Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Interesting and Somewhat Contrarian Covid-19 Data

  • The picture above circulates on Twitter but the URL for the CDC website does not match what is shown. If the data are correct, they suggest fewer deaths from pneumonia since November 2019 because more deaths were likely attributed to Covid-19.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Coronavirus: Light at the End of the Tunnel

  • On March 11, the World Health Organization declared a Covid-19 pandemic
  • On March 12, Hawaii decided that all large events are canceled. Disneyland announced its closing.
  • On March 13, Pres. Trump declared a 'state of emergency' in the U.S.
Right then I started collecting data for the World and for the US. All my data were taken around noon from, and rounded up to nearest hundred cases.

Here is the summary of my data and projections which suggest that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The first three graphs show the number of cases for three weeks starting in mid-March. The second graph suggests that a change has occurred and that the rate of daily growth has started declining. The third graph suggests that daily growth has become 'permanently' under 20% and declining. The fourth graph summarizes these three weeks of 21 daily data points and shows a clear downward trend.

In this writing, the last data point was collected at noon on April 4. Where do we go from here? 

If the rate of decline is slow, as the third graph suggests, then the shape of new cases will follow the red line on the bottom graph. New cases will peak at the very end of April. Around mid-May, the new cases in the US will be the same as now at about 300,000 per day. This is a likely scenario. The likely maximum of infections in the U.S will be about 35 million, and the maximum of new daily cases of will be about 1.2 million.

If the rate of decline is fast, as the fourth graph suggests, then the shape of new cases will follow the yellow line on the bottom graph. New cases will peak around April 15 and on May 15, the US will record only 100 new cases. This is a wonderful statistical outcome but not likely to occur unless the mitigations, warm weather and other factors serendipitously conspire to put a lid on this pandemic. Even under this optimistic scenario, the number of infections in the U.S will be about 12 million.

I'll keep following the numbers but indeed there are statistical indications that there is an end to the 'Covid-19 tunnel' in late spring.

There is great risk in making forecasts using only a few and fairly volatile data points. Every week adds precious new data that enable better future predictions. I will leave this post alone and will post updates separately. In this way, we can see how close we got in predicting 6 weeks into the future based on 3 weeks in the past.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

How Much Do We Pay for Roads and Other Utilities?

Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation presented a comparison below in which I added my data from Honolulu, Hawaii. Thanks to the 12 solar panels on the roof of my house, and my moderate annual mileage (about 11,000 miles at 20 mpg), my costs are similar or better than average US costs.

However, the data below do not include vehicle registration fees which are part of the road charges we pay. My vehicle's registration is just under $30 per month but most light duty trucks pay about $500 for registration on Oahu, which is over $40 per month. Even with registration included, the conclusion is the same. Roads are a vital infrastructure utility and we pay less for them than we pay for other infrastructure utilities.

=========== Poole's article:What Americans Pay in Highway User Taxes  ===========

HNTB Corporation last month put out a useful analysis that compares what Americans pay for roads and highways (via gasoline taxes) with what they pay for other basic infrastructure, such as electricity, water, cell phones, broadband, etc. I was not surprised to see that their results showed a far lower annual cost to use roadways (excluding tolled facilities) than for other user-charge-funded infrastructure. But I was surprised by how low the reported gas tax charge was.

In my book, Rethinking America’s Highways (University of Chicago Press, 2018), I presented a similar comparison, using data mostly from 2012-2013. My results were very similar to HNTB’s, except for the highway number. The comparative monthly figures are shown above.

My numbers make the same basic point—that people don’t realize how little they pay for roads compared with other basic infrastructure. But my fuel tax figure is about double that of HNTB. The answer appears to be that all HNTB’s figures are per household, except for fuel tax, which is per driver. By contrast, all of mine, including fuel tax, are calculated on a per-household basis.

I’m grateful to HNTB for making this kind of comparison, but we should not be presenting an unfairly low figure for what households pay for roads. The main point is to get people to understand that even $46 per household per month is far below what they pay for other basic infrastructure and is not sufficient to cover the capital and operating costs of our extensive roadway network.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Uber's Days Are Numbered

I have been saying this privately and on my Facebook page for at least two years. Uber's days are numbered. We just don't know exactly when it'll collapse. It really depends on the amount of fools willing to help it burn capital. Now hear it from Princeton's Alain Kornhauser below. (The linked article dances around the truth and provides vague and false hope.)

"At the size that they are now, neither Lyft or Uber are close to break-even. If they grow, it gets worse (unit labor charges go up and average revenue goes down, fundamental supply - demand). Driverless in a sufficiently large Operational Design Domain to substantially increase their size in not going to happen soon enough to save them as they exist today. They were just too early.

Their only "survival" option is to downsize by a factor of at least 10, reduce their valuation/stock price by a factor of at least 10. Become a "nice business" for 5-10 years and wait for Driverless aTaxis to become a reality and start this all over again.

Driverless is a necessary condition to make this into a network non-labor intensive business. Alain"

More Reasons to End HART Rail at Middle Street

City Leaders: Plans For Rail Work Along Dillingham ‘Not Acceptable’

My take is as follows. There are three choices.

Plan AProceed as planned with terrible inconvenience for Kalihi, much more congestion for daily commuters, and financial ruin of many Kalihi stores. Also going to Costco, Home Depot and Best Buy will be a challenge with huge congestion effects on Nimitz. Hwy.

Plan BTiptoe around the neighborhood which will extend project delivery time and cost a lot more. This option is likely not feasible. Can't build a quarter billion of elevated infrastructure without closures and major disruptions. This will wind up being like choice A, but with a higher cost.

Plan CEnd rail at Middle Street. This is the only reasonable choice. The rail project is largely useless and it keeps generating pains and costs. Ending it at the city's Middle Street Inter-modal Center is workable.

Plan C is an imperative, in light of these two headlines.

  1. Next mayor will have mountains of problems, but mere molehill of money to pay for them. Yet, somebody has to do it. Hopefully he or she will make the hole a little smaller. (Not likely, based on past history.) I'm not interested. I was in 2008 and 2010 when the rail and homelessness holes were treatable. Now they are ever expanding craters...
  2. This article relates to the fleecing of the taxpayer for the Public Private Partnership to complete the 4 miles between Middle Street and Ala Moana Center: City leaders playing hide-the-pea in rail financing scheme. "Few believe the city will complete Oahu rail to Ala Moana Center for the $9.2 billion total it projects, and we hear much speculation about the real final construction tab. $10 billion? $12 billion? $15 billion?" [David Shapiro's Volcanic Ash commentary.]

