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Climate Change, Air Quality, and Sustainability Analysis Tools

Most DOT discretionary grants include selection criteria associated with climate change. Although criteria may differ among grant programs, a strong application in this area generally consists of two core components: reducing transportation greenhouse gas emissions (also called greenhouse gas mitigation, climate change mitigation, or decarbonization) and incorporating climate adaptation and resilience features.

This page provides resources for measuring transportation greenhouse gas emissions and air quality impacts, and incorporating climate adaptation and resilience features as they relate to a proposed project.

CMAQ Emissions Calculator Toolkit

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Emissions Calculator Toolkit provides projections of emissions reductions association with various types of transportation projects, including pedestrian improvements, electric vehicle and alternative fueling infrastructure, managed lanes, and adaptive traffic control. The spreadsheet-based tools can assist DOTs, metropolitan planning organizations, and project sponsors in justifying how certain transportation improvements could reduce emissions. The toolkit features a separate spreadsheet tool for each type of transportation improvement.

User Guide: Each individual spreadsheet includes a separate user guide, but the site also offers a general CMAQ Data Dictionary that is relevant to all types of infrastructure improvements.

Identifies: The CMAQ Emissions Calculator Toolkit identifies projected emissions reductions.

Access the CMAQ Emissions Calculator Toolkit.

Energy Emissions Reduction and Policy Analysis Tool (EERPAT)

FHWA’s Energy and Emissions Reduction Policy Analysis Tool (EERPAT) is a screening tool to compare, contrast, and analyze various greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction policy scenarios for the transportation sector at a state level. It estimates GHG emissions from surface transportation, accounting for both fuel and electric vehicles.

User Guide: Users can access a README file for information on using the tool.

Identifies: Greenhouse gas reductions.

Limitations and Notes: The EERPAT tool relies on a script written in R. Users need to have the R software on their computer, though users can download R as free and open-source software. Note that users with limited experience in statistical coding may find the tool difficult to use.

Access the Energy and Emissions Reduction Policy Analysis Tool


Screenshot of the EnviroAtlas web user interface.

EnviroAtlas is an interactive web-based tool developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that decision-makers can use to inform policy and planning in the places where people live, learn, work and play. EnviroAtlas provides geospatial data, easy-to-use tools, and other resources related to ecosystem services, their chemical and non-chemical stressors, and human health.

EnviroAtlas data and resources can be used in a range of projects, from regional to local scales. The site is designed for use by any individual, government, or organization with an interest or curiosity about the environment. It requires no special expertise or software to use and includes diverse data from a variety of disciplines and sources.

User Information: Visit How to Use EnviroAtlas for guidance, demonstration videos, webinar recordings, example uses, and educational modules.

Identifies: This resource identifies health, climate, and equity impacts to help tell a compelling grant narrative.

Access EnviroAtlas.

Infrastructure Carbon Estimator

The Infrastructure Carbon Estimator (ICE) Version 2.1 is a spreadsheet tool that estimates lifecycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions from the construction and maintenance of transportation facilities. The Minnesota Department of Transportation maintains the tool.

User Guide: For additional information on how to use the tool, visit MnDOT’s greenhouse gas emissions analysis page.

Identifies: This tool identifies greenhouse gas and energy use.

Access the Infrastructure Carbon Estimator

Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map

Screenshot of the Potential Storm Surge Flooding user interface showing a map of Houston, Texas, and the nearby Gulf of Mexico, with bands of land along the coast and inland identified with a risk of flooding greater than 9 feet above ground.
Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map is one possible tool applicants could use to estimate flood risk potential. The map provides information that enables users to make decisions related to the protection of life and property from storm surge flooding of normally dry land.

The map is a product of the National Hurricane Center, which provides valuable information on the potential of storm surge flooding. The map targets areas along the Gulf and East Coast of the United States at risk from storm surge during a tropical cyclone event.

User Information: More information is available in a Product Description Document.

Identifies: The Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map shows geographical areas where inundation from storm surge could occur and how high above ground the water could reach in those areas.

Limitations and Notes: The potential storm surge hazard is not depicted within certain levee areas.

Access the Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map

Social Vulnerability Index

Screenshot of the Social Vulnerability Index user interface showing a map of the United States with areas of high vulnerability shaded in purple and areas with low vulnerability shaded in light yellow.
Social Vulnerability Index

The Social Vulnerability Index developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) includes databases to help emergency response planners and public health officials identify and map communities that will most likely need support before, during, and after a hazardous event.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) integrates the CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Social Vulnerability Index into its National Risk Index dataset and interactive mapping tool. The National Risk Index tool enables public health professionals, emergency planners, and the general public to understand their risk to 18 natural hazards.

User Information: More information on social vulnerability can be found by visiting CDC/ATSDR SVI Publications & Materials.

Identifies: Social vulnerability refers to the potential negative effects on communities caused by external stresses on human health. Such stressors include natural or human-caused disasters or disease outbreaks. Reducing social vulnerability can decrease both human suffering and economic loss.

Access the Social Vulnerability Index.

Transit Bus Electrification Tool

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Transit Bus Electrification Tool is a Microsoft Excel-based spreadsheet that allows users to estimate the partial lifecycle GHG emission savings associated with replacing standard bus fleets with low-emission or zero-emission transit buses.

User Guide: Access the Transit Bus Electrification Tool User Guide or watch the brief video tutorial for a step-by-step demonstration on how to use the Transit Bus Electrification Tool to estimate the GHG emissions savings from zero-emission fleet conversion scenarios.

Identifies: This tool identifies projected GHG emissions savings associated with replacing standard bus fleets.

Access the Transit Bus Electrification Tool

Transit Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimator

FTA’s Transit Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimator is a spreadsheet-based tool that allows users to estimate the partial lifecycle GHG emissions generated from the construction, operation, and maintenance phases of a project across select transit modes. Users input general information about a project, and the Estimator calculates annual GHG emissions generated in each phase.

User Guide: See the Transit Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimator v3.0 User Guide.

Identifies: This tool calculates projected greenhouse gas emissions by project phase.

Access the Transit Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimator


Disclaimer: This curated list of federal data and mapping tools is maintained on the DOT Navigator website as a secondary source and does not supersede primary materials issued by each USDOT Operating Administration. USDOT does not promote one resource over another. Accordingly, please work directly with the USDOT Operating Administration managing the BIL discretionary grant program for specific guidance.