NextSTEPS Research Consortium: Scenarios and Transition Strategies
NextSTEPS is a four-year (2011-2014) multidisciplinary research consortium, part of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. The overarching program goal of NextSTEPS is to:
generate new insights about the transitions to a sustainable transportation energy future, and
disseminate that knowledge to decision-makers in the private sector and governmental agencies so that they can make informed technology, investment, and policy choices.
These pathways are analyzed and compared across program areas:
consumer demand and behavior, infrastructure system analysis, environmental, energy, and economic cost analysis, policy and business strategy, vehicle technology evaluation, and integrative scenarios.
Through this research we aim to create transparent, realistic scenarios and transition analyses, which we disseminate to decision-makers through workshops, seminars, working papers, presentations, and publications. (For more information, download the NextSTEPS program summary.)
The program is funded through a consortium of private and governmental organizations. These sponsors use NextSTEPS research, models, and scenario analyses to make informed decisions. The program is also supported by research contracts.
The NextSTEPS research team consists of over 40 faculty, senior researchers, and PhD and Masters graduate students. The program is directed by Professors Joan Ogden and Dan Sperling from UC Davis and managed by Paul Gruber.
The NextSTEPS team brings together insights from diverse disciplines, drawing upon research methods from a broad range of academic fields: vehicle engineering and design, systems analysis and operations research, chemical and mechanical engineering, lifecycle cost and emissions analysis, market research, sociology and anthropology, economics and business strategy, and policy and political analysis.
NextSTEPS builds upon the earlier, successful STEPS program (2007-2010) at ITS-Davis. Under STEPS, we developed self-consistent and transparent comparisons of the promising alternative energy and vehicle technology pathways. We addressed the uncertainty facing governments and companies in choosing fuel-vehicle pathways, and we conducted intensive analysis of pathways which highlighted the necessity of a comprehensive approach if large reductions in oil use and greenhouse gas emissions are sought.
The major conclusion from STEPS research is that there is no one silver bullet. Achieving aggressive targets for sustainable transportation requires a portfolio approach that combines new vehicle and fuel technologies, behavioral change, and policy. Strategies within this portfolio will vary widely from region to region.
Key results for the STEPS program include:
130+ books, chapters, and major journal articles and numerous research reports published
Over 30 research projects completed
20 graduate degrees granted
12 symposia, consortium meetings & policymaker outreach events held
STEPS Book, Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways: a Research Summary for Decision Makers, summarizing the lessons learned from the past four years