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Hawaii Remains 47th Worst in Assessment of State Highways

Quoted in front page article of the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Panos Prevedouros, professor of transportation engineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said that in general our rankings make sense. “Given our short distances and relatively slow speeds on highways, our fatality rate rank of 21st is above average (good) but it would be better with fewer DUIs and a motorcycle helmet law,” he wrote in an email. “As we know, pedestrian fatalities fluctuate a lot, but there has been a general increase for various reasons such as increased population age, increased tourism and traffic projects that provide a false sense of safety to vulnerable road users.”

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Porsches in my Addresses

Four addresses were I spent 30 years of my life had.... Porsches in them!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

State to Look at Building Parking for Laniakea Beach Park

UH Civil Engineering Professor Panos Prevedouros said he and his student recently looked at the pedestrian and traffic patterns near Laniakea Beach. He said every hour, there’s an average of “1,000 vehicles, 300 pedestrians.” “No sidewalks, no signs, no nothing. That’s why this area has been a problem for safety and congestion for many, many years,” he said.“No sidewalks, no signs, no nothing. That’s why this area has been a problem for safety and congestion for many, many years.” Prevedouros said he supports any solutions — long-term or short. “I understand it takes a long time to install long time measures but it’s already been a long time and they’re mired in their paperwork," he said. We need to keep the heat on this subject!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Wallet Hub: Cheap Car Insurance in 2019

Quoted in analysis of car insurance.

Why do car insurance rates (and even providers) vary so much from state to state?

Mostly due to legal definitions of tort and liability as well as minimum required coverage.

Is it riskier to drive in some cities and states than others? Are the drivers themselves riskier?

Specific age groups and race groups have shown increased rates for one or several types of crashes. Some of these groups are over-represented in some states. Also very busy intersections, substandard freeway merges and high volume rural and mountainous roads have a higher incidence of crashes. The number of these "black spots" also varies by city and state. Weather creates variability in crashes too, i.e., there are more crashes in foggy and icy conditions; there are many states that do not have these conditions.

Is there anything that state and local governments do to promote cheap car insurance rates for their constituents?

Enact properly designed and enforced laws on speed, red light running, helmet usage, intoxication, etc. These vary widely from state to state and sometimes within a state.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Some Ways To Stop The Exodus To The Mainland

Quoted in an article on an important subject covered by Dan De Gracia.

Panos Prevedouros, chairman of the UH Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, says four dimensions are vital to retaining young people in Hawaii: “satisfying, well paying jobs; quality of infrastructure and built environment; housing availability and price; and the cost of living.”

I do have a few specific suggestions for the four items I mentioned to Dan, as follows:

  1. Satisfying, well paying jobs... There is plenty good news here. Not only we have the lowest unemployment in the nation, but by 2020 the baby boomer retirement will become stronger. Engineers, business majors and other professionals will fare very well in job selection and remuneration.
  2. Quality of infrastructure and built environment... This will remain a weakness as the state and city grapple with human centered issues (homeless and elder care), bad choices (rail and misguided energy endeavors) and generous promises (civil service employee retirement and health care) which leave very little left over for infrastructure improvements. Parenthetically, this is why I am no longer interested in running for executive office in Hawaii. My ability to deliver on these fundamental quality of life assets of society will be useless.
  3. Housing availability and price... Leadership is needed to develop the remainder a Kakaako not as real estate safety deposit boxes for foreigners but as vibrant community for young (under 35) and old (over 65) with a fifty year P3, public private partnership, to develop reasonably priced rentals for unmarried young adults and for seniors in apartments with 1 and 2 bedrooms priced at, say, $1,200 and $1,600, respectively, with only 0.5 parking stall per apartment rented at $100 per month, plus incentives for transit and bicycle use. Three-four phases of about 500 units each will make a huge impact, and the amount of subsidy will be modest. The P3 is necessary to ensure quick, high quality development of the units and continuous maintenance for the life of the 50 year agreement; we do not want this done as a public housing project but as a long term for profit development with some taxpayer subsidy.
  4. Cost of living... The subsidized apartments described in (3) above, in combination with adoption of non motorized transportation for short trips and car-sharing for longer ones, will allow the young to partly defeat Hawaii's high cost of living for a decade or more. Combined with a good income from the start, the young will be able to save enough to afford a house or large unit for developing a family and making Hawaii their forever home.

However, our politicians pay no attention and clearly have no sympathy for young adults making, say, $50,000 a year or more, who are contemplating the choice to stay in Hawaii, and barely make it, or leave Hawaii for better opportunities. They are busy with their liberal kuleana: Taxation, land control, environmental control, more control and regulation, the homeless, the poor, the "living wage" and the like. This tells us a lot about priorities and the future of Hawaii... For decades now, the young ones have heard this message loud and clear.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Self-Driving Cars Another Nail In Rail’s Coffin

Quoted in the article "Self-Driving Cars Another Nail In Rail’s Coffin "by Josh Mason

Panos Prevedouros, chairman of the UH civil and environmental engineering department, said at a Grassroot Institute of Hawaii panel on May 3 that the rail system is already obsolete because the share of public transit nationwide has already halved over the past few years that Uber and Lyft have grown exponentially.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Energy Revolution Won't Come from Renewables

Well stated reality check in Want an Energy Revolution?

"For a practical example of the physics-anchored gap between aspiration and reality, consider Florida Power & Light’s recently announced plan to replace an old gas-fired power station with the world’s biggest battery... this battery “farm” will be able to store just two minutes of Florida’s electricity needs. That’s not going to change the world, or even Florida."

Vinod Koshla (of Sun Microsystems fame) had a similar opinion in 2011: "Environmentalists are fiddling while Rome burns. Forget today’s green technologies like electric cars, wind turbines, solar cells and smart grids. None meets what Khosla calls the “Chindia price”—the price at which people in China and India will buy them without a subsidy. “Everything’s a toy until it reaches that point.” (The Economist, March 10, 2011)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

How Clean Is Your Electric Vehicle?

