Informing Emerging Mode Choice Decisions Through a Carbon Impact Calculator

Project ID: CTEDD 022-08

Author(s): Andrea Hicks, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Co-Author(s): Soyoung Ahn, University of Wisconsin - Madison

CTEDD Funding Year: 2022 General RFP

Project Status: In Progress


Transportation contributes 29% of annual greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, with light duty vehicles, such as those used by commuters, contributing 59% of transportation related emissions. There is significant potential to empower commuters to consider the environmental impact of their mode choice when selecting among different options. Although some carbon calculators do exist for transportation, they are often gasoline automobile centric and do not include emerging transportation technologies (such as e-bikes, electric vehicles, and hybrids, etc.), nor do they allow the users to compare multiple modes for single trip, nor do they allow the users to mutually compare multiple modes for single trip at the instance of travel at the same time.

The proposed work will collaborate with industry and community partners to produce a stakeholder informed calculator for the carbon intensity of trip mode comparisons, to inform commuter choice.  We will utilize pre and post application adoption surveys to better understand how the provided environmental impact data shifted mode choices and travel behavior. The specific objectives of the project are:

  1. Determine the use phase greenhouse gas emissions for modes of transportation on a per mile basis,
  2. Create web-based calculator for the greenhouse gas emissions of different modes of transportation, and
  3. Utilizing a pre- and post-survey evaluate how mode choice and travel behavior has changed due to the environmental impact knowledge.

We will work with partners to inform the creation of the smartphone app and for distribution of the app.