[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.]
Mayor of London: all new London taxis will need to be zero-emission capable from 2018
January 16, 2014
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced plans that would require all new taxis presented for licensing in the capital to be zero-emission capable from 1 January 2018, with the expectation that they will automatically operate in zero-emission mode while in areas where the capital’s air quality is at its worst—such as parts of central London.
The Mayor confirmed his plan at Transport for London’s (TfL’s) “New Taxis for London” event, at which he met five manufacturers developing zero emission capable taxis—Frazer-Nash, Nissan, Karsan, London Taxi Company and Mercedes-Benz. The new zero-emission capable taxis being developed include both plug-in full series hybrid vehicles and full electric models.
Audi wraps up Audi Urban Intelligent Assist (AUIA) project
January 10, 2014
Audi has wrapped up a three-year partnership launched in 2011 involving the Volkswagen Group’s Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) in Silicon Valley and four leading US research universities to develop innovations in predictive driving technology that would allow a car to anticipate future traffic trends and to “learn” a person’s driving habits for a customized driving experience on each commute. (Earlier post.)
Audi this week demonstrated some of the early concept results of the Audi Urban Intelligent Assist (AUIA) project to media in San Francisco. The demonstration focused on two primary applications: Driver Centric Urban Navigation and Urban Assistance.
Study finds that suburban sprawl cancels carbon-footprint savings of dense urban cores in US
January 07, 2014
Although population-dense cities contribute less greenhouse-gas emissions per person than other areas of the country, these cities’ extensive suburbs essentially wipe out the climate benefits, according to a new study by Christopher Jones and Daniel Kammen at UC Berkeley. The average carbon footprint of households living in the center of large, population-dense urban cities is about 50% below average, while households in distant suburbs are up to twice the average.
The study, published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T), used local census, weather and other data—37 variables in total—to approximate greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the energy, transportation, food, goods and services consumed by US households. A key finding is that suburbs account for half of all household greenhouse gas emissions, even though they account for less than half the US population.
INRIX partners with BMW to introduce intermodal navigation in the i3 and i8
January 06, 2014
INRIX is partnering with BMW to introduce of the first in-car intermodal navigation system. Debuting in BMW ConnectedDrive systems in the new i3 and i8 electric vehicles, INRIX Intermodal Navigation integrates local public transport connections into journey planning.
The service monitors real-time traffic conditions alerting drivers to faster alternative modes of transportation when major delays occur along local routes. Upon selecting an alternative mode, the system provides turn-by-turn navigation to the nearest public transport station in time for the next departure.
US PIRG report finds reduced driving and rates of car commuting in most populous US urbanized areas
December 08, 2013
|VMT per capita has declined across the US (2006 to 2011). States with shading are missing reliable data for all or part of an urbanized area, and ‘X’s denote the location of excluded urbanized areas. Source: US PIRG. Click to enlarge.|
A new report by the US PIRG Education Fund and the Frontier Group details reduced driving miles and rates of car commuting in the US’ most populous urbanized areas, as well as greater use of public transit and biking in most cities. The average American drives 7.6% fewer miles today than when per-capita driving peaked in 2004.
The report, “Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America’s Biggest Cities,” is based on the most current available government data and is, according to US PIRG, the first national study to compare transportation trends for America’s largest cities and lists results for each. Among the report’s national findings:
IEA report finds “avoid, shift and improve” policies for urban transport could deliver up to $70T in savings through 2050
July 18, 2013
|Expected urban private motorized travel (in passenger kilometers). Source: IEA. Click to enlarge.|
Policies that improve the energy efficiency of urban transport systems could help save as much as US$70 trillion in spending on vehicles, fuel and transportation infrastructure between now and 2050, according to a recently released report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Among the three broad categories of policies recommended in the report and policy guide, “A Tale of Renewed Cities”, are those that allow travel to be avoided; those that shift travel to more efficient modes; and those that improve the efficiency of vehicle and fuel technologies. The report notes that if fully implemented across the transportation sector, this “avoid, shift and improve” approach could deliver the up to US$70 trillion in savings.
