A commonly cited strategy to achieve lower emissions and energy use is highway capacity expansion intended to reduce delay. But, as a new brief from UC-Davis and hosted on the Caltrans website points out, congestion relief is usually short-lived, due to “induced demand” or “induced travel.”
While the push to reduce vehicle emissions has focused on cleaner fuels, more efficient engines, and other technologies that can reduce or eliminate tailpipe emissions, non-tailpipe emissions have remained largely under the radar. Non-tailpipe emissions include dust generated from brake pad and tire wear, as well as salt and other material kicked up from the roadway by passing vehicles. Studies have shown that along roadways, tailpipe emissions and non-exhaust sources are often responsible for roughly equal amounts of airborne particulate matter (PM), with non-exhaust sources sometimes accounting for the lion’s share.
Last month Massachusetts released a study investigating how the commonwealth could implement a revenue-neutral carbon fee or tax to support the state’s GHG reduction goals. Massachusetts’ Department of Energy Resources requested that the researchers develop a system that would incentivize GHG reduction but that would use tax cuts or rebates to return to businesses and individuals an amount of money equivalent to what they pay under any new carbon pricing plan.
A new tool allows users to optimize their shipping modes and routes based on time, distance, or emissions. Users specify a transportation origin and destination and the specific types of trucks, trains, and marine vessels that would be used for each mode. It then identifies the best multimodal routes based on the factors selected by users. Three models drive the tool, two of which are integrated to provide the costs associated with operating different types of freight vehicles on the domestic multimodal network. A third, EmissionsCalc, calculates vehicle energy and emissions under different circumstances.
It took decades for the current gasoline and diesel service station infrastructure to be built out, enabling longer- distance travel. As we enter an era where more drivers are considering adopting electric vehicles, infrastructure to “fuel” these zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) is lacking in a similar way to the early automobile period’s gas station shortage. In particular, the market has been slow to respond to the need for Electric Vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. A new coalition of eight states on both coasts has released a plan to speed the adoption of ZEV technology and address this infrastructure gap.
Last year, following six years of decline, the number of traffic fatalities in the U.S. rose 5 percent—to 34,000—continuing the position of motor vehicle crashes as one of the leading causes of death, particularly among young people. It is the top cause of death for ages 5 to 24. Two recent independent studies now suggest that simply living near major roadways and breathing harmful emissions from motor vehicles might be an even greater threat to U.S. health, making the death toll from traffic far worse.
This project, funded by SSTI with a matching grant from the Center for Freight Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE), identifies and evaluates strategies to reduce the social costs associated with goods movement in urban areas by managing freight transportation demand.
New infrared cameras can identify various tailpipe emissions in real time from vehicles passing at highway speeds. By analyzing the ratios of different pollutants, the technology can also distinguish between high-emitting vehicles that are functioning normally—i.e., vehicles that are burning more fuel to carry heavier loads or more passengers—from those that have mechanical problems that need to be dealt with.
This report reviews the built environment characteristics associated with travel and the tools available that utilize these built environment characteristics to estimate travel and related outcomes such as vehicle emissions and health co-benefits. Tools ranged from simple to complex, and a number of factors should be considered when applying a tool to a planning effort.
Tesla Motors, Inc., the Palo Alto based electric vehicle maker, has taken full advantage of the credit system through California’s Zero Emission Vehicle program to help post its first-ever profit at the start of this year.