The MOVES Utility tool uses the USEPA conversion tools, MOVES JAVA codes translated into
VBA, and other VBA procedures to combine the steps required for a complete project level MOVES run
into a single platform. All project specific spreadsheets, runspec files, XML importer files, batch files,
and post-processing scripts are generated using VBA macros that rely on information provided by the
user in an easy to use Excel Spreadsheet. Each task is assigned to a macro while a VBA program calls
the individual macros and creates the necessary files for a complete MOVES run. These tasks are
divided into the following three groups for ease of discussion:
• MOVES runspec and XML importer file preparation;
• Spreadsheets for input database; and,
• Batch files preparation.
MOVES Runspec and XML Importer File Preparation
The tool relies on user-defined information along with some internally pre-selected options to
generate a runspec file. An excel macro generates this file as a text file with a file extension of “ “ *.mrc” .
The tool adjusts the runspec file for different versions of MOVES and for different user selections. The
runspec file generated by the tool can be directly accessed via the MOVES GUI if desired. The XML
importer file is required to generate the input databases from the database tables written into excel
spreadsheets. A macro similar to the one for the runspec file is used to generate the XML importer file.
The XML importer file is accessed by the “ “ CreateInputDatabase.BAT” ” batch file to generate the
requisite input databases.
Spreadsheets for Input Databases
In MOVES, users are required to provide project specific information such as link properties,
source type hour, age distribution, meteorology, fuel properties, road types, operating mode, etc. These
tables are generally prepared in a series of excel spreadsheets and then converted into a MOVES input
database. This is probably the most time consuming part of any project-level MOVES run. Manual file
preparation takes a considerable amount of time and can be prone to human error. Therefore, these tasks
have been automated in the MOVES utility tool. Some manual editing may still be required; however,
users can use these tables as templates for their project. Each spreadsheet is generated by a VBA macro.
Functional details of each macro are provided below.
The macro assigned to populate the link spreadsheet works in three stages. First, it populates
information for any offnetwork link. It assumes the traffic volume to be one and the link length and link
average speed to be zero for an offnetwork link.
Next, it populates information for free-flow speeds selected by the user. For free-flow links,
traffic volume and link lengths are set to ‘1’ (except in the case of idling link for which the link length is
set to zero). Since the final outputs are generated as emission rates, actual traffic volumes and link
lengths are not required. However, users wishing to enter actual traffic parameters can do so manually.
Finally, the macro then populates the information for intersection approach and departure links.
Average speeds for approach and departure links are calculated using the method described previously.
This process is repeated for each unrestricted road type and selected hour. Although not a requirement,
users can manually change or adjust any parameters in the populated spreadsheet, except link IDs and
road type IDs as these are pre-requisite for other database tables. Users who wish to change link IDs and
road type IDs must update other database tables that uses link IDs and road type IDs.
Link Source Types
The link source type hour fractions spreadsheet contains the fractions of the link traffic volume,
which is driven by each source type. This spreadsheet is populated in two ways. Firstly, the macro uses
user-defined fractions when provided. If user-defined data are provided for MOBIL6.2 vehicle types,
they are converted to MOVES source use types using the EPA converter. If users select the
MOBILE6.2c default option, the macro uses the default MOBILE6.2 vehicle counts along with user-
defined or default registration distribution data to map them to MOVES source use types.
Secondly, the macro pulls information directly from the input worksheet when users provide
hour fraction for MOVES source use types. The EPA has provided a conversion tool for 28, 16, 12, or 8
MOBILE6.2 vehicle types. Due to the similarity of these conversion tools, they are combined into a
single conversion platform.
The tool populates fuel supply, fuel formulation, and, in the case of MOVES2014, fuel usage
fraction spreadsheets using three separate macros. The tool pulls the requisite information from the
MOVES default database for any state/county combination. The tool also uses pre-selected values to
populate fuel properties for any custom domain application in Canada. Users outside of the U.S. and
Canada need to change the fuel properties manually in the populated spreadsheets.
