The introduction of hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) to gradually replace gasoline internal combustion engine vehicles can provide environment and energy security benefits. The deployment of hydrogen fueling infrastructure to support the demonstration and commercialization of FCVs remains a critical barrier to transitioning to hydrogen as a transportation fuel. This study utilizes an engineering methodology referred to as the Spatially and Temporally Resolved Energy and Environment Tool (STREET) to demonstrate how systematic planning can optimize early investments in hydrogen infrastructure in a way that supports and encourages growth in the deployment of FCVs while ensuring that the associated environment and energy security benefits are fully realized. Specifically, a case study is performed for the City of Irvine, California - a target area for FCV deployment - to determine the optimized number and location of hydrogen fueling stations required to provide a bridge to FCV commercialization, the preferred rollout strategy for those stations, and the environmental impact associated with three near-term scenarios for hydrogen production and distribution associated with local and regional sources of hydrogen available to the City. Furthermore, because the State of California has adopted legislation imposing environmental standards for hydrogen production, results of the environmental impact assessment for hydrogen production and distribution scenarios are measured against the California standards. The results show that significantly fewer hydrogen fueling stations are required to provide comparable service to the existing gasoline infrastructure, and that key community statistics are needed to inform the preferred rollout strategy for the stations. Well-to-wheel (WTW) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, urban criteria pollutants, energy use, and water use associated with hydrogen and FCVs can be significantly reduced in comparison to the average parc of gasoline vehicles regardless of whether hydrogen is produced and distributed with an emphasis on conventional resources (e.g., natural gas), or on local, renewable resources. An emphasis on local renewable resources to produce hydrogen further reduces emissions, energy use, and water use associated with hydrogen and FCVs compared to an emphasis on conventional resources. All three hydrogen production and distribution scenarios considered in the study meet California's standards for well-to-wheel GHG emissions, and well-to-tank emissions of urban ROG and NOX. Two of the three scenarios also meet California's standard that 33% of hydrogen must be produced from renewable feedstocks. Overall, systematic planning optimizes both the economic and environmental impact associated with the deployment of hydrogen infrastructure and FCVs. © 2010 Professor T. Nejat Veziroglu.