Monday, October 31, 2011

Economic Response to Cordon Congestion Pricing

The Economics of Cordon Tolling: General Equilibrium and Welfare Analysis (50 page, pdf, Alex Anas and Tomoru Hiramatsu, State University of New York at Buffalo, Oct.8. 2011)

The focus today is one an analysis of the toll-avoidance reactions of commuters who live within or outside a cardon in a large city in the USA (Chicago). Using a model, the authors concluded that cordon pricing affects real estate, transit use and economic activities such as location of businesses. The toll charge and the area cordoned are two basic drivers.

Key Quotes:

“Cordon tolling is considered successful in having reduced congestion and emissions, although the environmental benefits are secondary in magnitude compared to the time savings”

“The effects and benefits of cordon tolling can be quite different when public transit is not available or if it is available but its availability is limited by congestion at transit stations”

“A $14 toll per crossing maximizes welfare, achieving 65% of the gains from Pigouvian pricing on all major roads. About 16% of the downtown cordon’s welfare gains are from toll revenue, 34% from annualized real estate value gains and 50% from consumer utility”

“ Bigger cordons around the City of Chicago and around the City and its inner suburbs are also studied. In the case of the last cordon, toll-avoidance causes jobs, residences and real output to increase within the cordon”
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Roundabouts as a Strategy to Improve Air Quality

Modern Roundabouts, Global Warming, and Emissions Reductions: Status of Research, And Opportunities for North America (16 page pdf, Tony Redington, Canadian Transportation Research Forum, May 2001)

Also discussed here: Modern Roundabouts and the Environment (Road Commission of Washtenaw County)

And here: Air Quality and Modern Roundabouts (Wisconsin Dept Transportation, Aug, 21, 2008)

And here: Auto Roundabouts Reduce Fuel Consumption, Air Pollution 20-30%! (The Optimistic Futurist, Mar. 26, 2011)

The focus today is on how roundabouts can and are being used as a tool to reduce vehicle emissions at intersections compared to the use of traffic lights. The introduction of 100 roundabouts in Vermont was expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8%, addition to significantly fewer collisions and fatalities at intersections

Key Quotes:

“Modeling and empirical studies of busy highway intersections document a substantial short term benefit from installing modern roundabouts. Motor fuel consumption and associated air pollutants are reduced, and the primary global warming gas (GHG), CO2, is significantly cut.”

“The US Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Mobile 5 model (Mobile) does not contain a module that effectively models intersection performance.”

“The magnitude of impact from roundabouts on Vermont statewide motor fuel use is suggested by a hypothetical installation of roundabouts in place of signals at 100 busy intersections.. According to models, this change would decrease total annual motor fuel use by approximately 8% of 1997 statewide consumption.”

“25 roundabouts replacing existing traffic signals in the City of Burlington, Vermont would equate to over 20% of that City’s goal of bringing GHG emissions to 10% below the base line 1990 level”

“At the metropolitan level, the roundabout savings at busy intersections represents a tool to meet the Burlington goal of reducing 2005 GHGs generation by 256,000 tons. Transforming 25 signalized intersections with substantial traffic volumes would.. amount to about 61,000 tons of CO2..based on assuming 250,000 annual reduction in fuel use per intersection average and 19.57 pounds of CO2 per gallon of motor fuel”

“The City of Carmel, Indiana. found that when roundabouts replaced traditional intersections, accidents with injury reduced by 78%, and that cost of construction of a roundabout was $125,000 less than constructing an intersection with traffic lights”
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Traffic-Related Pollution and Fetal Growth

Fetus at 38 weeks after fertilization 3D Pregn...Image via WikipediaTraffic emissions are associated with reduced fetal growth in areas of Perth, Western Australia: an application of the AusRoads dispersion model (Abstract, Gavin Pereira, Natasha Nassar,Angus Cook, Carol Bower, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, Oct. 4, 2011)

And here: Traffic emissions linked to reduced foetal growth (MSN News, Oct. 7, 2011)
The research reviewed today concerns the impact of traffic-related pollution on fetal growth for pregnant women in Perth, Australia. The results indicate a clear association with babies at birth weighing 58 km lighter on average.