The tool populates age distribution based on user-selected options. If users select the MOVES
default, the MOVES default age distributions are used for the selected source use types. When the
MOBILE6.2c default is selected, default MOBILE6.2c registration distributions are mapped to MOVES
age distributions for the corresponding source use types using the EPA conversion tool. The tool can
also incorporate custom registration distributions into the conversion process.
Canada-specific registration distributions are provided within the available options. These
registration distributions are based on the “ “ Canadian Vehicle Survey Report, 2009” ( Statistics Canada,
2009). These distributions are initially converted to corresponding MOBILE6.2 vehicle classes and then
converted to MOVES source use types. Any missing data are replaced by default MOBILE6.2c data.
More recent data are now available for Canada, but they not been incorporated into the tool yet. In the
interim, using the MOBILE6.2c or MOVES default age distribution is recommended.
The tool uses information from the MOVES default database to populate the zoneMonthHour
spreadsheet for any state/county combination. It uses user-supplied temperatures and relative humidity
information for any custom domain. The user-supplied temperatures and relative humidity are converted
to appropriate hourly values using the procedure described in Table 2.
Zone, ZoneRoadType, and SCCRoadTypeDistribution
These spreadsheets are required for the custom domain option only. The tool automatically
generates these spreadsheets based on the user-supplied information and selected road types. The tool
generates these spreadsheets considering a single custom zone. Users can change the tables manually if
working with multiple zones.
The startAllocFactor, idleAllocFactor and SHPAllocFactor parameters in the Zone table are set
to one according to the requirement. The tool automatically selects the road types from the input
information worksheet to the ZoneRoadType table. The SCCRoadTypeDistribution spreadsheet is
generated using generalized assumptions about road type distribution. Table 9 presents the assumptions
used for road type distribution. Users are recommended to verify their road distribution and adjust the
values manually as required.
Table 9: Road type distribution assumptions for SCCRoadTypeDistribution table.
Rural Restricted Access
Rural Interstate = 1, and others = 0
Rural Unrestricted Access Rural Major Arterial = 1, and others = 0
Urban Restricted Access
Urban Interstate = 1, and others = 0
Urban Unrestricted Access Urban major Arterial = 1, and others = 0
Offnetwork = 1
Operating Mode Distribution
The tool generates the operating mode distribution spreadsheet in three stages. If transit facility
is selected the tool populates the operating mode distribution for the offnetwork link first. It assigns
appropriate fractions to OpMode IDs 101 to 108 according to the user-supplied information. This
procedure is repeated for all applicable pollutant-process combinations and source use types.
In the case of extended idle emissions, the tool assigns a value of one OpMode ID 200 in case of
MOVES2010b, and apportions the default fractions between OpMode IDs 200 and 201 in case of
For intersection approach links the tool accesses the default MOVES database and calculates the
operating mode distribution, updates the idle fractions according to the user-supplied information,
normalizes the updated distribution, and populates the operating mode distribution spreadsheet with the
The tool populates this spreadsheet when transit facility or extended idle emission is selected. It
sets the start fraction to one for start emissions modelled by transit facility option. The process is
repeated for each source use type. The tool sets the extended idle emission fraction to one when
modeling extended idling emission. The spreadsheet populates extended idle emissions for combination
long haul trucks only.
The tool automatically populates this spreadsheet when users do not want to model all fuel types.
The tool adjusts the default fuel-engine fractions by setting unselected fuel fractions to zero, and then
renormalizing the distribution. The tool internally determines the requirement of an AVFT file.
However, users who wish to change the default AVFT parameters can do so manually within the
Batch Files Preparation
As discussed previously the tool generates three batch files as described in the following
Batch File to Create Input Databases
After running the tool, users are required to double click the “ “ CreateInputDatabase.BAT” file.
This will create input databases for each scenario using the database tables written into a series of
spreadsheets and an xml importer file. The batch file uses the MOVES command line interface.
Although not a requirement, users are recommended to review the input databases generated by
this batch file. Users can access the database using MySQL Query Browser or Workbench (may require
elevated access level depending on local security settings).