The correct answer is... it depends on the way that power is produced. For example, EVs are not very clean in Honolulu (top graph); hybrids do better. But Reno (bottom graph) has natural gas, geothermal and solar power production, so EVs there run much cleaner. Find out about EV pollution for your area by entering your zip code at the website of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Feels Good to Be Ahead of Fellow Researchers

This 2019 paper concluded as follows:

"HEVs are rapidly emerging as a potential alternative to the existing state of transportation due to their lower petroleum consumption and toxic emission. Strict CO2 emission laws and increased public awareness will propel HEVs to be the future of road transportation." (Singh, K.V., Bansal, H.O. & Singh, D. J. Mod. Transport, Springer (2019) 27: 77,

We reached a similar conclusion and for the same reasons four years earlier!

The HEV has the second lowest societal and consumer LCC compared with all other six vehicle types. Its ranking makes it a strong candidate as a transitional technology. Its low LCC resulted from the low emission impact cost, the improved fuel efficiency and the low manufacturing cost. In the short term, there are no barriers that should be overcome to increase the penetration of HEV in the market.  (Mitropoulos, L. and P. D. Prevedouros, Emissions and Cost Model for Urban Light Duty Vehicles. Transp. Res. Part D: Transport and Environment, Elsevier (2015) 41: 147-159, doi: 10.1016/j.trd.2015.09.024.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Unintended Hazards Of Red-Light Cameras

Danny De Gracia did a good job on this consequential topic of traffic safety, red-light running cameras. My fuller opinion of RLR cameras is below.

The correct way for improving road safety requires equal amounts of Engineering, Education and Enforcement. Most cities do basic engineering, a trifle of education and heavy enforcement; that’s what politicians (mostly lawyers) do. The result is ever increasing crashes and fatalities, despite the large safety improvements of vehicles and intelligent traffic signals. Vulnerable users such as pedestrians and bicyclists are most at risk; this is particularly true for Honolulu with its perennially suitable weather for walking and biking; and its ever increasing number of elderly motorists and pedestrians.

A recent study published at the journal of the American Society of Civil Engineers was titled “If you are serious about safety, measure it.” It reveals the dearth of traffic safety information at most US cities. The cities have no idea about pedestrian and bicycle movements and little to no idea about crash causality. They are not serious about safety, and Honolulu leads the pack with no studies but many political pronouncements of solutions. Effective traffic safety recommendations come only after detailed engineering analysis. Locally, the problem is addressed by the mayor, police and the legislators (i.e., their lobbyist advisors.)

Red light running is a complex solution that marginally addresses a city’s traffic safety problems. In some locales it generates more crashes as many motorists make early and sudden stops at the onset of the yellow light. Its complexity and ability to generate hundreds of citations per hour become both a large expense to the city and a large “tax” burden to its residents and visitors. These systems tend to cite ordinary drivers who cross the stop bar of an intersection a fraction of a second after the onset of the red light. These systems have no special ability to cite speeders, and intoxicated and distracted drivers who are the typical culprits in crashes. They also do not provide any extra protection to bicyclists and pedestrians.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Critics Renew Calls To Stop Honolulu Rail At Middle Street

One point I made that Marcel Honore did not include in his story is this: Express bus from Middle Street to UH will be faster (most of the time) than rail from Middle Street to Ala Moana and bus from Ala Moana to UH.

"Panos Prevedouros, a longtime rail opponent who chairs the UH engineering department, estimates ridership on the full Ala Moana line would be closer to 60,000 daily boardings. If the ridership is already that low, then stopping at Middle Street wouldn’t push it much lower, he said.

“I don’t know that the ridership would be dramatically different if you’re getting people beyond the choke points at Middle Street,” Prevedouros said Monday.

To Prevedouros and Roth, getting past the H1-H2 and Middle Street freeway merges are the best thing that rail could accomplish for commuters. Its value, they say, diminishes past that point, and it makes more sense to put passengers on buses from there, which many would transfer to from Ala Moana Center anyway."

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Rearview Mirror: 5 Vehicular Tunnels Were Built out of 14 Proposed

Quoted in Bob Sigall's article Rearview Mirror: 5 vehicular tunnels were built out of 14 proposed

Pali Highway to UH
Panos Prevedouros, professor of transportation engineering at the University of Hawaii, proposed this tunnel in 2012 to alleviate H-1 congestion. One tunnel could provide two lanes in each direction, he said.
I was surprised that Bob Sigall discovered this tunnel proposal I studied with James Tokishi (a UHM CEE graduate) for HDOT. As far as I know, it has not been published anywhere. It was supposed to be a low clearance double-decker single bore tunnel (like A86 in Paris*), roughly from Pali Hwy. at Kuakini St. to Wilder Ave. at Dole St.

Honolulu to Ewa Beach

In the late 1960s a tunnel under the entrance to Pearl Harbor was proposed by the state House of Representatives to help leeward commuters get to town more quickly. It could shave 30- 40 minutes off their commute, some felt.

DOT Director Fujio “Fudge” Matsuda said the tunnel would be 7,000 feet long and cost over $750 million (in today’s dollars).

High maintenance costs, vulnerability to tidal wave inundation and Navy objections sank the idea then, but it gets resurrected every now and then. [That's right! See below]

Pearl Harbor Tunnel is a reversible 2-lane relatively short tunnel under the entrance of Pearl Harbor with cut-and-cover sections through the Honolulu International airport, priority lanes along Lagoon Drive and direct connection to the Nimitz Viaduct. Nimitz Viaduct is a 2-lane reversible “flyover” from the Keehi interchange to Iwilei.  Drive times from Ewa to downtown would be reduced from 65 to 11 minutes and the traffic reduction on Ft. Weaver Road and H-1 Fwy. would bring those commuter times down from 65 to 40 minutes.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Hawaii’s Infrastructure Gets D+ in 2019 ASCE Report

From a timely article in the Honolulu Star Advertiser: Panos Prevedouros, a transportation engineering professor at the University of Hawaii, said a new federal infrastructure plan “is very realistic,” but “I don’t know how much of this chunk will come down to us, because at 1.5 million (people), we’re really a very small state.”
He also takes issue with some of the grades given by the ASCE. “I believe some categories were doing even better than what is stated, and some others are probably worse,” he said.
Energy and solid-waste management are better than their C- and C grades, he said, “but then some areas such as roads and bridges — we would probably be below what is reported there.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Panos on TV

Long time ago I had time to keep track of my appearances on TV... 2003 to 2008.
Then in 2008 I run for mayor (try 1 of 2) and lost count... 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Randal O’Toole: Poor and Young People Are Fleeing Public Transit

Transit ridership has been declining now for four years, and the latest census data ... reveal that the biggest declines are among the groups that you might least expect: young people and low-income people. These results come from the American Community Survey, a survey of more than 3 million households a year conducted by the Census Bureau. Here are some of the key findings revealed by the data. …

The largest declines in transit commuting, both nationally and in the Washington DC urban area, are among younger people. Commuting forms only a part of transit ridership, but to the extent that declining ridership is due to ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, those services are disproportionately used by people under the age of 35.

