Reich Chair of Natural Sciences, Academic Dean, and Vice President.
Kevin Zhang, PhD
PhD Operations Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
BA Mathematics, BS Statistics, Yale
Kevin Zhang, PhD joined the U.S. DOT Volpe Center in 2020 as a data scientist in the Energy Analysis and Sustainability Division. He provides technical support on projects related to resilience of transportation networks, supply chain optimization, and roadway safety. Zhang also provides support on a project modeling driving behavior in interactions between human-driven vehicles and connected and automated vehicles.
Prior to joining the U.S. DOT Volpe Center, Zhang received a doctorate in operations research at MIT. His research focused on developing analytical models for the real-time calibration of traffic simulators. He also worked previously as an operations research analyst at an analytics consulting firm in Boston.