Denver Launches Pilot Program to Quantify the Impact of Driving Behavior on Fuel Consumption and GHG Emissions
The City of Denver, Colorado, is launching what it calls the world’s first vehicular greenhouse gas (GHG) management and reduction pilot program—Driving Change. Driving Change measures the environmental impact of individual driving behavior through the installation of accelerometers that connect to internal vehicle systems and the use of an Internet-based GHG management system.
The Driving Change initiative allows for the real-time measurement of a number of driving behaviors, including idling, speeding, fast stops and hard braking, that have a direct impact on fuel consumption.
Driving Change utilizes technology developed by Enviance, Inc. and Cartasite, Inc. Two Cartasite-developed measuring devices, an accelerometer and a modem, are installed in a vehicle in approximately 30 minutes and connect to the internal vehicle systems. The devices transmit electronic data using cellular wireless networks to a data center where it is analyzed by Enviance’s Internet-based GHG management system and graphed to produce personalized results in the form of a custom dashboard. Participants have access to their vehicle’s emissions information via a secure website which allows them to monitor their progress.
The program is underwritten by EnCana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., and was developed through a joint venture of Cartasite and Enviance.
Both city employees and private citizens will participate in the program. By May 2008, Driving Change expects to have a total of 400 private and public vehicles involved in the study. The goal of the pilot program is to determine if there is a direct, measurable and positive correlation between driving behavior and CO2 emissions.
While the pilot program does not directly measure GHG emissions, it will attempt to reveal that driving style does have an impact on the environment. For example, idling is believed to consume one cup of fuel every five minutes. The cumulative effect of idling is estimated to result in the burning of 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline, emitting 13 million tons of CO2. Rapid acceleration and hard braking can lower gas mileage by as much as 20%. The ability to measure and review idle time, rapid acceleration and hard braking is designed to help both individual and fleet drivers to see the impact of their behavior on the level of emissions for which they are responsible.
Automobile emissions account for approximately 30% of GHG emissions in Denver.
Today, Denver’s fleet includes 144 hybrid-electric vehicles. In May of 2008, Denver will become one of the first cities in the nation to acquire a hybrid-hydraulic trash truck, which is expected to produce a 25% to 50% increase in miles per gallon achieved and reduce emissions. Denver is currently retrofitting on-road and off-road equipment with diesel oxidation catalysts and crank case ventilation systems to reduce emissions and clean the air in Denver neighborhoods. The City and County of Denver also utilizes alternative fuels and operates more than 800 units on B20 biodiesel.