Key Quotes:

“We used carbon monoxide as a marker for locally derived traffic emissions, and assessed exposure using the AusRoads dispersion model.”

“We observed an association between maternal exposure to traffic emissions and reduced fetal growth.. but only observed in one of the three study areas.. reflected about half of the effect observed for maternal smoking during pregnancy
“The University of Western Australia study found that mothers in areas moderately polluted by carbon monoxide gave birth to children who were an average 58 grams lighter”

"This is the first time we have seen a specific link between normal suburban traffic pollution and its effect on the foetal growth.. International studies have found some associations but this is the first time we have seen a specific link between normal suburban traffic pollution and its effect on the foetal growth "

"The health benefits of active travel add to the health benefits of not contributing to traffic emissions."
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Particulate Hot-Spot Analyses

Transportation Conformity Guidance for Quantitative Hot-spot Analyses in PM2.5 and PM10 Nonattainment and Maintenance Areas (143 page pdf, Transportation and Regional Programs Division, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Dec. 2010)

Also discussed here: Los Angeles-South Coast Air Basin, CA 2006 PM2.5 Nonattainment Area Map

And here: The Green Book Nonattainment Areas for Criteria Pollutants (EPA, Aug. 30, 2010)

Today’s focus is on a guide to analyse PM hotspots in order to assess non-compliance with federal air quality standards for emissions from roads and highways in the USA.

Key Quotes:

“describes how to complete quantitative hot-spot analyses for certain highway and transit projects in PM2.5 and PM10 (PM) nonattainment and maintenance areas.. transportation conformity requirements for hot-spot analyses, and provides technical guidance on estimating project emissions to apply air quality models for PM hotspot analyses”

“A hot-spot analysis is defined in 40 CFR 93.101 as an estimation of likely future localized pollutant concentrations and a comparison of those concentrations to the relevant NAAQS… required for projects of local air quality concern, which include certain highway and transit projects that involve significant levels of diesel vehicle traffic and any other project identified in the PM SIP as a localized air quality concern”

“a PM hot-spot analysis..must be based on the total emissions burden which may result from the implementation of the project, summed together with future background concentrations”
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scrubbing the Air with Trees- London's BRIDGE Program

Estimating the removal of atmospheric particulate pollution by the urban tree canopy of London, under current and future environments (Abstract, Matthew Tallis, Gail Taylor, Danielle Sinnett, Peter Freer-Smith, Landscape and Urban Planning, Sep. 1, 2011)

Also discussed here: How Trees Clean the Air in London (ScienceDaily, Oct. 5, 2011)

And here: The BRIDGE programme (sustainaBle uRban plannIng Decision support accountinG for urban mEtabolism)

From London comes research on the capability of trees in an urban setting to remove PM10 from the air through accumulation of it on their leaves or needles. The article under review also presents a method to estimate how future implications of climate change on air pollution may be mitigated using urban tree growth. Previous research on the link between trees and pollution suggested that some trees when exposed to heavy pollution, particularly near heavy traffic, add volatile organic chemicals to the pollution.

Key Quotes:

“the urban trees of the Greater London Authority (GLA) area remove somewhere between 850 and 2000 tonnes of particulate pollution (PM10) from the air every year.. representing between 0.7% and 1.4% of PM10 from the urban boundary layer”

“the methodology allows the prediction of how much pollution will be removed in the future as the climate and pollution emissions change”

“a mixture of trees, including evergreens such as pines and evergreen oak, would have the greatest benefit to future air quality in terms of PM10 removal”

“Trees which have leaves the whole year are exposed to more pollution and so they take up more”

“the targeting of tree planting in the most polluted areas of the GLA and particularly the use of street trees which have the greatest exposure to PM10, would have the greatest benefit to future air quality”
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Autolib: emission-free car sharing

Paris launches electric car-sharing scheme (BBC News, Sep. 30, 2011)

Also discussed here: Autolib

And here: Paris Tests Short-Term Rentals of Electric Cars (David Jolly, New York Times, Oct. 3, 2011)

And here: Autolib: Paris' Electric Car Sharing Plan (Bloomberg Businessweek, Aug. 7, 2009)

You have to give Paris credit for innovation after reading today’s article. After the stunning success of its bike sharing program,Velib, comes Autolib, a program using electric cars for short trips. As anyone who has visited France in recent years can tell, cities there –unlike in the USA and Canada- are preparing for the switch to electric cars by building a charging station system on almost every block in the major cities. This paves the way, so to speak, for initiatives like this and the more rapid conversion of vehicles from more polluting models. Car sharing itself reduces the number of vehicles on the road by 5 to 1 or more.