Although transit subsidies are often justified by the need to provide mobility to low-income people, the reality is that transit commuting by people in the lowest income classes is shrinking while transit commuting is growing fastest among people in the highest income classes.

Transit commuting is increasingly skewed to people who earn more than $75,000 a year. Even though only 19 percent of American workers were in this income class in 2017, they made up 26 percent of transit commuters, an increase from just 14 percent in 2005. Both the average and the median income of transit commuters are higher than those of all workers.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Honolulu Traffic Relief?

Quoted in three recent articles on traffic congestion relief authored by Marcel Honore in the Honolulu Civil Beat.

"Occasionally, I’ve heard locals lay the blame on the University of Hawaii Manoa, with its approximately 24,000 students, faculty and staff.

Officials there point out that the campus already staggers its start times. On average, less than 20 percent of the student body starts classes at 8 a.m., according to Dan Meisenzahl, the university’s spokesman. It’s the “poster child” for staggered hours, added Panos Prevedoruros, who chairs the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering there.

The problem, both Prevedouros and Meisenzahl said, is the parking."

Panos Prevedouros, who chairs the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Civil Engineering Department, further suggested tolls and pricing schemes to discourage drivers from using the roads when they don’t have to.

“Theoretically this can all be done, but the devil is in the details,” said Panos Prevedouros, who chairs the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Hawaii Manoa.

Prevedouros supports congestion pricing. It could take hold in Hawaii with the growing local concern over climate change and interest in ways to reduce its impacts, he said.

“It’s a win-win,” Prevedouros said. “Put some costs to the congestion.”

Thursday, January 31, 2019

2018 Was a Disaster Year for Hawaii

... We survived all these:
  • Ballistic missile threat
  • Kauai floods and new US record for 24 hr rain
  • Aina Haina floods 
  • Big Island earthquakes 
  • Kilauea eruption and Fissure 8 crater
  • Six hurricanes; Lane, Olivia and Norman hit the state
  • Same old, same old election results
  • Record pedestrian deaths
  • Rail continued to burn a couple million dollars per day
Hawaii News Now got most of the story right.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Viral 2019 Ten Second Fireworks Video

A few seconds into 2019 I took a short video of the private (illegal) aerial fireworks that are so typical of new year's celebration in Honolulu, Hawaii from our Pacific Heights house lanai. About ten minutes later I posted in Facebook.

Next morning at 9 AM the video had about 8,000 which was more than any other video I posted in the last several years on Facebook. I thought "good going" and that's about it. But at about 11:30 AM the video had 33,000 views and KHON television station called with a request for permission to use the video in their news story. They did and their link of my video has over 60,000 views.

At 5 PM on January 1, my video views surpassed 100,000 and the viral run continued. Hawaii News Now also included my video in their January 1 coverage of fireworks in Honolulu.

24 hours later, at 9 AM on January 2, the video had 278,000 views and about 1,300 Likes. The viral run of this video is shown below for views and likes:
As of this writing on January 8, the video has 346,000 views and over 1,500 Likes.

Not a bad start to 2019. Happy New Year!

[For a comparison, my most viewed blog post is listed below; it has 8,100 reads:
Making the Most of the Rail Fiasco, posted in mid-2016]

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Researchers Hope Distracted Driving Study Changes Policies

KHON's Sara Mattison covered our recent research endeavors on driving distraction testsIt was a win-win for UH students and Charley's Taxi which provided the advanced driving simulator and 230 drivers. This was a public-private partnership for success.

"UH Professor Panos Prevedouros says this study is significant because they collected data from more than 200 professional drivers. That's bigger than most samples of this type of research. The information also shows just how bad distracted driving can be."

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Driverless Vehicles: Two Radically Different Visions

I concur with Bob Poole's commentary published as follows:

Surface Transportation Innovations
By Robert W. Poole, Jr.
Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow and Director of Transportation Policy
October 2018

There is no question that personal transportation will undergo significant changes in coming decades. Three such changes will be the advent of affordable electric vehicles, fully autonomous vehicles, and mobility as a service (MaaS) in which people opt to rely on shared vehicles rather than individually owned vehicles. These are separate changes, which may well arrive on different time scales and with different degrees of market penetration.
Several times in recent months, various people have sent me a report that links all three together via a dramatic scenario. The report comes from RethinkX and is called “Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030,” released in May 2017. Its headline claims include the following:
  • Fully autonomous vehicles (presumably SAE Level 5) will achieve regulatory approval and be on the market in 2020.
  • By 2030, those AVs will provide 95% of all [surface] passenger miles of travel.
  • Those 95% will all be in shared vehicles (Mobility as a Service), rather than in personally owned AVs.
  • These AVs will all be electric, and will last 500,000 to 700,000 miles on their initial battery pack.
These assumptions are shared by virtually no one actually working on AVs, whether at technology companies or traditional auto companies. The past year has seen a growing number of articles explaining that full autonomy (on all kinds of roads, in all kinds of weather, etc.) is turning out to be a much harder problem than many researchers expected. Most expect gradual introduction of AV features in the next decade, with full Level 5 not being likely until at least 2035 or beyond.

As I wrote in a recent column for Public Works Financing, there is no necessary connection between electric propulsion and autonomy: neither one depends on the other. The current generation of EVs costs nearly twice as much as comparable non-EV vehicles, seriously limiting mass-market appeal.

Likewise, as of now, autonomy itself requires a large array of costly sensors and very complex artificial intelligence software, Hence, RethinkX’s idea that electric AVs will be cheaper than conventional cars by 2020 looks to me like a pipe dream. In addition, the idea that the original battery pack will last 500,000 to 700,000 miles (a key to Rethink’s lower ownership cost estimate) is unproven. (The Toyota Prius battery pack has a 10-year or 150,000-mile warranty, while the Tesla Model 3 warranty is for 8 years of 100,000 miles.)

