Study finds automatic monitors significantly improve the quality of pollution data reported in China

A new study finds that automated pollution monitors in China led to more accurate readings and that citizens used this information to protect themselves better against the harms of air pollution. Less than a decade ago, not only was air pollution a recognized problem in China, but many didn’t trust... Read more →


OPIS: US gasoline demand more than “halfway” back from pandemic-induced lows

Gasoline consumption in the United States is now more than halfway back to pre-COVID-19 levels as motorists get back on the road amid at least a partial recovery of the US economy, according to OPIS, an IHS Markit company. Fill-ups at the pump hit the rock bottom in the second... Read more →


by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. This note examines the sales of all new light-duty vehicles (cars and light trucks) in the United States in March, April, and May 2020—the first three months of the current pandemic—and compares them with the sales in February 2020. The raw data were annualized,... Read more →


The COVID-19 pandemic has set in motion the largest drop in global energy investment in history, with spending expected to plunge in every major sector this year—from fossil fuels to renewables and efficiency—the International Energy Agency said in a new report. Energy investment is set to fall by one-fifth in... Read more →


Who is driving less? Democrats or Republicans?

by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. The latest data from the Federal Highway Administration on the amount of driving in the United States indicate that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in March of this year decreased by 18.6% compared with March 2019. However, the decrease in VMT varied widely by states,... Read more →


Every new Volvo car now comes with a limited top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph), as Volvo Cars delivers on its promise made last year to introduce such a limitation and goes beyond regulation and legislation to help close the remaining gap to zero serious injuries and fatalities in... Read more →


Teletrac Navman big-data analysis of driving behaviors for the initial five weeks of federal COVID-19 emergency

Teletrac Navman, a global software-as-a-service provider that leverages location-based technology and services for managing mobile assets, has issued a report of driving behaviors across millions of miles driven by a sample of its connected vehicles in the US during the first 36 days of the federal declaration of emergency due... Read more →


The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that US energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will decline by 11% in 2020. If realized, this decline would represent the largest decline in not only percentage but also absolute terms in EIA’s energy-related CO2 series that dates back to 1949. Source: U.S. Energy... Read more →


A team from the University of Delaware and the University of Denver has created a new global simulation model to predict how urban land will change over the next 100 years under different social and economic conditions. The research team’s projections show that the amount of urban land on Earth... Read more →


US energy-related CO2 emissions declined by 2.8% in 2019 to 5,130 million metric tons (MMmt), according to data in the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Monthly Energy Review. CO2 emissions had increased by 2.9% in 2018, the only annual increase in the past five years. Because of continuing trends in... Read more →


Motorbike insurer Bikesure recently surveyed 1,000 commuters in London to find out how the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has impacted them. Bikesure’s first conducted its ULEZ survey in 2019. Even though the ULEZ has been temporarily suspended to support key workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, this survey explores the... Read more →


A new report from the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis has found that total US vehicle miles traveled (VMT) at the county and state level have declined by 61% to 90% following the various government stay-at-home orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using data from... Read more →


Compared to “business-as-usual”, by September 2020 international air passenger totals could drop by as many as 1.2 billion travellers according to the latest projections from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO ran two projections compared to baseline: V-shaped path (a first sign of recovery in late May); and U-shaped... Read more →


J.D. Power: Consumer sentiment on future mobility technologies lags far behind automakers plans

Consumer confidence in future mobility technologies lags far behind automakers’ plans to bring self-driving and battery-electric vehicles to the marketplace, according to the J.D. Power 2020 Q1 Mobility Confidence Index Study fueled by SurveyMonkey Audience. The Mobility Confidence Index for self-driving vehicles decreases for the first time—to 35 from 36... Read more →


GHSA: absent traffic jams, many drivers getting more reckless

Emptier streets may be encouraging some drivers to flaunt traffic safety laws, including speed limits, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Despite there being far fewer vehicles on the road due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, state highway safety officials across the country are seeing a severe spike in... Read more →


Traffic accidents and crash-related injuries and deaths were reduced by half during the first three weeks of California’s shelter-in-place order, which began March 20. The reductions save the state an estimated $40 million per day—about $1 billion over the time period—according to an updated special report released from the Road... Read more →


Researchers from Surrey’s Global Center for Clean Air Research (GCARE) in the UK have investigated the amount of harmful air pollutants babies potentially inhale while out in a stroller with their parents or caretakers. The study looked at three different stroller types—single facing the road, single facing the adult and... Read more →


GlobalData: COVID-19 puts EV sales and CO2 fleet emission targets at risk

GlobalData research shows that lower oil prices as a result of the COVID-19 crisis could reduce electric vehicle demand and impair EU efforts to significantly reduce average new vehicle CO2 emissions in the European car market. GlobalData’s analysis suggests that low oil prices will lead to a longer waits for... Read more →


IPSOS study finds private cars jump to 1st place as preferred means of transport in China; protection against infection

In a recent study by the market research institute Ipsos, two out of three respondents say that they prefer their own car to public transport—twice as many as before the COVID-19 outbreak. At the end of February, Ipsos asked 1,620 Chinese citizens about their mobility preferences, and the fear of... Read more →


A sudden drop in miles traveled by car in the US triggered by wide-spread social isolation measures will have immediate ramifications for gasoline demand. IHS Markit analysis finds that US gasoline demand could fall by as much as 4.1 million barrels per day (MMb/d) during the COVID-19 response period. The... Read more →


Toyota Research Institute launches research into understanding and predicting human behavior for decision making; Machine Assisted Cognition

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) is expanding its exploratory research with the launch of Machine Assisted Cognition (MAC), a new initiative to develop and demonstrate artificial intelligence tools that can understand and predict human behavior in the context of decision making. A key pillar of TRI’s charter is to explore... Read more →


INRIX has published the first in what it says will be an ongoing series of reports on road traffic demand changes from the COVID-19 virus spread. The report finds that COVID-19 has reduced traffic by 30% nationwide so far in March. Source: INRIX. Total volume first dropped nationally on 13... Read more →


Data from the ESA’s Tropomi (TROPOspheric Monitoring) instrument on board the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite shows the variation of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions over China from December to March. A decline in NO2 corresponds to the outbreak of COVID-19 and a subsequent resurgence corresponds to the succes of measures to contain... Read more →


A new open-access study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that motor vehicle crashes involving drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) below the legal limit of 0.08% accounted for 15% of alcohol-involved crash deaths in the United States. Of these deaths, 55% of fatalities were individuals other than... Read more →


By Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. This is my latest update on the recent changes in the number of registered vehicles in the United States. In the previous analysis, I examined the data from 1984 through 2017. This analysis adds new calculations for 2018. The focus in this series is... Read more →


Only 6.2 million light-duty vehicles were sold worldwide in January—the lowest monthly figure since January 2012, which saw 5.9 million units sold, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company. Driving the drop in sales was the emergence in December 2019 of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China. The disease... Read more →


In addition to the European car market recording tepid growth in 2019, CO2 emissions have continued to increase, despite new regulation designed to curtail this, according to JATO Dynamics. Last year, the volume-weighted average CO2 emissions for European markets were at their highest recorded levels since 2014. According to data... Read more →


Vehicle miles of travel (VMT) on urban roadways in the United States grew by 13.7% from 2008 to 2018, while VMT on rural roadways decreased by 1%. Total VMT in 2018 was 3.2 trillion miles. Light-duty vehicles (of all types) posted an increase in urban VMT of a scant 0.2%... Read more →


The Governors Highway Safety Association’s (GHSA’s) report, “Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State: 2019 Preliminary Data,” projects that 6,590 pedestrians were killed on US roads in 2019. GHSA’s projection represents a 5% increase from 2018 in the number of pedestrian fatalities. This projection represents a continuation of an increasing trend in... Read more →


by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. E-commerce sales in the United States in 2019 amounted to 11.0% of all retail sales— the highest percentage yet. In comparison, the corresponding percentage in 2000 was only 0.9%. A common explanation of the rise in e-commerce is that it is a consequence of... Read more →


by BLNT, PriusPodcast.com. People might be bored reading about the Prius but a review on four Priuses (2004, 2005, two 2006s) that my family owns that ran a total of 913k km (570k miles) should be interesting, right? And how does a family end up with four Priuses to start... Read more →


More than three-quarters (76%) of the world’s population now live in urban areas, according to the European Commission’s Joint Research Center’s (JRC’s) new Atlas of the Human Planet 2019. The Atlas will be officially launched on Monday at the 10th session of the World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi. The... Read more →


Location technology specialist, TomTom (TOM2), released the latest results of the TomTom Traffic Index, a report detailing the traffic situation in 416 cities in 57 countries. Overall, traffic congestion has increased globally during the last decade, and the 239 cities (57%) TomTom included in the new Traffic Index report had... Read more →


by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. Vehicle distance traveled per person in Great Britain is currently about one-half of the distance in the United States. The issue of interest in this study is whether, despite this difference, the two countries show similar patterns of recent changes on this measure. The... Read more →


J.D. Power survey finds consumers continue to lack confidence in future mobility technologies

Consumers continue to lack confidence in the future mobility technologies that automakers are eager to bring to market, according to the J.D. Power 2019 Q4 Mobility Confidence Index Study fueled by SurveyMonkey Audience. The Mobility Confidence Index remains 36 (on a 100-point scale) for self-driving vehicles and 55 for battery-electric... Read more →


Consumer Reports is publishing survey results that show consumer concerns with new mobility options including ridehailing and ridesharing services. Chart shows the percentage of Americans who have used some common modes of transportation in the past two years. Source: Consumer Reports The survey reveals safety is a major concern for... Read more →


by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. Total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by all vehicles in the United States vary greatly across the individual states. The latest annual data from the Federal Highway Administration show that in 2018 the maximum (348,796 million miles in California) was 94.5 times greater than the... Read more →


New research from McGill University and the University of California, Santa Cruz has found that the local streets of the world’s cities are becoming less connected, a global trend that is driving urban sprawl and discouraging the use of public transportation. The new study, published in an open-access paper in... Read more →


Ipsos Global study finds three barriers to consumer adoption of EVs: cost, range, charging sites

Ipsos, the global research and insights organization, says it has uncovered the thoughts of consumers regarding BEVs. These new findings are released in the second module of the Ipsos Global Mobility Navigator Syndicated Study, in which 20,000 consumers worldwide shared their opinions on alternative engines and what it would take... Read more →


UWaterloo: ridesharing links could boost transit use in the suburbs; gaming the system

Integrating ridesharing with transit in poorly serviced suburban neighborhoods could be an effective way to get people out of their cars and boost ridership, according to the findings of a new study by researchers at the University of Waterloo. The researchers found that two-thirds of people who took advantage of... Read more →


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) produces annual congestion measurements for the 52 largest urban areas in the United States using data from the National Performance Management Research Data Set (NPMRDS). For the past five years, FHWA has measured the average length of time per day that monitored roadways were at... Read more →


by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. Since 2011, I have periodically examined changes in the proportion of persons with a driver’s license as a function of age. The previous study compared data for 1983 (as the baseline) with those for 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2017. The results showed that between... Read more →


From the 2010 model year through to September 2019, 14.6% of new vehicle sales in the United States have been pickup trucks, according to JATO Dynamics. From a 13.1% market share in 2010, pickups have grown to claim a 16.8% market share in 2019. Source: JATO Dynamics In contrast, pickups... Read more →


On a per-capita basis, the number of vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) on the nation’s roads varies from a low of 5,300 annual miles in the District of Columbia to 16,900 annual miles in Wyoming. These data are for 2017, the most recent year for which vehicle miles of travel are available.... Read more →


Study suggests global impact of obesity may be extra ~700MT/y CO2eq: about 1.6% of worldwide GHG emissions

A new analysis led by a team from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, estimates that on a global scale, obesity contributes to extra GHG emissions of ~49 megatons per year of CO2 equivalent (CO2eq) from oxidative metabolism due to greater metabolic demands; ~361 megatons per year of CO2eq from food... Read more →


by Michael Sivak. This analysis examined recent changes in the frequency of telecommuting in the United States. Of particular interest were the changes in telecommuting as a function of worker’s gender. Because various occupations differ in the extent to which they allow workers to telecommute, and the occupations differ in... Read more →


by Michael Sivak. Ten years ago, I published an analysis showing that the risk of driving in the United States was lowest during late winter and early spring and highest during fall. That analysis covered years 1994 through 2006. The present study examined whether this pattern still holds. The calculations... Read more →


OC&C survey finds US consumers lag behind major industrialized countries in embracing electric/hybrid vehicles

Americans are much less likely than consumers in other major industrialized countries to purchase an electric vehicle or hybrid, largely because of concerns over access to charging stations away from home, according to a survey by global consulting firm OC&C Strategy Consultants. The survey, which included 10,000 respondents across five... Read more →


by Michael Sivak. This article is the latest in a series that examines recent changes in various aspects of road transportation in the United States. The focus here is on distance driven per person as opposed to total distance driven (which depends, in part, on the continuously increasing size of... Read more →