U.S. Environmental Protection Agency +
Case Study: Public-Private Collaboration Validates
Methodology, Produces User-Friendly Emissions
Calculator for Guiding Sustainable Freight
"Less Than Truckload" or LTL Freight
LTL freight is a form of shipping
that doesn't require a retailer or
manufacturer to fill an entire trailer.
Instead, LTL motor carriers consolidate
Loads from several customers on
a single trailer, striving to build
economical, efficient Loads. LTL
shipments cover a wide range of
products by weight and size, including
everything from Loose cargo to
palletized goods.
Due to the complexities of a typical LTL
freight network, it is challenging for a
company to understand the emissions
associated with their portion of an LTL
Load. In a collaboration between EPA
and three of its SmartWay partners -
C.H. Robinson, Estes Express Lines, and
Yellow - extensive LTL network data
was gathered and analyzed to estimate
LTL emissions at the shipment level.
The new SmartWay LTL carbon
calculator is a product of that
This case study examines a unique collaboration that grew out of the
USEPA's SmartWay program. It examines an initiative taken by three long-
standing SmartWay partners and EPA to evaluate a new model developed
to assess emissions at the shipment level in the less than truckload or 'LTL'
freight market.
The model we evaluated was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Tech-
nology's (MIT) Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL) in 2014. The purpose
of the model was to provide the trucking industry with a standardized approach
and method that could be used to measure carbon emissions from LTL shipments.
Currently there is no publicly available method to estimate emissions from
individual LTL shipments. EPA's SmartWay program does offer tools that provide
an annual inventory of company-wide freight emissions at no cost. Any trucking
company, logistics provider or shipper can use SmartWay's tools to calculate
annual carbon emissions from a fleet of trucks, but not at the LTL shipment level.
The goal of this collaboration was to establish an approach and tool to comple-
ment the fleetwide inventories that SmartWay already offers.
The LTL Collaboration
In the past decade, LTL freight has become an increasingly common form of
product delivery, due to globalization, just in time inventory practices, and more
recently, the growth in e-commerce. If these trends continue, and LTL freight
continues to grow, it's likely that interest in shipment-level emissions from LTL
freight will increase too.
C.H. Robinson is a leading global logistics provider that operates the largest LTL
network in North America. In 2014, C.H. Robinson sponsored a research project at
MIT's Center for Transportation and Logistics. The objective of that project was to
develop a methodology to estimate carbon emissions from LTL freight shipments.
About the Partners
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Transportation and Air Quality
The USEPA is an executive agency that protects people and
the environment from significant health risks and develops and
enforces environmental regulations.
C.H. Robinson Worldwide
C.H. Robinson is a public, third-party logistics provider that
annually manages $21 billion in freight across several industries,
including automotive, food and beverage, health care, retail, and
manufacturing. C.H. Robinson has been a SmartWay partner
since 2005.
Estes Express Lines
Estes Express Lines is a private, multi-regional less-than-
truckload motor carrier. It operates a fleet of 7,400 tractors and
30,400 trailers on a network of some 260 terminals. Estes has
been an EPA SmartWay partner since 2004.
Yellow Freight is a public, U.S. motor carrier that transports
industrial, commercial, and retail goods. It specializes in less-
than-truckload and short-haul shipping services. Yellow is
a Charter SmartWay partner and has participated in EPA's
SmartWay program since the program's launch early in 2004.
EPA-420-F-21-0311 April 20211 SmartWay Transport Partnership | epa.gov/smartway

Case Study: EPA's SmartWay LTL Collaboration (continued)
As a SmartWay partner and through engagement with its carriers, shippers and other stakeholders, C.H. Robinson recognizes
freight emissions and climate change as top-ranked issues in transportation and logistics. In 2017, C.H. Robinson, along with
SmartWay partners, Estes Express Lines and Yellow approached EPA to participate in a collaborative review of the LTL modelling
work C.H. Robinson funded at MIT.
To support EPA's review of the model, C.H. Robinson, Estes Express Lines, and Yellow agreed to share detailed data on their LTL
networks and gave EPA greater insight into their respective operations. They also shared perspectives on the value of sustainability
to the freight industry. With this data and other publicly available LTL freight data, and through the collaboration, EPA was able to
successfully replicate and validate the methodology used in the MIT model to estimate LTL emissions at the shipment level. EPA's
analyses also yielded several options to refine and build on the initial methodological approach.
By complementing its
comprehensive fleetwide
assessment tools with a
simple calculator capable of
estimating emissions from
individual LTL shipments,
SmartWay's goal was to
provide another way to look
at freight and emissions,
and to assist the industry
in delivering freight more
sustainably and with fewer
SmartWays's LTL Carbon Calculator
Following the basic approach and equations used in the MIT model, along with several
refinements suggested by EPA, SmartWay and its collaborators took the next step, and
built a new, easy-to-use calculator tool to estimate emissions from LTL shipments. The
calculator applies the basic methodology used in the MIT model and the updated
parameters developed by EPA through its analyses. The calculator is representative of
the unique hub-and-spoke operations of a typical LTL freight network.
Importantly, only readily available data inputs, such as shipment weight, origin and
destination zip codes are needed to run the calculator, making it accessible and simple
to obtain carbon dioxide emissions estimates for LTL shipments. The calculator runs
these key inputs through a data-driven program and generates a carbon-emissions
estimate for the LTL shipment. The estimates can be obtained for one or many LTL
shipments. The estimates can be used in stakeholder discussions on transparency,
routing options and sustainability as well as to identify opportunities for supply chain
Using the new LTL calculator, SmartWay partners active in the LTL freight market can
now complement their company's annual SmartWay fleet inventories with information
on the emissions generated by their individual LTL shipments.
For LTL motor carriers, the calculator tool can be used to help factor sustainability into
plans to improve routing and network performance. Logistics companies can use the
tool to better serve their environmentally conscious shippers. Shippers may find the
new calculator useful to share shipment-level emissions data with their business and
consumer customers.
Through this collaboration, EPA and its SmartWay partners took a step forward to advance LTL emissions accounting. Working
together, we produced a simple calculator tool that offers a new sustainability metric for better transportation and logistics
management. Carriers, logistics providers and their shippers now have access to a basic, easy-to-use calculator for estimating
LTL shipments.
The calculator is available online through EPA's SmartWay partner portal and can be accessed at any time. The results can
complement other truck and operational data that is used to establish annual inventories of carbon emissions from shipping and
fleet activity. It also can be used as a planning tool to create and compare shipping scenarios for individual LTL shipments that
emit less carbon.
As emissions from transportation and goods movement continue to grow relative to other economic sectors, consumers, shippers,
and public agencies are putting increasing demand on the freight sector to quantify and reduce its emissions and climate impacts.
Through its LTL calculator and other emissions modeling and assessment tools, SmartWay will continue to
support the industry in meeting that demand.
Please visit the SmartWay website at www.epa.gov/smartway	|"yy^Vj
to access more case studies.	U.S. Environmental protection agency J