Over $5M awarded to UBC Engineering research advancing climate change mitigation
December 7, 2022
Two UBC Engineering research projects that aim to understand and quantify transportation emissions in Canada are receiving over $5 million in funding from the Government of Canada.
The Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund, administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada, is allocating:
- $2,433,660 to Dr. Amanda Giang and Dr. Patrick Kirchen from UBC’s department of mechanical engineering for their project on urban freight system emissions to improve mitigation planning; and
- $2,852,500 to Dr. Mahmudur Fatmi, from UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering, for his project on integrated development of innovative data, models and a community outreach tool for decarbonizing passenger transportation in urban and rural regions.
The funding was part of a $58-million announcement by the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, for 24 research projects taking place across Canada. The projects will strengthen Canada’s science capacity to identify, accelerate, and evaluate mitigation actions towards achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in Canada.
These five-year projects were announced by Environment and Climate Change Canada on November 22.
Both UBC Engineering projects aim to analyze current transportation emissions in BC, to support governments and industries looking to make greener choices.
Dr. Giang and Dr. Kirchen’s project will target freight transport—a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution—to understand real-world emissions via marine, road and rail channels.
“People who live along key transport routes are exposed to more pollution, which can have serious long-term consequences for their health,” said Dr. Giang. “Addressing freight transportation isn’t only a question about addressing climate change, it’s also an issue of local air pollution and disparities in human exposure.”
Nine government and industry partners are involved, demonstrating the keen interest from planners across the province and Canada.
“Government and industry need improved data and tools to support planning for freight decarbonization in the near (2030) and long term (2050),” said Dr. Kirchen. “In this project, real-world data integrated into decision-support tools will inform which new technologies and future fuels are best at reducing emissions, and worth investing in to scale upwards.”
Parallel to this, Dr. Fatmi will examine the passenger transportation sector, leading an interdisciplinary team of UBC researchers. Collaborating with 14 government and industry partners, they will assess the impact of travel behaviour changes and strategies like work-from-home and mobility pricing on transportation-related emissions.
Researchers will compare transportation data between a large urban region (Metro Vancouver) and a smaller/medium-sized region (Central Okanagan) in BC, and share results with the public.
“Our travel behaviour is changing — more today than ever before. With multiple unknowns at play, we need tools to quantify these changes and their implications on emissions, congestion and density, in order to make sustainable planning decisions,” said Dr. Fatmi. “These findings will help governments in Canada and around the world make realistic plans to meet their emissions reduction targets.”