Key Quotes:

“Paris is launching its first car-sharing project as it aims to clear its traffic-clogged boulevards”

“A two-month pilot project will allow motorists to hire the battery-powered Bluecar for 30 minutes at a cost of four to eight euros.. will have a range of up to 250 km before a recharge, which will take about four hours”

“At first, 66 of the four-seater vehicles will be available for hire at 33 charging stations.. Officials hope to have 3,000 of the zero-emission, four-seater Bluecars on the streets and 1,000 charging stations in Paris and surrounding cities by the end of 2012”

“Electric vehicles..consume 30 percent to 50 percent less energy per mile driven than traditional internal-combustion vehicles”

“Like the Velib cycle-hire scheme, Autolib's pricing structure encourages people to rent vehicles only for short journeys..We are not here to compete against traditional car rental businesses”

“Advocates say the system would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 22,000 tons a year while improving traffic congestion as fewer Paris residents would need to own cars”

“French newspaper Le Parisien pegs the price tag at $14 million to build some 1,400 self-service rental and recharging stations around Paris and adjacent suburbs”
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Friday, October 21, 2011

The opposite of congestion pricing - and it works

Unclogging roads by offering a reward (Road Pricing, Oct. 3, 2011)

Also discussed here: Spitscoren (English translation - how it works)

The carrot works more than the stick, so the saying goes. Today’s review article comes from Rotterdam in Holland where a system based on rewarding off peak use, instead of a congestion charge, has achieved modest results after three years. This may be the solution toward existing clogged roads which have been free of charges and where the imposition of a new toll would be very unpopular. It gives “going Dutch” a different meaning!

Key Quotes:

“Charging for something that was previously free is likely to cause consumers to think again about whether they want to “consume” the product, and as a result demand will decline…implementation of congestion charging remains difficult for many. The politics of doing so are by far the greatest barrier. Motorists so frequently don’t want to pay more, even if it is to mean a faster trip.”

“What about paying people not to drive on congested roads at congested times?..has been getting trialled, with considerable success, in the Netherlands for three years…pay every motorist that is part of the scheme, €5 every morning peak that the motorist does not use the road, and €1.50 for every evening peak.”

“It is called Spitscoren or profit from the peak”

“regular users of the highway were identified, by collecting number plate information to get those vehicles that travelled at peak times regularly. The owners of those vehicles were then approached.. the motorist receives the loan of a GPS enabled smartphone…to provide information on travel alternatives, and to enable the motorist to keep track of their trips (and credits for not travelling)”

“The key reward is based on a monthly balance, the amount of which depends on frequency of use. .. Part of the reward system is to get up to a 10 euro credit every month towards keeping the phone. After a year this credit provides a discount to buying the phone”

“The goal of the system was to reduce traffic levels by 5% in each direction, the result has been an 8% reduction. On average it has removed 750 vehicles from the road every peak period”
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why Do Cities Require So Many Offstreet Parking Spaces?

Glut of parking spaces in city (Jeremy Smerd, Crains New York, Oct. 2, 2011)

The article reviewed today from New York City makes an excellent point- why do cities require developers to build so many parking spaces for occupants of their buildings. Many times the private parking spaces go unused, especially in large cities with excellent public transit and, in some areas, free curbside parking. Interesting too that New York put a cap on parking spaces to comply with the Clean Air Act several decades ago- a step that other cities seeking to reduce vehicles emissions and improve air quality might consider as well.

Key Quotes:

“Ancient zoning rules force developer to overbuild. But reforms could reduce number of empty parking spaces”

“The reason people live at Avalon Fort Greene is to be close to mass transit, not to own a car..the garage is not something we would have built if we were not required to.”