A far more realistic assessment of future mobility was released in May 2018 by S&P Global Ratings, “The Road Ahead for Autonomous Vehicles.” S&P’s analysts conclude that “mass adoption of driverless autonomous vehicles (AVs) [is] still decades away.” By contrast, they expect a faster penetration rate of electric vehicles (EVs), especially if there continue to be government “incentives” (subsidies) for those purchasing them. (S&P’s EV projections are somewhat exaggerated by including plug-in hybrids.)

S&P developed three scenarios (low/medium/high) for AV penetration, depending on a array of assumptions about technology, the price premium over conventional cars, extent of government “incentives,” growth in ride-sharing/ride-hailing (Mobility as a Service), etc. For the 2020 to 2030 period, the fraction of AVs in the total light-vehicle fleet by 2030 is projected at <1 2="" and="" av="" be="" fleet="" fraction="" high.="" in="" low="" medium="" of="" p="" phase="" scenario="" the="" vehicle="" would="">
I find the assumptions underlying the three scenarios to be reasonable, and a number of implications for highways and travel emerge. First, even in the high (“disruptive”) scenario, only 35% of the light vehicle fleet will be AVs by 2040. So that means our roadways and highways are going to have to deal with a mixed fleet for many decades. That is far different from popular media visions of a near-term all-AV future. Second, S&P suggests that the early impacts of Level 5 AVs will be felt most by transit agencies and parking enterprises. Between 2020 and 2030, S&P expects an increase in urban traffic congestion, due partly to the continued growth of ride-hailing. (Incidentally, a new paper by Alejandro Henao and Wesley E. Marshall, “The Impact of Ride-Hailing on Vehicle Miles Traveled,” projects that “ride-hailing leads to approximately 83.5% more VMT” than would have existed had ride-hailing not emerged.) As connected AV market penetration increases beyond 2030, S&P expects “lane capacity could increase by 5% to 7% by 2030-2035 [due to] an increase in platooning.” That would partially offset the impact on highways from increased VMT due to ride-hailing and increased personal travel by those who cannot drive today (very old, very young, and disabled).

These are still early days for EVs, AVs, and MaaS. The sober analysis from S&P is a far better guide to thinking about the implications of these developments than the blue-sky vision of RethinkX

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Dramatic Oil Based Sea Level Rise Is Not Possible

A major article on climate change published in the science journal NATURE concluded as follows:

"The study concludes that a moderate amount of warming, on the order of 2°C, or 3.6°F, sustained for millennia, would cause significant melting of the interior ice that lies below sea level in this region [Antarctica], raising global sea levels by 3-4 meters, or up to 13 feet."

However, there will be no oil and fossil fuels left to burn a few hundred years from now. See graph of oil reserves from The Economist, below. In addition, technology moves fast towards cleaner options, and heavy polluters like China and India cannot afford to burn coal uncontrollably because their large cities are already suffocating; more on this at The Future of Oil

Therefore, oil based global warming over millennia is not possible!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The New York Times Drops the Ball on Automated Vehicles

The New York Times Drops the Ball on Automated Vehicles
By Baruch Feigenbaum

At times the popular media coverage of transportation makes me cringe.  Many news outlets lack a dedicated transportation reporter, and the person whose job it is to cover the story often has little background and even less interest in transportation policy. Automated vehicles, in particular, seem to bring out some of the oddest, most uneducated assertions of all areas in transportation.

Exhibit A is Emily Badger’s New York Times piece, “Pave Over the Subway? Cities Face Tough Bets on Driverless Cars” (July 20, 2018). The article confuses facts and makes bizarre assumptions but its biggest weakness is leading those with limited knowledge to think her piece represents mainstream AV thinking. Princeton AV expert Alain Kornhauser described the piece as “not even … half-baked.”
Several times Badger takes the viewpoint of a small minority and presents it as mainstream. Beth Osborne of Transportation for America argues that city council members, state legislation, and decision-making have been unduly influenced by people who “have imbued autonomous vehicles with the possibility to solve every problem that was ever created in transportation since the beginning of time.”

AVs by themselves don’t solve problems; good policy solves problems. And if most people thought that AVs by themselves could fix all of our transportation issues, that would be a problem. But most people don’t. In fact, polls show that more Americans fear AVs than welcome them. Sixty-four percent of millennials don’t think automated vehicles are safe. Some futurists may have an unrealistic view of AVs, but the public as a whole does not.

Badger repeats this problem with transit—twice. First, she uses the opinion of one person to argue that cities will have to pave over obsolete heavy-rail lines such as the New York Subway. That person, Brad Templeton, is a pioneer AV thinker who comes up with many creative ideas, but he is an expert in technology and software, not mass transit. Ten out of 10 transit experts will tell you the New York City subway will never be paved over. Heavy rail, where it works, transports huge numbers of people. In very dense central cities rail simply cannot be replaced with bus, and I say this as a member of a Transportation Research Board bus transit committee.

Badger then uses Templeton’s idea to suggest that opponents of light rail projects in Detroit, Indianapolis, and Nashville are falling for the “AV will fix everything” argument.  Detroit, Indianapolis, and Nashville are nothing like New York City. New York has the super-high-density to make heavy rail work, a large number of jobs and residents near the central business district, and geographic boundaries (rivers) that make car travel challenging. The other cities have very low densities, very few jobs or residents in the central business districts, and no geographic boundaries. As a result, the three struggle to make even quality bus service work. In fact, the transit experts in those three metro areas did not recommend light rail; they recommended bus. Yet, Nashville’s political leadership chose to ignore the recommendation and place a light rail measure on the ballot that polling indicated would fail—as it did.

The lack of understanding that not every U.S. city has the spatial structure of New York or Washington, DC, is pervasive throughout the article. For example, Las Vegas is lauded for planning a light rail line, because there will not be space in downtown for everybody to drive their own AV. Yet no one is suggesting most folks will drive their own AVs. Early predictions are for a large increase in ride-sharing, as automation significantly reduces its cost. But even if many people buy their own AVs, Las Vegas could build a BRT line for less than one-third the cost of a rail line. Las Vegas already has a successful BRT line starting in downtown and running along the Vegas strip. Similar to Nashville, Las Vegas does not have the density to support light rail.

