Air Quality Conformity
What is transportation conformity?
Transportation conformity is the process that is used to review the current transportation plan and program in a region to ensure they conform with to the state’s air quality plan. Each state’s air quality plan, also known as the State Implementation Plan, determines how the states will meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
Why does the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board go through transportation conformity?
As the Metropolitan Planning Organization for a region that is not currently reaching federal air quality standards, the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB) is required to go through the process of transportation conformity every time there is a new transportation plan, program or federally-funded project.
How do we rate? Air quality in the Baltimore region
- Ground-level Ozone – In July 2012, the Baltimore region was designated “moderate” nonattainment for the 8-hour ground-level ozone standard set in 2008. However, over the past few years the region has experienced lower levels of ozone pollution. As of 2015, the region is meeting the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. At the same time, a new, stricter ozone standard of 0.070 parts per million was set in October 2015. The region will continue to work to reduce ozone-forming emissions.
- Fine Particulate Matter - On December 16th, the U.S. EPA finalized their decision that the Baltimore region has reached the annual PM2.5 NAAQS for fine particulate matter, and continues to stay below unhealthy levels . As part of the Clean Air Act, the State of Maryland must ensure that the region’s air quality continues to stay at healthy levels for PM2.5. To do this, the State has developed a maintenance state implementation plan, or SIP. The maintenance SIP demonstrates how the region will continue to maintain safe levels out to 2025.
- Carbon Monoxide – The Baltimore region is also in a maintenance phase for the carbon monoxide standard. The federal standard for carbon monoxide has already been reached and must stay the same or below this level.
Working together to improve air quality
The transportation conformity process is coordinated through the Interagency Consultation Group, a subcommittee of the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB).
The group looks at state air quality goals and the ability of the transportation plans and programs to meet those goals.
Recent Conformity Determinations
- Conformity Determination of the 2014-2017 Transportation Improvement Program and Amended Plan It 2035
- Conformity Determination of Plan It 2035 and the 2012‐2015 Transportation Improvement Program Addendum to Address the 2008 Ozone Standard with Appendices
- Conformity Determination of the 2011‐2014 Transportation Improvement Program with Appendices
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