“Off the streets and under buildings, however, exists a glut of parking spaces, built not to accommodate demand but to comply with zoning that the city has barely updated since the auto boom more than half a century ago”

“The New York City Housing Authority has begun to turn some lots into low-income housing and senior centers, but has retained subsidized parking for residents”

“Manhattan's minimums were replaced with a cap decades ago to comply with the Clean Air Act. It was the city's first acknowledgment that garages encouraged driving”

“it is hard to compete with free curbside parking..If the spaces on the street cost as much as my spaces,” he said, “I guess I'd be full.”
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Cost of Climate Change for the Health of Canadians

Paying The Price: The Economic Impacts of Climate Change for Canada (Ch. 5 Human Health) (168 page pdf, National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, Sep. 2011)

Today we review a a significant report from Canada’s National Round Table on the Environment and Economy that puts an added cost of 1-10 billion dollars each year for each of the four cities assessed, as a result of the impact of climate change and the changes that this implies for air pollution on the health of people. Over the next 10 years, this translates into a cumulative cost of over $80 B in Canada’s largest city- and this is only for premature deaths. The report also has recommendations on how to reduce these impacts by making adaptations to reduce the pollution levels- widespread use of green roofs, for example.

Key Quotes:

“the first time a national analysis of this kind, using various climate and growth scenarios, has been conducted to calculate how the economic costs of climate change stack up over time.. Climate change costs for Canada could escalate from roughly $5 billion per year in 2020 — less than 10 years away — to between $21 billion and $43 billion per year by the 2050s”

“We estimated the futures costs of climate change separately for two types of health impacts under each of our four scenarios : changes in risk of death from increased summertime heat and changes in risk of illnesses and deaths from poorer air quality

“Climate change results in additional deaths from heat and air pollution across the four cities on the order of three to six deaths per 100,000 people per year in the 2020s, with impacts worsening in future decades”

“According to our analysis, by the 2080s, deaths related to higher temperatures and poorer air quality attributable to climate change could account for 1% to 2% of the total deaths within the cities examined”

“In a changing climate, deteriorating air quality will lead to an additional four to seven hospital visits per 100,000 people per year by the 2050s”

“Poorer air quality will also increase the number of days people present with respiratory problems resulting in a roughly three-fold increase with high climate change and a roughly two-fold increase with low climate change, between the 2020s and 2080s”

“The costs of premature death risks from climate change calculated based on the VSL are in the order of billions of dollars per year for each city, and they grow over time”
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Health Risks with Cycling near Traffic

Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Acute Changes in Heart Rate Variability and Respiratory Function in Urban Cyclists (6 page pdf, Scott Weichenthal, Ryan Kulka, Aimee Dubeau, Christina Martin, Daniel Wang, Robert Dales, Environ Health Perspect, Oct. 2011)

Today’s review article looks at the health risks for cyclists exposed to high and low levels of traffic along the routes they take each day during the summer of 2010 in Ottawa, a city famous for its extensive network of bike paths and lanes. Conclusion is that cycling near traffic presents higher health risk for heart disease but not respiratory disease.

Key Quotes:

“exposure to traffic-related air pollution is known to contribute to adverse respiratory and cardiovascular outcomes, and even modest reductions in air pollution levels resulting from a shift from automobiles to bicycles may have important public health benefits”

“short-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution may contribute to changes in the autonomic regulation of the heart in the hours immediately after cycling”

“we did not observe strong associations between traffic-related air pollution and acute changes in respiratory outcomes”

“our findings suggest that, when possible, it may be prudent to select cycling routes that reduce exposure to traffic and to avoid cycling outdoors or to exercise indoors on days with elevated air pollution levels”

“the planning of new cycling routes/bicycle paths in urban areas should aim to minimize time spent in high-traffic areas in order to reduce exposures of recreational riders who may be more susceptible (e.g., elderly) to the acute cardiovascular health effects of traffic-related air pollution”
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Population, Traffic Density and Air Pollution in Large Cities

Smart Growth (Livability), Air Pollution and Public Health (Wendell Cox, NewGeography, Sep. 29, 2011)