Badger makes one good point about the inflexibility and lack of creativity of many transit agencies. Twenty years ago, city manager Frank Martz of the Orlando suburb Altamonte Springs suggested using computers or kiosks to let people order smaller vehicles with optimized routes. But the leadership of the local transit agency, Lynx, was focused on buses, unions and drivers. The agency simply could not conceptualize on-demand transit. Finally, 20 years later, the city completed a two-year pilot program where it offered discounts on Uber rides. If transit agencies lack creativity and have made mistakes in the past, doesn’t it make sense to consider the uncertainties of automated vehicles when deciding on a transit technology?

This isn’t the first time The New York Times has published a poor transportation article. Earlier this year the newspaper argued that the Nashville rail plan (that the city’s own transit experts argued was bad policy) lost at the polls not because it was bad policy but because Americans for Prosperity bankrolled a campaign of transit-haters. The newspaper mentioned Randal O’Toole’s Nashville speech that compared rail transit to a diamond-encrusted watch. But it did not mention my Nashville presentation on why a bus-based system was a better alternative or other presentations from transit experts on automated vehicles and personal mobility.

The Times should re-assess its goals in transportation policy. If its goal is to run balanced, intelligent articles that are well-respected by professionals, it should follow the lead of the Washington Post (and many other newspapers) and hire one or more dedicated transportation reporters to write balanced feature articles on transportation policy. If the newspaper’s goal is to produce flashy headlines with little substantive news, it should stay on its current track (irony intended). But the New York Times’ leadership should not be surprised when transportation professionals continue to dismiss its work as drivel.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Hybrid Cars Do Well in Assessments of the Environmental Impact of Urban Vehicles

This is my contributing brief as the newest member of the invitation-only Scholars Strategy Network.

Transportation uses vast amounts of energy and has a major environmental impact. As a result, rigorous assessments of the sustainability of various modes of moving people and goods are critically important.

Alternative fuels and electric vehicles are two major developments that can help transportation planners reduce the detrimental environmental impact of transportation. After many studies, it turns out that the highest environmental-friendly scores go to hybrid diesel-electric buses, while the lowest scores go to vehicles reliant on gasoline internal combustion engines. Among all passenger vehicles, fuel cell and hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles have the highest sustainability indexes.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Scarcity of Engineers in Hawaii

Interviewed by Sara Mattison for the KHON2 story on Pearl Harbor Shipyard competing for qualified candidates.

..."Retirements have disrupted the workforce, but UH Department of Civil Engineering Chair Panos Prevedouros tells us there's a shortage of engineers because of an increase in construction projects. Plus, recruitments from the mainland are not staying.

"Engineers hired from the mainland, they are sort of a revolving door type of problem. They come, they work, but within two three years they feel like mainland is where they belong and that's not very good for local agencies and companies," said Prevedouros.

"We need to compete with cities, counties, and transportation departments on the mainland, and there the pay is much higher in some respects," said Prevedouros."

Thursday, June 21, 2018

2016: Caldwell and Hanabusa Agree to Stop Rail at Middle Street.

Back in 2016, Caldwell and Hanabusa were sensible, as quoted in Star Advertiser's Mayor recommends halting the rail route at Middle Street by Marcel Honore.

“I wish we could go all the way to Ala Moana now. That’s for another day,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell told [HART Board].

“It’s not a perfect-world situation,” HART board Chairwoman Colleen Hana­busa said at the Thursday meeting. “But … we don’t have the money.”

Fast forward two years ... Rail is nowhere near Middle Street, yet utility work past Middle Street has been authorized: HART awards $400 million contract to relocate utilities to make way for Honolulu rail

So the fleecing of the taxpayer continues:

"In 2012 HART estimated it would cost about $528 million to build rail’s final four miles. In March it estimated it would cost $866 million. Now [June 2016] it estimates it could cost as much as $1.5 billion to complete that same stretch."

But in May 2018 the utility relocation contract alone is $400M. Can they build a 4 mile bridge with 8 stations, etc. for $1.1B?  I say $3B at least!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

‘Complete Streets’ Is Just an Excuse for Government to Spend

My invited commentary in Honolulu Star Advertiser

For decades, traffic engineering meant moving cars. Planners decided that this is wrong and moved the discussion from moving cars to moving people; they said streets are not just for cars, trucks and buses, but also for pedestrians, bicycles, street cars, etc.

However, in the typical medium-to-large American city (i.e., with a metro area population of 1 million to 5 million people,) over 90 percent of the people move in cars and buses, and nearly 100 percent of the goods, move in trucks and cars. Also, in traditional and current traffic engineering practice, the service and safety of pedestrians is top priority.

So what are “Complete Streets” about? They are an excuse for government spending with undesirable economic, environmental and safety consequences, typically presented in the form of neighborhood beautification plans adorned with pleasant descriptions.


Friday, May 25, 2018

Major Driverless Vehicle Faux Pas

In this video the April 2018 Uber/Volvo driverless vehicle accident is analyzed on Israeli TV. The Israel/US (Mobileye/Intel) technology is extolled as superior. Then the superior technology with journalists aboard goes through a red light with schoolgirls about to cross! 

Go to minute 4 and watch the last minute or so of the story. This is a stunning faux pas!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Critical Challenges in Transportation

I received a survey distributed to transportation committees of the National Academy of Engineering on future challenges that will affect transportation. My main responses are as follows.

Please indicate to what extent you are interested in being engaged in activities related to the following critical challenges (not at all interested, not so interested, somewhat interested, very interested and extremely interested).

I was very interested or extremely interested in five out of the 14 critical challenges presented, as shown below along with my rationale.

Changing Characteristics of New Technologies & Innovation Environment (autonomous, shared, data-intensive): Potentially disruptive to traffic and freeway operations because we could get rid of most of roadside/ government data collection and tolling equipment, and rely on the big data generated by Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAV).

Rapid Entry of Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs in Transportation Technology and Services: We’ve got to watch this one. If the "ITs" succeed in taking over a big chunk of transportation, their next goal will be controlling a big chunk of the government.

Changing Demographics, Values, Preferences, & Behaviors (age distribution disparities, evolving service expectations): Demographics are the most predictable among the future unknowns. But "safety behavior" will become a major challenge as driving progressively becomes a secondary task.

Climate Change (increased disruptive events, concern for sustainability): Major concern for sustainability but due to consumption and resource depletion, less due to climate effects… at least till 2050.

