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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Policy Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy

There are 21 publications in this collection, published between 2018 and 2024.
Policy Briefs (7)

The effects of equitability policies on the ZEV market: Evidence from California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project

California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP) is the largest zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) incentive program in the United States. This policy brief summarizes how changes to the CVRP incentive structure may have affected California's ZEV market.

  • 1 supplemental PDF

Mobility Data Sharing: Challenges and Policy Recommendations

Dynamic and responsive transportation systems are a core pillar of equitable and sustainable communities. Achieving such systems requires comprehensive mobility data, or data that reports the movement of individuals and vehicles. Such data enable planners and policymakers to make informed decisions and enable researchers to model the effects of various transportation solutions. However, collecting mobility data also raises concerns about privacy and proprietary interests. We argue that a middle-ground approach, in which data are shared in specific contexts and managed by a trusted third party, can capture the benefits of data sharing while minimizing risks. This brief provides an overview of the top needs and challenges surrounding mobility data sharing and presents relevant policy strategies.

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Issue Papers (7)
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Reports (7)

Equitable Congestion Pricing

Congestion pricing can be an equitable policy strategy. This project consisted of a review of case studies of existing and planned congestion pricing strategies in North America (Vancouver, Seattle, and New York) and elsewhere (Singapore, London, Stockholm, and Gothenberg). The analysis shows that the most equitable congestion pricing systems include 1) a meaningful community-engagement processes to help policymakers identify equitable priorities; 2) pricing structures that strike a balance between efficiency and equity, while encouraging multi-modal travel; 3) clear plans for investing CP revenues to equalize the costs and benefits of congestion relief; and lastly, 4) a comprehensive data reporting plan to ensure equity goals are achieved. This project was developed to support the San Francisco County Transportation Authority in its efforts to conduct the Downtown Congestion Project.

Driving California’s Transportation Emissions to Zero

The purpose of this report is to provide a research-driven analysis of options that can put California on a pathway to achieve carbon-neutral transportation by 2045. The report comprises thirteen sections. Section 1 provides an overview of the major components of transportation systems and how those components interact. Section 2 discusses the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on transportation. Section 3 discusses California’s current transportation-policy landscape. These three sections were previously published as a synthesis report. Section 4 analyzes the different carbon scenarios, focusing on “business as usual” (BAU) and Low Carbon (LC1). Section 5 provides an overview of key policy mechanisms to utilize in decarbonizing transportation. Section 6 is an analysis of the light-duty vehicle sector, section 7 is the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sectors, section 8 is reducing and electrifying vehicle miles traveled, and section 9 is an analysis of transportation fuels and their lifecycle. The following sections are an analysis of external costs and benefits: section 10 analyzes the health impacts of decarbonizing transportation, section 11 analyzes equity and environmental justice, and section 12 analyzes workforce and labor impacts. Finally, future research needs are provided in section 13. The study overall finds that cost-effective pathways to carbon-neutral transportation in California exist, but that they will require significant acceleration in a wide variety of policies.

  • 2 supplemental PDFs

Improving the Transfer of Knowledge from Scientists to Policy Makers: Best Practices and New Opportunities to Engage

Many scientific projects are intended to inform public policy, however there are often difficulties transferring or translating research from scientists to policy makers. This paper reviews the existing literature on the quality of communication between scientists or field experts and policy makers and the challenges they face in conveying their research. A majority of best practice recommendations related to effective communication are rooted in anecdotal evidence and have not yet been subjected to systematic scientific study. This is, in part, because the nature of public policy makes data collection, randomization, or correcting for confounding factors extremely challenging. Studies that do put these recommendations to the test are most commonly fielded as national surveys of field experts and policy makers in comparative contexts. Few studies examine this subject in the United States, however, and most find mixed results as to the efficacy of well-accepted scientific communication strategies. Further, existing work often fails to account for the impact of reputation on the willingness of scientists to engage in policymaking and the willingness of political actors to seek and accept expert input in the policymaking process, unless it confirms pre-existing biases. The authors explain how this gap in the literature has important consequences for the quality of policies produced and suggest future avenues of research in the pursuit of sincere evidence-based policymaking.

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