Today’s focus is on the links between population density, traffic intensity and higher levels of pollution intensity based on an analysis of traffic and EPA pollutant data from 51 cities in the USA with more than 1 M population. The conclusion proposed is that the objective of urban planners toward urban population densification to reduce infrastructure costs and sprawl may result in higher pollution in the city core and that allowing sprawl allows vehicle emissions to dissipate over a larger area. While there is no argument against the link between heavy traffic, vehicle emissions and health risk, it seems that the author does not consider the fact that a sprawled city results in more vehicle travel and emissions from people commuting to work downtown than one with a high population density- aside from the added cost to provide municipal services such as fire, police, water and sewage to a larger area.

Key Quotes:

“higher population densities are strongly associated with higher levels of automobile travel and more intense air pollution emissions from cars and other highway vehicles”

“more intense traffic congestion and the consequent higher air pollution emissions are negative externalities of smart growth and densification”

“Seven of the 10 counties with the highest NOx emissions concentration (annual tons per square mile) in major metropolitan areas are also among the top 10 in population density (2008).”

“Virtually all urban areas of Western Europe, North America and Oceania principally rely on cars for their mobility and there is no indicate that this will change. The air is less unhealthful for residents where traffic intensity is greater. As the air pollution intensity data shows, cars need space”
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Cities of World Ranked by Exposure to Particulates

Database: outdoor air pollution in cities (World Health Organization - Public Health and Environment)

Also discussed here: WHO excel spreadsheet with city and country PM 2.5 and PM 10 annual averages

And here: The Cities with the Worst Air Pollution in the World (24/7 Wall St., Sep. 28, 2011)

And here: WHO Reveals Cities With Most And Least Polluted Air (MNT Medical news today, Sep. 27, 2011)

And here: The 10 Most Air-Polluted Cities in the U.S. (Bryan Walsh, Time, Sep. 29, 2011)
The focus today is on a list of cities in the world with the most and least pollution. Not surprisingly, those with the least pollution are small cities located some distance from industry in western Canada and USA and in southeast Australia, while the most polluted are in developing industrialized countries in Asia and Central America. The measure used for this comparison is particulate matter which comes from a number of sources in industry and from (diesel) vehicle emissions. IMHO, a better measure in cities afflicted with traffic air pollution might be nitrogen and carbon oxides (NO2 and CO2).

Key Quotes:

“The database contains results of urban outdoor air pollution monitoring from almost 1100 cities in 91 countries. Air quality is represented by annual mean concentration of fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5, i.e. particles smaller than 10 or 2.5 microns).”

“ more than 10% of the 1,000 or so cities listed … have an annual average of 70 µg/m3 of PM10.. A reduction from this level to 20 µg/m3 of PM10 could result in a 15% reduction in premature deaths”

“there are over 400 cities with annual average PM10 levels below the 20 µg/m3 guideline: In Canada: Whitehorse ,Yukon (3 µg/m3), Kitimat,BC (4), Burns Lake, BC (5), Houston, BC (5); In USA: Clearlake Calif (6) and Santa Fe, New Mex (6)”

“84 cities that have an annual average PM10 level of 11 µg/m3 and under”

“For 2008, the number of premature deaths attributable to urban outdoor air pollution is estimated to amount to 1.34 million worldwide. increase of 16% as compared to the previous figure of 1.15 million deaths for the year 2004. This increase is linked to recent increases in both air pollution concentrations and the total population affected as cities grow”

“Of these, 1.09 million deaths could be avoided if the mean annual Air Quality Guideline values of PM10=20μg/m3 and PM2.5=10 μg/m3 were implemented”
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NOx Emission Ceiling and Local Air Quality in the UK

Washington, DC's Metrobus powered with compres...Image via WikipediaMulti-Pollutant Measures Database - Final Interim Report: Meeting the NOx National Emission Ceiling for 2010 (100 page pdf, Entec UK Limited, DEFRA, June 2008)

Putting a ceiling on nitrogen oxides is part of a broader plan by DEFRA in the United Kingdom which has the highest NOx levels in Europe. An interim report on the implementation of a ceiling for NOx emissions is the focus of today’s review. As two of the largest emitters of NOx in the UK, road transport (30%) and power stations (22%) are emphasized. This is important also in the context of local air pollution where vehicle emissions predominate. One scenario, for example, is to reduce the absolute maximum speed limit to 70 kph which is being challenged.