Challenges to Planning and Forecasting (forecasting under rapid change, addressing uncertainties, implementing new methods): 20+ year forecasts are exercises in political appropriation of funds and social engineering. Long term forecasts for facilities and services subject to a lot of possible automation aren't useful.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Uncertainty surrounds $8B Honolulu rail project

National professional news outlet Construction Dive looked into HART in the article Uncertainty surrounds $8B Honolulu rail project after reviewing the Honolulu Civil Beat article What Honolulu Rail Officials Know They Don’t Know.

  • The total cost of the project is in question. Panos Prevedouros, chair of the civil and environmental engineering department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, estimates that it will cost at least $13* billion. The price tag for the mostly elevated rail line could rise as crews move into the city and navigate unmapped utilities, encounter various types of subsoil, come across potential native burial sites, and possibly damage existing structures as they excavate nearby. In order to provide the public with a rapid rail option and stay within the budget, officials could opt to shorten the system
  • Polls suggest a majority of the public wants to finish rail and stay within the existing budget. Both can be achieved only by finishing rail at the Middle Street Transit Center, where riders can transfer to coordinated options such as pooled ride-hailing and high-tech versions of Honolulu’s award-winning bus service.
  • Prevedouros believes such a plan would give taxpayers substantial value for their money already spent on rail, by getting people beyond both the H-1 and H-2 and the Middle Street merges while avoiding untold billions in construction costs and freeing up any saved construction financing to pay for operations and maintenance.
  • Most rail commuters will need to transfer at least once in any event. Consider this example: If rail were built to Ala Moana Center, it would take 12 minutes to get there from Middle Street by rail, and then another 16 minutes by bus to University of Hawaii Manoa — a total of 28 minutes. But if rail terminates at Middle Street, a UH student can get to Manoa by express bus in about 20 minutes.

(*) Back in 2009, FTA's consultant Jacobs of Dallas, TX conducted a risk analysis on HART's budget (actually Honolulu rail became the HART project after 2010) and showed a 10% chance of the project costing $10.5 billion. During the Legislative session of spring 2017, Mayor Caldwell mentioned that for all practical purposes the cost of the project is $10 billion. See "Mayor Kirk Caldwell and City Council Chairman Ron Menor think Oahu taxpayers are so rich we can pay not only for a $10 billion rail system that’s $5 billion over budget and climbing, but also for road projects on the neighbor islands."

As of 2018, the project is at least 6 years late (and likely to have further schedule slippages).
  • Taking the Jacobs $10.5 B projection and compounding it by 4% over 6 years gives a year of expenditure (YoE) cost of $13.29 Billion.
  • Taking the Mayor's $10.0 B projection and compounding it by 5% over 6 years gives a YoE cost of $13.40 Billion.
  • If you dislike compounding inflation and prefer the simple inflation of costs, then the corresponding numbers are $13.02 B and $13.00 B.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Onion on Transportation

Satirical publication The Onion has at least three priceless articles on transportation, as follows:

  • November 29, 2000, Report: 98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others

WASHINGTON, DC–A study released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association reveals that 98 percent of Americans support the use of mass transit by others.
Anaheim, CA, resident Lance Holland, who drives 80 miles a day to his job in downtown Los Angeles, was among the proponents of public transit.

"Expanding mass transit isn't just a good idea, it's a necessity," Holland said. "My drive to work is unbelievable. I spend more than two hours stuck in 12 lanes of traffic. It's about time somebody did something to get some of these other cars off the road."

Public support for mass transit will naturally lead to its expansion and improvement, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said.

"With everyone behind it, we'll be able to expand bus routes, create park-and-ride programs, and build entire new Metrolink commuter-rail lines," LACMTA president Howard Sager said. "It's almost a shame I don't know anyone who will be using these new services." READ MORE

  • March 10, 2004, Urban Planner Stuck In Traffic Of Own Design

PITTSBURGH, PA—Bernard Rothstein, an urban planner and traffic-flow modulation specialist with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, found himself stuck in rush-hour traffic of his own design for more than an hour Monday.
As Pittsburgh, America's steel capital, made the transition to high-tech and service industries in the 1980s, many thought its rusting, blighted urban landscape was obsolete. According to Rothstein, it was then that the Urban Redevelopment Authority, along with several private urban-planning firms, began the slow process of rethinking the city's roads, parks, and commercial and residential districts. Today, the city's designers are regularly lauded for their elegant, modern buildings and stuck in traffic of their own making for hours at a time. READ MORE

  • February 5, 2018, MTA Reminds New Yorkers They Can Fucking Walk

NEW YORK—In response to numerous complaints regarding recent delays and route changes to the city’s public transportation system, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials at a press conference Monday reminded residents that they can fucking walk. “While we always do our best to avoid inconveniencing our customers, city residents should be aware that at any time, they are more than welcome to get off their asses and use their two fucking feet to reach destinations,” said MTA spokesperson Reggie Dawes, adding that the city’s comprehensive street grid system is easily accessible on foot ... READ MORE

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Ban the Bike! How Cities Made a Huge Mistake in Promoting Cycling

Summary by Robert Poole of Lawrence Solomon's article. Solomon is an environmentalist whose career with Canada’s Energy Probe Research Foundation spans several decades.

"  Expanding the role of bicycle travel in urban areas has been government policy in developed nations for several decades. As Lawrence Solomon wrote in a recent piece in Canada’s Financial Post, “At no expense to taxpayers, the bicycle took cars off the road, easing traffic; it saved wear and tear on the roads, easing municipal budgets; it reduced auto emissions easing air pollution; it reduced the need for automobile parking, increasing the efficiency of land use; and it helped keep people fit, too.”

Yet despite these ostensible benefits, something of a “bikelash” is under way, in cities that include Amsterdam, several major cities in China, London, Singapore, and elsewhere. As The Economist reported in “The Bikes That Broke Free” (Dec. 23, 2017), one emerging problem is dockless bike-sharing systems that have plagued cities with bikes left all over the place. Amsterdam has banned such systems, and a growing number of Chinese cities have called a halt to any expansion of existing systems.

Solomon—once a strong advocate of urban bicycling—has concluded that bicycling today “is a mixed bag, usually with more negatives than positives. In many cities, bike lanes now consume more road space than they free up; they add to pollution as well as reducing it; they hurt neighborhoods and business districts alike; and they have become a drain on the public purse.”

