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, doi.org/10.1007/s40534-019-0184-3)

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."