Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Science


Environmental Science

Number of Pages



Better management of highway operations can be achieved, in part, by controlling vehicular access to adjacent properties and cross streets. This tactic, referred to as access management, has proven safety and operational benefits. However, doubts remain regarding its environmental and economic benefits.

I hypothesize that one environmental indicator, carbon emissions, will decrease with proper access management. Controlling access increases the speed at which vehicles travel, improving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. My hypothesis relative to financial impacts is that access management will neither help nor harm businesses. Controlling access can reduce travel time which has the effect of increasing the size of the market area for businesses located on that roadway, thereby increasing their customer base. This benefit may be off-set by the loss of some customers who are inconvenienced by limited access.

I used a system dynamics approach to test these hypotheses, following these five steps: articulate the problem, formulate a dynamic hypothesis, develop a simulation model, validate the model, and use it to evaluate policy options for addressing the problem. The model shows that the amount of carbon emitted per vehicle mile traveled decreases 0.25% with better access control. While this is a small amount, it equates to a 185 kg/day reduction in carbon emissions along one sample roadway segment, and over 5,000 metric tons per year from the entire Las Vegas Valley. The model helps us to understand how access management impacts adjacent businesses, however the degree to which they are impacted is inconclusive. In order to accurately model these impacts we need better data on the portion of customers that would be deterred from visiting a business because of reduced access.


Air pollution prevention; Clark county (Nev.); Express highways; Highway engineering computer simulation; Las Vegas Valley (Nev.); Nevada; Traffic engineering environmental aspects


Environmental Health and Protection | Infrastructure | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Transportation

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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