SMART: working for a systems-based approach to sustainable mobility; Alcoa Foundation support for practical solutions in Beijing and Detroit
March 18, 2013
One of the key messages of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Transportation Energy Futures (TEF) project (earlier post) is that deep cuts in transportation petroleum consumption and emissions are dependent on combined reductions across three factors: vehicle fuel consumption (modes); fuel carbon intensity (fuels); and vehicle use (service demand). In other words, while vehicle and fuel technologies clearly play a major role, so does demand reduction and the development of smarter, sustainable transportation systems. Of 9 reports from the TEF project, four deal with reducing transportation demand.
SMART (Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation), a project of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and TCAUP, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, is in its ninth year of working on the problem highlighted by the demand-reduction elements of the TEF project—catalyzing systematic and fundamental transformations of mobility / accessibility systems by uncovering a set of “tipping points” along with integrated (not single-fix) solutions guiding the evolution of such systems.
DOE TEF project finds US can eliminate petroleum and reduce GHG by more than 80% in transportation by 2050; less use, more biofuels, expansion of electricity and hydrogen
March 15, 2013
|TEF project points to deep cuts in petroleum and emissions in the transportation sector by focusing on modes, fuels, and demand. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.|
The US Department of Energy (DOE) released findings from a new project—Transportation Energy Futures (TEF)—that concludes the United States has the potential to eliminate petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 80% in the transportation sector by 2050. The project identifies possible paths to a low-carbon, low-petroleum future in the US transportation sector, and also looks beyond technology to examine the marketplace, consumer behavior, industry capabilities, and infrastructure.
TEF is organized into four research areas: light-duty vehicles; non-light-duty vehicles; fuels; and transportation demand. Findings are being detailed in a series of nine reports, six of which are now available.
Toyota, City of Grenoble, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, Cité lib, EDF launch ultra-compact urban EV car-sharing project; i-ROAD and COMS
March 04, 2013
|Concept of the Grenoble urban EV car-sharing project. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), the city of Grenoble, the Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, car-sharing service operator Cité lib, and French energy provider Électricité de France (EDF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to begin by the end of 2014 a collaborative zero-emission ultra-compact urban electric vehicle car-sharing project in Grenoble aimed at addressing “last mile” transportation needs for those using public transportation.
TMC plans to supply nearly 70 ultra-compact electric vehicles for the 3-year project, including the COMS ultra-compact vehicle produced by Toyota Auto Body (earlier post), as well as a new vehicle based on the Toyota i-ROAD concept vehicle. (Earlier post.)
Toyota unveils i-ROAD 3-wheeled electric personal mobility vehicle concept at Geneva
|i-ROAD concept showing Active Lean in action. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota unveiled the new i-ROAD three-wheeled electric personal mobility vehicle (PMV) concept at the Geneva motor show. Seating two in tandem and under cover, i-ROAD has a range of up to 30 miles (50km) on a single charge. Using “Active Lean” technology, it is safe, intuitive and enjoyable to drive, with no need for driver or passenger to wear a helmet.
The all-electric powertrain uses a lithium-ion battery to power two 2 kW motors mounted in the front wheels, giving brisk acceleration and near-silent running. Driving range is around 30 miles, after which the battery can be fully recharged from a conventional domestic power supply in three hours.
MacArthur Foundation grant supports Urban Center for Computation and Data
January 20, 2013
A new Chicago-based research center using advanced computational methods to understand the rapid growth of cities will receive a $500,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The funds help launch the Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD), an initiative of the Computation Institute (CI) dedicated to data-driven urban research, planning and design.
Announced in December 2012, UrbanCCD was initially funded by a $600,000-grant from the National Science Foundation and unites researchers from several Chicago institutions, city officials and private enterprise with the Computation Institute (CI), a joint initiative between the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.