Sustainable Transportation Systems Program (STSP)

The Sustainable Transportation Systems Program (STSP) aims to improve transportation energy efficiency and reduce emissions through roadway design, traffic operations, and community design and planning.

The programs strives to advance the use of sustainable fuels, technologies, and energy efficient transportation modes; increase understanding of the economic and environmental impacts of renewable fuels and encourage use of sustainable transportation energy sources; and investigate economic models that encourage more efficient passenger and freight movement.

Research Focus Areas


  • Assuring adequate infrastructure to support first (grain) and second (cellulose) generation biofuels industries
  • Evaluating and mitigating the impact of biofuel production and distribution on transportation infrastructure, including pavements, gravel roads, structures, and railroads
  • Studying cellulostic biofuels industry inbound and outbound logistics from harvest to final consumer markets
  • Using biofuels industry co-products and by-products to improve transportation infrastructure
  • Researching multimodal transportation logistics systems for the bioeconomy (highways, railroads, waterways, and pipelines)
  • Assessing the fuel efficiency and emissions of biofuels
  • Determining fiscal impact of biofuels production and use on the transportation system

Sustainable community development and design

  • Increasing the quality of public transportation and encouraging cycling and walking facilities, services and environments
  • Encouraging sustainability in community design and vision to bring people and their needs closer together, and to make cities more vibrant and walkable

Transportation efficiency and air quality

  • Improving the efficiency of automobile use, such as using more fuel efficient vehicles, driving more efficiently, avoiding cold starts, and car pooling
  • Improving the efficiency of commercial vehicle traffic such as the use of idling reduction technologies and better route planning
  • Using telecommunications to reduce or replace physical travel, such as tele-commuting or tele-shopping
  • Reducing fuel use and emission through roadway design and traffic operations
  • Incorporation of complete streets and green streets concepts in Iowa urban design standards. (Joint effort with Statewide Urban Design and Specifications)
  • Modeling microscopic vehicle activity as input to modal emissions modeling
  • Assessing the air quality impacts of transportation strategies

Other transportation environmental impacts

  • Researching roadway water run-off and water quality issues
STSP Staff

Jing Dong-O’Brien

Shauna Hallmark