Many of his examples come from Europe and Australia, where cities have been far more aggressive in promoting bicycle use than is typical in the United States. Transport for London has spent large sums to create a “cycle super highway” that has taken away traffic lanes and increased traffic congestion, sparking a significant backlash. Paris is spending €150 million on cycling infrastructure, Amsterdam €120 million just on bike parking spots, and Melbourne is under way on a $100 million cycling plan.

Negative health impacts are an unexpected consequence of aggressively expanded urban bicycling, Solomon notes. Congestion caused by taking away traffic lanes leads to idling traffic, which increases emissions. Cyclists are the most-exposed to PM2.5 soot from idling vehicles. A study by the London School of Medicine found that cyclists in London have 2.3 times more inhaled soot than walkers, because “cyclists breathe more deeply and at a quicker rate than pedestrians while in closer proximity to exhaust fumes.”

Although Solomon doesn’t mention cyclist deaths and injuries due to driving in close proximity to motor vehicles, my traffic engineer friends tell me (off the record) that they are appalled by the proliferation of bike lanes on major U.S. arterials that, because they are a vital supplement to the freeway system, increasingly have traffic signal timing aimed at providing rolling green lights and 40-45 mph speeds. They would much prefer that bicycles be kept away from such high-volume traffic arteries.

Solomon also points to concerns of local merchants who depend on metered street parking for their customers. In some cities, bike lanes have replaced street parking. The result is to replace a multi-function lane (traffic lane during AM and PM peaks, parking and truck delivery space at other hours) with “a single-function piece of under-used pavement.” Cities lose the former parking meter revenue, and in some cases have to build expensive parking structures nearby to replace the street parking.  "

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Honolulu Rail Creates One Tenth of Jobs Promissed

Quoted in Marcel Honore's article in the Honolulu Civil Beat Rail Promised Lots Of Jobs But There’s No Sure Count Of What It’s Delivering.
  • “It’s not the kind of project that lends itself to a huge amount of workers working at the same time,” said Panos Prevedouros, a longtime rail critic and one-time mayoral candidate who chairs the University of Hawaii’s Civil Engineering Department. “The way they did it, it’s much simpler to manage. It takes a longer time, but it keeps the (job) count quite low.”
By "the way they did it," I explained to Marcel that HART rail is being built one segment at a time by a single builder, instead of having, say 4 builders building 5 miles each, simultaneously.

  • Prevedouros said the city should keep better track of the actual jobs that rail is generating since that was such a strong part of the pitch years earlier to build the project.  “What was presented and promised, it was all rhetoric around the Great Recession we had. So it was a big selling point,” he said.  “Really, 1,000 jobs doesn’t make or break anything.” [in Honolulu]
It wasn't difficult for me and unbiased economists to see the lies in the jobs numbers. Back on April 14, 2010, I exposed this in my article Proposed Rail Creates 1,000 Local Jobs and Destroys 4,000 Jobs.

See Scott Ishikawa serving city propaganda for the 10,000 jobs... and an interesting comment underneath.

On March 23, 2012 I simply wrote that HART's Job Estimates Are Wrong.

So, let's recap... So far I was right about the cost of rail will be much higher than advertised, the delivery of rail would be much longer than advertised, and that the advertised job numbers were fake.  There are two big ones left: Reliability and Ridership.

Reliability may be better that mediocre now that Hitachi has put its name on the Ansaldo trains. Ridership will be, at best, one half of what the city proclaimed in the EIS (see my estimate.)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Behaviour of Lithium-Ion Batteries in Electric Vehicles

Hot off the press and pleased to be coauthor of Chapter 5 of the newest book on lithium batteries for transportation. I co-authored this article with my 2011 PhD student Dr. Lambrosw Mitropoulos.

Our chapter is titled Conventional, Battery-Powered, and Other Alternative Fuel Vehicles: Sustainability Assessment.

ABSTRACT:   The substantial impacts of transportation on environment, society, and economy strongly urge the incorporation of sustainability into transportation planning. Major developments that enhance transportation sustainability include alternative fuels, electric drive and other novel technologies for vehicle propulsion. This chapter presents a sustainability framework that enables the assessment of transportation vehicle characteristics. Identified indicators are grouped into five sustainability dimensions (environment, technology, energy, economy, and users). The method joins life cycle impacts and a set of quantified indicators to assess the sustainability performance of seven popular light-duty vehicles and two types of transit buses. The hybrid diesel electric bus received the highest sustainability index and the internal combustion engine vehicle the lowest. Fuel cell and hybrid electric vehicles were found to have the highest sustainability index among all passenger vehicles. The sustainability performance of some new technologies currently suffers from limitations in engine and battery performance, comfort and convenience, and availability of charging stations.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

26 UH Engineering Undergrads Achieve Professional Certification

More than two dozen students in the civil and environmental engineering program (CEE) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa became Envision Sustainability Professionals (ENV SPs) before the end of the fall 2017 semester.

All the students were enrolled in the College of Engineering‘s CEE 444 course on infrastructure sustainability.
To become ENV SPs, they passed a comprehensive assessment of sustainability credits that are applicable to any type of infrastructure project, including new projects and expansion or rehabilitation projects.
The exam was developed at Princeton University and is administered by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.
Encouraged by discussions at the National Civil Engineering Department Heads Conference last summer, Civil Engineering Professor Panos Prevedouros contacted local ENV SP engineer Jon Young and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design engineer Amber Takenouchi about presenting lectures to his CEE 444 students.
Both had facilitated an envision course in February and were willing to help. They created a 40-question homework assignment and, with Prevedouros, prepared and presented three lectures.
The students were given a choice. If they took the envision exam and passed it by December 12, it would stand in for their final exam. Prevedouros emphasized to the students that this would be a personal decision to build up their own records and not a course requirement (the final exam is 30 percent of the grade in CEE 444).
Nearly all of the students chose to take the exam. Prevedouros was ecstatic at the results.
“I thought that this addition to the course would have been a small success if about a dozen students tried the exam and maybe half of them passed it,” he said. “It would have been a clear success if just ten passed, but 26 of our undergraduates now have a professional certification before they actually have their degrees.”

[Originally posted by University of Hawaii: 26 UH engineering undergrads achieve professional certification, on December 27, 2017.]