Batch File to Run MOVES
After generating the input databases, users can run the second batch file that runs MOVES for
the selected hours (scenarios). The batch file uses a command line interface to run MOVES. Since the
batch file uses the same MOVES command line interface used by MOVES GUI, the tool has no effect
on the run time. In addition, the batch file cannot track the progress of the run. If users are interested to
see the run progress, they can use MOVES GUI to run the model, instead of the command line interface.
Batch File to Post-Process MOVES Output
The third and final batch file “ “ RunPostProcessor.BAT” produces emission rates for a
CAL3QHCR model. This batch file runs a MySQL script generated by the tool to produce the emission
rates based on user-selected output options. By default, this script produces emission rates for all
selected hours, road types, and pollutants in a single comma delimited file (CSV) for all MOVES source
use types. It can also aggregate emissions into several FHWA groups as outlined previously. The post-
processing scripts generated by the tool also contain the appropriate code to combine brakewear and
tirewear emissions into total PM emissions. A screenshot of a sample output is presented in Figure 10
for a subset of pollutants.
Figure 10: A screenshot of output file produced by the post-processing batch file.
The MOVES utility tool has initially been written for Ontario-specific roadway air quality
assessment projects. Since then the tool has been used extensively to generate emission rates for a
variety of applications including CAL3QHCR and AERMOD (with some additional post-processing). It
has also been used to generate datasets for start emissions from transit facilities and parking lots. The
tool has been used in several Canadian and the US locations for such applications.
File preparation time has been reduced greatly by using the tool. The tool generally takes fewer
person-hours to generate emission rates than using MOBILE6.2 when using default information (not
including run times).
Although the tool succeeds at simplifying the pre- and post-aggregation effort it has some
shortcomings inherent in its dependence on VBA within a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
The tool is currently unable to handle multiple zones automatically, although this can be
manually included within the populated database tables. In case of a multiple zone applications, the tool
can still be used to generate template tables and batch files.
Generally, the uses average speed by link but uses MOVES default operating mode distributions
adjusted for idling for intersection approach links. Options are also provided to adjust average speeds
based on level of congestion. The second-by-second drive schedule and operating mode distribution
options have yet to be implemented.
In some cases, users are required to update the database tables to meet project-specific
requirements. This is especially true for any international application outside of the US and Canada.
The tool can handle project scale only. A similar tool has been created for MOVES county scale
but the two are not integrated into one interface.
Several enhancements and new features are planned for future versions. Since the original intent
was to use the tool internally, any improvements to the tool are need-based. Some of the features
planned for future versions are listed below:
• User-define second-by-second drive cycle and operating mode distribution.
• Enhanced relative humidity calculator for custom domain.
• Multiple zone input.
• Improved hour-by-hour free flow speed algorithm.
• Addition of multiple speed calculation options for approach and departure links.
• Addition of ‘County’ scale.
The MOVES utility tool is an effective tool for performing pre- and post-processing steps
involved in project-level MOVES runs. The program serves as a one-stop solution for a project level
MOVES run that can calculate emission rates for each hour of a day in a single session for projects
involving roadways, transit facilities, and extended idling activities. File preparation time is greatly
reduced using the tool.
FHWA 2012, “ An Introduction to MOVES: Project Level Modeling” , FHWA resource Centre, EPA
Office of Transportation and Air Quality, 2012.
EPA 2013, “ Transportation Conformity Guidance for Quantitative Hot-Spot Analyses in PM
Nonattainment and Maintenance Areas” ” , EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality,
EC 2011, “ Benzene in Canadian Gasoline: Effect of the Benzene in Gasoline Regulations” , Annual
Report 2009, Environment Canada, August 2011.
EPA 2014, “ “ Official Release of the MOVES2014 Motor Vehicle Emissions Model for SIPs and
Transportation Conformity” ” , Federal Register Vol. 79, No. 194, Tuesday, October 7, 2014 Rules and
Skabardonis, A., and R. Dowling. “ Improved Speed-Flow Relationships for Planning Applications” ” . In
Transportation Research Record 1572, TRB, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., 1997, pp.
Statistics Canada. “ Canadian Vehicle Survey report 2009” , Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 53-223-X.
Automated Model Setup
Automated Pre- and Post-Processing
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested