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The University of Oregon conducted research for the cities of Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver to understand how the deployment of autonomous vehicles may impact greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Based on the range of possible outcomes, the cities hope to better understand the policies and programmatic choices available to mitigate negative impacts of AVs and ensure that they can accomplish the goals stated in their climate action, land use, and transportation plans. By working together, each city hopes to learn from each other—as well as cities from across North America—to achieve their climate-related goals.
The transportation sector accounts for the largest portion of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to all other sectors, and GHGs are once again on the rise. At the same time, new mobility technologies are being introduced and fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) are anticipated to be deployed, at least to varying extents, within 5-10 years. (Waymo, Google’s self-driving project, is already operating a limited robotaxi service in Phoenix, AZ with a fleet of AVs.) AVs have the potential to improve safety, reduce congestion, and increase mobility— but they could also increase congestion, increase vehicle miles/ kilometers traveled (VMT/VKT), and erode transit, walk, and bike mode share, exacerbating existing conditions. The cities of Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; and Vancouver, BC have adopted climate action plans with the goal of dramatically reducing GHG emissions. This policy brief is intended to help the three cities better understand how AVs may help or hinder them in achieving their goals, and what recommended actions to take at this critical moment in time.
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are a near future reality and the implications of AVs on city development and urban form, while potentially widespread and dramatic, are not well understood. This report describes the first order impacts, or the broad ways that the form and function of cities are already being impacted by forces of change including—but not limited to—AVs and related technologies.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) was created as a result of state mandates in 2008 to mitigate climate change in the San Francisco Bay Area. This report evaluates the MTC's Climate Initiatives Program, a program with multiple projects designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by transportation.
"This plan sets the course toward realizing a healthy, prosperous, and resilient future for our city. It calls on us all to rise to the challenge of transforming our community to create a better life for future generations."
This document includes the interests of most, if not all, major issues surrounding the impact AVs will have on our communities, government, and environment once they land.
Continuous and dynamic growth in demand for road transport, especially in developing countries, causes increase of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. At the same time the emissions of toxic components of exhaust gases harmful to human health and the environment enhance – particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and others. In particular, GHG emission and increase their concentration in the atmosphere, where road transport is the largest issuer in the transport sector, become one of the most important global problems. So far actions towards reducing energy consumption and emissions have not caused a decrease in global emissions. The aim of authors of this paper is to analyze the potential for AV to reduce GHG emissions from road transport. The analysis includes not only technical and technological issues, but also organizational and in the management of transport demand.
The Renewable City Strategy sets the direction for Vancouver to achieve its 100% renewable energy goal. It is not intended to be a detailed roadmap or technology guide, but instead is a foundation for more detailed planning and budgeting. Project and technology support that result from the Renewable City Strategy will be assessed to ensure that the route followed is technically, economically and socially responsible. The Renewable City Strategy proposes a viable route to using 100% renewable energy—it is not the only route to that success.
"This paper builds on the growing scholarship on neighbourhood-level GHG production by combining emissions calculations from embodied energy, building-operating energy, and transportation energy, examining four variations of residential density."
Currently, little planning is being done to prepare for driverless technology. Actors at multiple levels, however, have tools at their disposal to help ensure that new technology does not come at the expense of the nation’s remaining natural habitats. This Article advocates for a shift in paradigm from policies that are merely anti-car to those that are pro-density, and provides suggestions for both cities and suburban areas for how harness the positive aspects of driverless cars while trying to stem the negative. Planning for density regardless of technology will help to ensure that, for the world of the future, there is actually a world.
Inclusive of manufacturing, transportation to the US, and the use phase, this study looks at the environmental impact of e-scooters compared to the use of alternative modes of transportation.
"This paper assesses alternative fuel options for transit buses. We find that all alternative fuel options lead to higher life cycle ownership and external costs than conventional diesel. When external funding is available to pay for 80% of vehicle purchase expenditures (which is usually the case for U.S. transit agencies), BEBs yield large reductions (17–23%) in terms of ownership and external costs compared to diesel."
"The research described in this report shows that even with the greater global warming emissions from manufacturing (largely because of lithium-ion battery manufacturing), a battery-electric vehicle still results in significantly lower global warming emissions over its lifetime than its gasoline counterpart. Other studies on this topic have come to similar conclusions."
"In response to the Trump administration’s withdrawal of support for the international Paris Climate Agreement last year, the City Council adopted Resolution 31757, affirming Seattle's commitment to the goals established in the Paris Agreement, and directing the Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE) to identify the actions necessary to do our part to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The resulting actions, developed under the leadership of Mayor Durkan, reflect a tipping point in the transition to Seattle’s zero emissions future. They are designed to move beyond incremental change and fundamentally reshape our building and transportation systems for a fossil fuel-free future."
We quantify the importance of early action to tackle urban sprawl. We focus on the long-term nature of infrastructure decisions, specifically local roadways, which can lock in greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come. The location and interconnectedness of local roadways form a near permanent backbone for the future layout of land parcels, buildings, and transportation options. We provide new estimates of the environmental impact of low-connectivity roads, characterized by cul-de-sacs and T-intersections, which we dub street-network sprawl. We find an elasticity of vehicle ownership with respect to street connectivity of –0.15—larger than suggested by previous research. We then apply this estimate to quantify the long-term emissions implications of alternative scenarios for street-network sprawl. On current trends alone, we project vehicle travel and emissions to fall by ∼3.2% over the 2015–2050 period, compared to a scenario where sprawl plateaus at its 1994 peak. Concerted policy efforts to increase street connectivity could more than triple these reductions to ∼8.8% by 2050. Longer-term reductions over the 2050–2100 period are more speculative, but could be more than 50% greater than those achieved by 2050. The longer the timescale over which mitigation efforts are considered, the more important it becomes to address the physical form of the built environment.
This Electric Vehicle Strategy focuses on electrification of the public transit system, shared vehicles and the private automobiles that remain in use, which is one of many strategies the City is taking to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. This strategy also seeks to maximize the benefits of air quality and affordability for low-income residents and parts of Portland that are the most dependent on private vehicles.
This document provides guidance to transit agencies for quantifying their greenhouse gas emissions, including both emissions generated by transit and the potential reduction of emissions through efficiency and displacement. It lays out a standard methodology for transit agencies to report their greenhouse gas emissions in a transparent, consistent and cost-effective manner. It ensures that agencies can provide an accurate public record of their emissions; may help them comply with future state and federal legal requirements; and may help them gain credit for their―early actions to reduce emissions.
This is an overview of how the Portland Climate Action Plan was revised to include the equitable disparities that existed in the first one. It lays out the process strategies, budget considerations, and people that were involved and brought along for the process.
"Our primary focus is travel related energy consumption and emissions, since potential lifecycle impacts are generally smaller in magnitude. We explore the net effects of automation on emissions through several illustrative scenarios, finding that automation might plausibly reduce road transport GHG emissions and energy use by nearly half – or nearly double them – depending on which effects come to dominate."
"The following key findings are based on the World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights, which presents the latest round of global population estimates and projections by the United Nations."
New data from the US EPA on power plant greenhouse gas emissions are in, and electric vehicles (EV) in the US are even cleaner than they were before. The climate change emissions created by driving on electricity depend on where you live, but on average, an EV driving on electricity in the U.S. today is equivalent to a conventional gasoline car that gets 80 MPG, up from 73 MPG in our 2017 update.
"Carsharing exemplifies a growing trend towards service provision displacing ownership of capital goods. We developed a model to quantify the impact of carsharing on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The study took into account different types of households and their trip characteristics. The analysis considers five factors by which carsharing can impact GHG emissions: transportation mode change, fleet vintage, vehicle optimization, more efficient drive trains within each vehicle type, and trip aggregation. Access to carsharing has already been shown to lead some users to relinquish ownership of their personal vehicle. We find that even without a reduction in vehicle-kilometers traveled the change in characteristics of the vehicles used in carsharing fleets can reduce GHGs by more than 30%. Shifting some trips to public transit provides a further 10%–20% reduction in GHGs"
This article examines the burgeoning future of electric buses and the possible impacts it may have on society.
"Here we present a unique long-term (decadal) record of CO2 mole fractions from five sites across Utah’s metropolitan Salt Lake Valley. Four state-of-the-art global-scale emission inventories also have a nonlinear relationship with population density across the city; however, in contrast to our observations, they all have nearly constant emissions over time. Our results indicate that decadal scale changes in urban CO2 emissions are detectable through monitoring networks and constitute a valuable approach to evaluate emission inventories and studies of urban carbon cycles."
This paper evaluates the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission impacts that result from individuals participating in carsharing organizations within North America. The authors conducted an online survey with members of major carsharing organizations and evaluated the change in annual household emissions (e.g., impact) of respondents that joined carsharing. The results show that a majority of households joining carsharing are increasing their emissions by gaining access to automobiles.
The purpose of this document is to identify and outline the policies, programs and strategies being adopted by the City of Portland (City), as part of a regionally coordinated effort to promote and integrate electric vehicles (EVs) into our transportation system and to capitalize on local economic development opportunities from this emerging industry.
This work describes the design of an agent-based model for shared autonomous vehicle (SAV) operations, the results of many case-study applications using this model, and the estimated environmental benefits of such settings, versus conventional vehicle ownership and use. Preliminary results indicate that each SAV can replace around eleven conventional vehicles, but adds up to 10% more travel distance than comparable non-SAV trips, resulting in overall beneficial emissions impacts, once fleet-efficiency changes and embodied versus in-use emissions are assessed.
CityLab is launching Bus to the Future that puts public coaches at the center of the transportation future. It also plan to look at how technology can improve bus fundamentals. Automation (combined TNCs) could also transform surface transit.
This article summarizes the history of how Level of Service (LOS) became tied to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the motivations for the current shift away from LOS toward Vehicles Miles Traveled (VMT) as an environmental review point for new construction projects.
This publication profiles some of Copenhagen's best sustainable solutions. In the spirit of sharing, Copenhagen reaches out to cities worldwide with our solutions, but is also on the lookout for new ideas to improve Copenhagen and hope to be inspired by the lessons learnt by others.
This report seeks to represent a comprehensive assessment of energy savings potential for heavy trucks.
Focus on emissions and energy efficiency has long been focused on vehicles and improving their efficiency. This article discusses the option that hasn't been utilized as much by policy markers, to just limit the amount people drive.
NYC Transit and MTA bus have a combined fleet of about 5,700 buses for public transportation in New York City. The fleet currently consists of a mix of diesel, hybrid diesel and CNG (compressed natural gas) buses. Electric buses have vastly lower greenhouse gas(GHG) emissions than the current fleet. The MTA will have challenges associated with a changeover to electric buses, but effective planning can make the change nearly invisible to customers. The recommendation of this analysis is that New York City should begin taking steps to convert the bus fleet to all electric.
It seems that drones are the future of delivery. Now, there's evidence that this outcome could have a positive effect on our energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions.
This paper presents an analysis of the data and frames it in a broader context. It concludes with a description of FTA actions that address climate change.
This paper describes research undertaken to establish plausible fuel-speed curves (FSC) for hypothetical advanced powertrain vehicles. These FSC are needed to account for the effects of congestion in long-term transportation scenario analysis considering fuel consumption and emissions. The results presented in this paper will assist analysis of the roles that vehicle technology and congestion mitigation can play in reducing fuel consumption and emissions from roadway travel.
The focus of this paper is around GHG emissions reduction potentials by electrifying transportation methods around the world.
This paper discusses the current and future state of AVs, and the implications for policy at the federal, state, and local levels. It does not intend to summarize all the research nor provide new analysis of the potential implications of AVs. The goal is to provide concrete and substantive recommendations for policymakers in order to responsibly deploy AVs on public roads.
The forces that will influence the environmental impacts of large-scale AV adoption are identified to help determine necessary future research directions. It is too early to determine which of these forces will dominate the system and dictate whether AV adoption will result in net reductions or increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The environmental research community must develop a better understanding of the disruptive forces of AVs to help develop a strategy to reduce transportation emissions. Particular emphasis is needed regarding how AVs will be adopted and used, as these patterns may ultimately dictate the environmental impacts of AVs. Without better integration of engineering, social science, and planning disciplines to model future adoption scenarios, important opportunities to steer markets toward sustainable outcomes will be lost.
With Mayo Clinic defining its landscape, Rochester has always been a place where health is front-and-center. But a primary goal for the Destination Medical Center is to transform Rochester into America’s City for Health where residents and visitors will, literally, walk the walk when it comes to wellness. The Design Guidelines that the Design Center at the University of Minnesota has developed with the staff of the City of Rochester and the Destination Medical Center show, in very specific and concrete terms, how to achieve that goal.
EPA webpage briefly outlining the US emissions facts in the transportation field.
In theory, e-commerce can be greener than a bunch of shoppers making personal trips in their own cars: Consolidating products and delivering them on one route to a bunch of homes requires fewer miles on the road. However, that calculus changes significantly if items are coming from further away and have to be sent immediately, which creates fewer opportunities for lumping deliveries together.
We are on the cusp of one of the fastest, deepest, most consequential disruptions of transportation in history. By 2030, within 10 years of regulatory approval of autonomous vehicles (AVs), 95% of U.S. passenger miles traveled will be served by on-demand autonomous electric vehicles owned by fleets, not individuals, in a new business model we call “transportas-a-service” (TaaS). The TaaS disruption will have enormous implications across the transportation and oil industries, decimating entire portions of their value chains, causing oil demand and prices to plummet, and destroying trillions of dollars in investor value — but also creating trillions of dollars in new business opportunities, consumer surplus and GDP growth.
This article highlights the disaster that could be the continuation of everyone thinking they need their own car for each trip they take and how we need to get serious about expanding the sharing economy.
In recent years, economic, environmental, and social forces have quickly given rise to the “sharing economy,” a collective of entrepreneurs and consumers leveraging technology to share resources, save money, and generate capital. Homesharing services, such as Airbnb, and peer-to-peer carsharing services, such as Getaround, have become part of a sociodemographic trend that has pushed the sharing economy from the fringe and more to the mainstream. The role of shared mobility in the broader landscape of urban mobility has become a frequent topic of discussion. Major shared transportation modes—such as bikesharing, carsharing, ridesourcing, and alternative transit services—are changing how people travel and are having a transformative effect on mobility and local planning.
We review the history, current developments, projected future trends and environmental impacts of automated vehicles (AVs) and on-demand mobility, and explore potential synergies. Many automobile manufacturers and Google plan to release AVs between 2017 and 2020, with potential benefits including increased safety, more efficient road use, increased driver productivity and energy savings. Combining on-demand mobility and AVs may amplify adoption of both, and further lower energy use and GHG emissions through the use of small, efficient shared AVs.