News Tagged: Emissions

12 Entries Tagged

Light rail reduces auto traffic, cuts emissions, study finds

Posted on July 3, 2014

For the first time, researchers have shown that installing light rail on an existing travel corridor not only gets people out of their cars, but reduces congestion and air pollution.

In the study, planners at the University of Utah measured impacts of a new light rail line in Salt Lake City (University Line) on an existing major thoroughfare (400/500 South). Their analysis showed that traffic near the University has fallen to levels not seen since the 1980s, even as the number of students, faculty and staff at the university has increased, and the commercial district along the corridor has expanded.

"This is the first study to document important effects of light rail transit on traffic volumes,” said Reid Ewing, professor of city and metropolitan planning at the University of Utah and lead author on the study. “Since the University TRAX line opened, there has been increased development in the 400/500 South travel corridor, yet traffic on the street has actually declined. Our calculations show that without the University TRAX line, there would be at least 7,300 more cars per day on 400/500 South, and possibly as many as 21,700 additional cars. The line avoids gridlock, as well as saves an additional 13 tons of toxic air pollutants. This is important knowledge for shaping future transportation policies.”

Andrew Gruber, executive director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council, which has been responsible for coordinating transportation planning in the Salt Lake and Ogden areas since 1973 said, “This study further demonstrates the value of public transportation in helping people reach their destinations, reduce traffic and spur economic development. The findings are significant for local governments across our region as they consider the future of transit in their community.”

The report—which validates assumptions widely used in travel demand models used in community planning—was issued recently by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, and has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Public Transportation later this year. The report is available for download at http://otrec.us/project/611.

Ewing worked with Guang Tian, a doctoral student in city and metropolitan planning, and Allison Spain, academic program manager at the University of Utah.

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Tags: development, emissions, guang tian, light-rail transit, nitc, reid ewing, traffic, traffic congestion, transit, university of utah, utah department of transportation, utah transit authority

OTREC gives “green light” to new hybrid electric vehicle

Posted on April 11, 2014

OTREC researchers and students from the Oregon Institute of Technology have teamed up with Green Lite Motors to test a next-generation hybrid car.
 
Green Lite Motors, a clean-tech start-up company based in Portland, Ore., has developed a small, three-wheeled, gas-electric hybrid vehicle based on the platform of a Suzuki Burgman scooter.
 
The vehicle is classed as a motorcycle, and has all the advantages of the smaller vehicle — it doesn’t take up a whole parking space, and it gives off fewer emissions — but it also has an advanced roll-cage design, giving it the safety and comfort of a standard passenger car. It has two wheels in the front, one in the back, and mileage possibilities greater than 100 miles per gallon.
The target market areas for this two-passenger vehicle are urban commute zones, where large numbers of people travel daily from suburban homes to city-based professions. 
 
The tiny hybrid car could change the commuting experience, minimizing gas expenditure and cutting down the time people spend looking for parking.

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Tags: electric vehicles, emissions, livability, oregon institute of technology, otrec

Unique course puts emissions models in transportation engineers’ hands

Posted on February 21, 2014

Portland State University engineering doctoral student Alex Bigazzi has developed a new course aimed at giving transportation engineers experience running emissions models. The course, Transportation Emissions Modeling, is offered through the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The practical nature of the course sets it apart from the few emissions courses offered at other universities, Bigazzi said. “Those tend to be on the policy side or the environmental side,” he said. “This is unique in trying to help engineers more than policymakers or future policymakers.”

The course fits with both Bigazzi’s own experience and Portland State’s faculty research strength in emissions and modeling. The university already offers an air quality course, but Bigazzi’s offering focuses narrowly on emissions from motor vehicles.

Students spent the first half of the inaugural course learning context for the models, including when they are used and what they can do. “There are federal requirements to do these models for all serious transportation projects,” Bigazzi said. “People need to understand what goes into them and how accurate they can be.”

Because emissions models aren’t as complex mathematically as other models, and because the Environmental Protection Agency’s MOVES model is freely accessible, students can spend more time learning exactly what the model can and can’t do.

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Tags: alex bigazzi, emissions, transportation modeling

‘Straphanger’ author gives his take on transit systems at Oregon Transportation Summit

Posted on September 5, 2013

At age 8, Taras Grescoe decided that his Vancouver, B.C., residential street had too many cars chugging past. So he removed them.

“I completely redesigned our city block and modeled with Monopoly hotels what it would look like without cars,” Grescoe said. “I was this 8-year-old urban planning geek in the making.”

While his career took a different path, those early transportation experiences shaped a worldview Grescoe outlines in his latest book, “Straphanger.” Grescoe will present his observations as the keynote speaker for the Oregon Transportation Summit Sept. 16.

Register for the summit through the following link:
http://otrec.us/events/subpage/OTS/page1

The author of nonfiction essays and books including “Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood” Grescoe is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, the Independent and National Geographic Traveler and has written for Gourmet, Salon and Wired.

If moving from a walkable neighborhood in Toronto to a car-dominated one in Vancouver first awakened Grescoe to how transportation shapes our cities, his car-free travels to cities across the world cement the thesis of “Straphanger”: Cars nearly killed our greatest cities but transit can help bring them back.
 
Grescoe details the loss of urban public space as cities that formed around streetcars and transit lines gradually grew to serve automobiles. “The car, especially in the postwar years, was the thing that really turned North American cities,” he said. “Every time you get in a car, you are turning your back on the public realm.

“You subtly undermine the quality of life in the city when you opt for private transportation.”

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Tags: bicycling, bottomfeeder, emissions, montreal, oregon transportation summit, straphanger, taras grescoe, transit, walking

OTREC research looks into effects of traffic signal optimization

Posted on August 30, 2013

An OTREC project recently took an in-depth look at the travel-time and health-related effects of a new implementation of a state of the art adaptive traffic system.

Southeast Powell Boulevard is a multimodal urban corridor connecting highway US-26 through Portland, Oregon. The corridor is highly congested during morning and evening peak traffic hours. In October 2011, an adaptive traffic system called SCATS was deployed.

The primary function of SCATS, or Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System, is to mitigate traffic congestion. Using sensors (usually inductive loops) at each traffic signal, the system tries to find the best cycle time and phasing along the corridor as traffic demand patterns change.

In this integrated multimodal study, OTREC researchers looked at the corridor’s traffic speed and transit reliability, before and after the implementation of SCATS. In addition, a novel contribution of this study was to study the link between signal timing and air quality.

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Tags: congestion, emissions, figliozzi, mitigation, otrec, psu, scats, transit, trimet, tsp

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