Key Quotes:

“The purpose of this interim report is to consider how the UK could achieve compliance with the NOx National Emission Ceiling (NEC) for 2010 in a cost-effective manner”

“The least cost scenario to achieve the 2010 NOx NEC target, in the most cost-effective manner, would target road transport, the cement industry, other industrial combustion (i.e. gas boilers, turbines, and engines) and coal power stations”

“one of the most cost-effective abatement measure is compressed natural gas (CNG) retrofitted to HDVs”

“another cost-effective abatement measures is the absolute speed limit enforcement for cars of 70mph on motorways”

“Measures considered in the scenario analysis..will also impact on local air quality and associated human exposure. For instance, measures targeting road transport and domestic combustion may reduce concentrations of air pollutants in urban areas with high population density where most exceedances of air quality objectives occur”

“measures to reduce emissions from power stations, which tend to be located away from densely populated urban areas and release their emissions from tall chimneys, will have a relatively limited impact on reducing exceedances of air quality objectives and improving local air quality”

Emissions trading for NOx has been introduced in the Netherlands for a range of industrial sectors and is currently being considered in other Member States (for example, Poland)"

“Sweden plans to increase the charge to over €5 per kg of NOx and extend it to more sectors in order to further reduce NOx emissions”
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Searching for a Parking Spot and Needless Pollution

IBM Global Parking Survey: Drivers Share Worldwide Parking Woes (IBM Press Release, Sep. 28, 2011)
Today we review another “pain” survey facing drivers, the challenges in finding an open parking spot downtown in over 20 cities worldwide- and the shared pain residents of those cities experience in terms of emissions from these vehicles who on average spend 20 minutes in the search and make up 30% of the traffic.

Key Quotes:

“ 8,042 commuters in 20 cities on six continents surveyed”

“over 30 percent of traffic in a city is caused by drivers searching for a parking spot. Not only do inefficient parking systems result in congestion and increased carbon emissions, they also waste commuters’ time, lead to lost productivity and economic opportunities and can lead to inefficient city services”

The IBM Parking Index is comprised of the following key issues: 1) longest amount of time looking for a parking place; 2) inability to find a parking place; 3) disagreement over parking spots; 4) received a parking ticket for illegal parking and 5) number of parking tickets received.”

It’s easy to see how this parking ‘pain’ can impact productivity of citizens and economic opportunities in a city. The ability to combine transportation information being collected with a better understanding of their citizens’ parking needs can help cities not only better match parking supply with demand from commuters, but also better anticipate and avoid gridlock and make significant inroads to reduce congestion.”

Globally, drivers have spent an average of nearly 20 minutes in pursuit of a coveted spot. African drivers averaged both the shortest and longest times -- Johannesburg averaged 12.7 minutes and Nairobi averaged 31.7 minutes”

“Thirteen percent of drivers in Nairobi reported driving around for more than one hour for a parking spot within the last year….citizens in Chicago (28 percent), Montreal (24 percent) and Stockholm (24 percent) fared much better, finding a spot in less than five minutes”
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Putting a Value on Sustainable Transportation

The power and value of green in promoting sustainable transport behavior ( 11 page pdf, David Gaker, David Vautin1, Akshay Vij and Joan L Walker, Environ. Res. Lett., Jul. 26, 2011)

The article reviewed today looks at what value is put on positive actions or decisions taken concerning sustainable transportation options such as in buying a car, whether to drive or take transit to work, and the choice of route taken. The results indicate that a value of up to 70 cents (median 15 cents) for each pound of CO2 emissions saved.

