[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
TU Dresden study on external costs of automotive transportation in Europe calls for internalization of the high external costs; raising user prices to change behavior
December 26, 2012
|Average external costs from cars per 1,000 vkm by country. Click to enlarge.|
A recent study from Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) commissioned by the Greens/European Free Allianace (EFA) in the European Parliament concluded that the cars used within the EU-27 externalize up to about €373 billion (US$493 billion) per year (high estimate) of costs on to other people, other regions and other generations. The low estimate is external costs of €258 billion (US$341 billion).
The study focused on the larger environmental costs of car traffic (plus accident costs not covered by insurance)—i.e., air pollution; noise, upstream and downstream effects (covering all effects before and after the actual trip is performed); smaller other effects (land use, separational effects etc.); and climate change (focused on avoidance costs rather than damage costs). Neither infrastructure costs (area purchase, construction, maintenance, demolition, administration of infrastructure) nor congestion costs were included.
Ford poll finds Europeans want freedom of car ownership, but worry about traffic, cost of driving, environment
November 14, 2012
A new Ford Motor Company-sponsored poll of 6,000 people across Europe found that most Europeans remain committed to car ownership, but have growing concerns about traffic congestion, the cost of driving and the environment. Ford commissioned the survey, conducted by the consultancy The Futures Company, to better understand the opinions and attitudes of Europeans across a range of mobility issues—from car sharing to green driving to the future of the internal combustion engine.
The Ford survey showed the majority of people say life would be “impossible” without a car; however 76% of Europeans say they are affected by stress from traffic congestion and fuel prices. The survey shows 74% use public transport, 37%share cars when making the same journey and 3% use formal car sharing schemes.
Study finds households manage charging of PHEVs without help from online tools
October 17, 2012
Households with plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) and smart meters actively managed how, when and where they charged their cars based on electricity rates but rarely took advantage of online feedback, according to a two-year study by a team at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI).
The study, sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales USA with the integral partnership of Xcel Energy, is one of the only of its kind, combining both household and vehicle data in a smart-grid context.
ORNL researchers propose optimization framework for use in real-time feedback systems to improve driving styles with reduced fuel consumption
October 03, 2012
|Cumulative fuel consumption of the original and optimized Japan 10-15 driving cycle. Source: Malikopoulos and Aguilar. Click to enlarge.|
Studies have concluded that optimizing a driver’s driving style can reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 40%; exactly how to achieve that optimization across a large and diverse driving population remains an area of active investigation—and one of great opportunity.
Dr. Andreas Malikopoulos at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and colleague Juan Aguilar have developed an optimization framework based on their assessment of driving style factors that have a major impact on fuel economy. The framework can be used to develop real-time feedback systems to enable drivers to alter driving styles in response to actual driving conditions to be more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly, the two suggested in a paper presented at the 2012 15th International IEEE Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITSC 2012) in September.
Survey of California plug-in vehicle owners highlights charging behavior
August 22, 2012
|California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project rebates by vehicle type through July 2012. Source: CCSE. Click to enlarge.|
Californians own more than 12,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), roughly 35% of all plug-in vehicles in the United States. As of July 2012, approximately 1,000 new plug-in vehicles are being sold in the state every month. The more than 12,000 PEVs provide both consumer and environmental benefits, according to a new study by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE). CCSE conducted the survey in support of California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP).
The study surveyed more than 1,400 PEV owners in coordination with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) in early 2012. Owners supplied information on vehicle usage, charging behavior and access to charging infrastructure. The study found that owners drive their cars an average of 26 miles per day and charge their vehicles primarily at night.
Working paper argues new US energy efficiency regulations are ineffective at GHG reduction and incorrectly override consumer preference
July 14, 2012
Recent US energy regulations proposed or enacted by the US Department of Energy (DOE), the US Department of Transportation (DOT, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have a negligible effect on reducing greenhouse gases. Instead, according to a new working paper by a duo from The Brookings Institution and Vanderbilt University, the bulk of the estimated benefits from the regulations stem from private benefits such as fuel savings to consumers, based on the regulators’ presumption of consumer irrationality.
“Rather than squander societal resources on more ineffective policy efforts, a more productive approach would be to search for policy options that offer greater potential for making a serious dent in greenhouse-gas emissions,” the authors conclude in their paper.
TomTom launches Congestion Index based on traffic database; congestion levels in 57 cities in North America and Europe
July 11, 2012
TomTom, the leading supplier of in-car location and navigation products and services, launched its first quarterly Congestion Index. The Index accurately identifies and analyzes traffic congestion in 57 major cities across North America and Europe.
The Index is uniquely based on real time travel data captured by vehicles driving along the entire road network within the select cities. TomTom’s traffic database contains more than six trillion data measurements and is growing by five billion measurements every day. The Congestion Index compares travel time during non-congested periods (free flow) with travel times in peak hours. The difference is expressed as a percentage increase in travel time, representing the congestion level.
Volvo Car Corporation developing new safety systems with autonomous driving support
July 09, 2012
Volvo Car Corp. is developing several new safety systems—factoring in driver behavior in the modern traffic environment—towards achieving its 2020 goal that nobody should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.
Modern driver behavior has significantly changed from past behavior, Volvo says, noting that surveys from three different research institutes in the US show that modern drivers spend 25 to 30% of their time behind the wheel doing other things, such as focusing on mobile communication. Since these situations affect the driver’s attention on the road, they have to be taken into account when developing new technologies.
US Transportation Secretary LaHood issues “Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving”; $2.4M for California, Delaware pilot projects
June 07, 2012
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood released a “Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving” that offers a strategy to address the growing and dangerous practice of driver’s use of handheld cell phones behind the wheel. While unveiling the plan, Secretary LaHood also announced $2.4 million in federal support for California and Delaware that will expand DOT’s “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” pilot enforcement campaign to reduce distracted driving.
The “Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving” outlines a plan that builds on the steps that Secretary LaHood and USDOT have taken for the last three years. Recognizing the extent and complexity of the problem, the plan:
Study suggests eco-driving techniques could reduce public transit fleet fuel consumption by up to 18.7%
March 31, 2012
Transit fleets could reduce fuel consumption on average by as much as 18.7% by engaging in fuel-efficient, eco-driving best practices, according to a Public Transit Fuel Efficiency Study released by SmartDrive Systems, a provider of fleet management and driver safety systems and services.
Eco-driving best practices for public transit include smooth acceleration and deceleration; reducing excess idling; avoiding hard turning (anticipating turns and smoothly decelerating into the turn to take advantage of the bus’s forward momentum and smoothly accelerating out of it); and maintaining constant vehicle speed.