Assess Transportation Impact on the Urban Heat Island Using Thermal Remote Sensing

The goal of this project is to assess the impact of transportation on climate change by using remote sensing technology and statistical analysis. There are two major categories of anthropogenic heat sources that lead to global warming, stationary anthropogenic heat (change of landuse during urbanization and industrialization), and mobile anthropogenic heat (transportation). For a long time, it has been hard to separate and quantify each factor since they work mutually resulting the climate change. This study will take the unique opportunity of COVID-19 lockdown in most major cities in California, US, and propose a new statistical regression model with a dummy variable to access the mobile anthropogenic heat source. Thermal remote sensing will be used to generate land surface temperature (LST) maps over the study region to calculate the urban heat island extend and intensity. I will acquire the MODIS remote sensing imagery along with the local meteorological data to compare temperature dynamics in California cities before and during the COVID lockdown. Then use the statistical model to analyze the data and try to quantify the transportation impact on urban heat in California.

Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility
San José State University
Principal Investigator: 
Bo Yang
PI Contact Information:

San Jose State University

Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization): 

U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology - $6,504.82

Total Project Cost: 
Agency ID or Contract Number: 
November 2021 to March 2023
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation: 

The project aims to quantify the factor of transportation impacts on urban heat stress and estimate the anthropogenic activities that contributed to climate change, which provides key information that essentially improves the understanding of climate change and further estimates the influence of guesthouse gas emissions on transportation policy/planning. I will acquire MODIS daily land surface temperature imagery from NASA/USGS with global coverage at 1km spatial resolution. During COVID 2019, California and U.S. major cities implemented the lockdown to control the spread of the pandemic, which cut off most of the transportation volume. It offers a unique opportunity to isolate and quantify the impact of transportation on the climate. In this project, we will examine the variation of urban heat island intensity and spatial extent by taking advantage of COVID-19 lockdown. Although this study is bounded by the California urban areas, which is the first pandemic outbreak place and first lockdown city in the world. The quantitative results obtained in this study provide critical information for analyses of climate change on a global scale.

Project Number: 



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