Key Quotes:

“direct emissions from motor vehicles are the largest contributor to total household emissions.. and passenger transport is responsible for approximately 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US and as high as 40% in California”

“three primary experiments: an auto ownership question of whether to buy a car (and what type), a mode choice question of whether to use the car or some other mode on a given trip, and a route choice question regarding which route to take on a specific auto trip”

“our subjects are willing to adjust their behavior to reduce emissions, exhibiting an average willingness to pay for emissions reduction, or value of green (VoG), of 15 cents per pound of CO2 saved”

“most of the respondents valuing green somewhere between 0 and 70 cents per pound and with women, on average, willing to pay 7 cents more per saved pound than men”
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Climate Change, Air Pollution and Health in 21st Century

Climate Change Set to Increase Ozone-Related Deaths Over Next 60 Years, Scientists Warn (Science Daily, Sep. 27, 2011)

Also discussed here: Spain, among the countries with worse prognosis of mortality due to climate change (Health and Medicine News, Sep. 27, 2011)

And here: Global warming to influence ozone-related deaths, says study Earthsky, Sep. 27, 2011)

And here: Health effects of transport-related air pollution (205 page pdf, edited by Michal Krzyzanowski, Birgit Kuna-Dibbert, Jürgen Schneider,

World Health Organization, 2005)

Today's review post has a broad focus on the impact of climate change on health and, in particular, ozone-related deaths in some European countries which may increase by 14% in the next 50 years.

Key Quotes:

“The research is part of the Climate-Trap project and the impact on health directed by Professor Bertil Forsberg of the Umea University of Sweden and charged with preparing for the health sector needs that will be caused by climate change”

“since 1961, Belgium, Ireland, The Netherlands and the UK have seen the biggest impact on ozone-related deaths due to climate change”

“the biggest increase over the next 50 yrs is likely to be seen in Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal, who could expect an increase of between 10 and 14%...Nordic and Baltic countries are predicted to see a decrease over the same period”

"Ozone is a highly oxidative pollutant, linked with hospitalisations and deaths due to problems with the respiratory system. Ground-level ozone formation is due to rise as temperatures increase with climate change. The results of our study have shown the potential effects that climate change can have on ozone levels and how this change will impact upon the health of Europeans."

"Outdoor air pollution is the biggest environmental threat in Europe. If we do not act to reduce levels of ozone and other pollutants, we will see increased hospital admissions, extra medication and millions of lost working days”
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Is Urban Intensification the Best Way to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Dense downtown living more carbon intense due to higher consumption: a case study of Helsinki (10 page pdf, Jukka Heinonen, Riikka Kyr¨o and Seppo Junnila, Environ. Res. Lett., Sep. 26, 2011)

Today’s review article (partly) turns on its head the assumption by urban planners that intensification of the urban population is a worthy objective from an environmental and infrastructure point of view. This is based on a comprehensive cradle to grave assessment of CO2 emissions. Results indicate that a densely populated population core emits more than their suburban cousins for all categories of emissions except ground transportation because of the higher consumption of goods and services there. This conclusion may not be true of cities where the high consumer population lives in the suburbs but is a clear signal for planners to make their assessments on more than a transportation basis. Density may be a preferred option for other reasons but not necessarily for climate mitigation.

Key Quotes:

Contemporary urban planning follows design principles that are often referred to as the ‘five Ds’, namely, density, diversity, design, distance to transit, and destination accessibility”

“dense urban structure reduces vehicle miles traveled (VMT), which in turn reduces CO2 and other air emissions..At the same time, it is known that urban development patterns have a larger influence on daily commuting, while recreational transit is more dependent on the socioeconomic background of the consumer”

carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions are substantially higher in the dense downtown area than in the surrounding suburbs, which is suggested to imply that the increased consumption due to the higher standard of living increases emissions more than the higher density is able to reduce them.. carbon load of 14.7 ton CO2e per capita in Helsinki DT with nearly 10 000 inhabitants km−2 compared to 12.0 ton CO2e in the Helsinki SU with less than 3000 inhabitants km−2”

“climate policies should give higher priority to the energy consumption of buildings, to alternative energy production and distribution modes, as well as to low carbon consumption within the city”

“dense and diverse urban structure can be justified from a number of other ecological and social considerations such as exploiting readily available infrastructure, protection of wetlands or other natural habitats, or restoring greenfields for recreational use”
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