Report charts Destination Sustainability for North American freight transportation

Cross-border cooperation to improve environmental performance of the North American freight system is urgently needed—not just to enhance environmental sustainability, but to safeguard regional economic competitiveness—according to a new report from the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).

Entitled Destination Sustainability: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Freight Transportation in North America, “This report is something of a roadmap to both sustainability and prosperity,” said CEC Advisory Group Chair Bruce Agnew. “It turns out that, in the freight transportation sector, the best policies and investments for reducing freight-related greenhouse gas emissions are also some of the most effective measures for driving improvements to efficiency and competitiveness.”

The Secretariat of the CEC—a trinational commission established as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—examines environmental matters arising as part of continental trade and makes occasional recommendations to the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the CEC Council of cabinet-level (or equivalent) environmental authorities.

The CEC Secretariat’s latest report looks at the continental freight transportation network, a key component of the transportation sector, which is the second-largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in North America, after electricity generation. The report, which focuses on road and rail transport, finds that while emissions from light-duty vehicles are expected to drop by 12 percent by 2030, freight truck emissions are projected to increase by 20 percent. The report also considers the efficiency (and inefficiencies) in the current system, as well as considering the aggressive investments that other trade blocs are making in new infrastructure and lower-carbon transportation—investments that may be outpacing efforts in North America.

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City’s design, transit system can ease gas costs

Author: Larry Copeland

Some cities in the USA are better positioned to deal with rising gas prices than others because of their design and transit systems, according to a national non-profit group that works to build stronger cities.

The key factor: whether residents have to drive everywhere, or have other options.

That’s according to CEOs for Cities, a Chicago-based network of civic, business, academic and philanthropic leaders seeking to build and sustain stronger cities for the future. Researchers analyzed federal government data on vehicle miles traveled in 51 metropolitan areas that have at least 1 million residents.

It’s a timely analysis: Gas prices have eased a bit in the past few days — to a national average of $3.60 for a gallon of regular unleaded Monday — but they are still 28% higher than a year ago.

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New Report Shows How Smart Technology Can Ease Traffic Congestion, Improve Transportation Options and Strengthen Global Competitiveness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new report from four leading transportation organizations demonstrates how existing and emerging technologies can squeeze more capacity from over-burdened highways, help commuters avoid traffic delays and expand and improve transportation options, all while saving money and creating jobs.

“Smart Mobility for a 21st Century America” shows why improving efficiency through technology is critical as our population grows and ages, budgets tighten and consumer preferences shift. The report was co-authored by Transportation for America, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) and the University of Michigan SMART Initiative.

With President Obama’s support for a $50 billion down payment for infrastructure and the real prospect that Congress will move forward on a comprehensive, multi-year transportation bill in the upcoming session, the paper makes the case for investing in technology and innovation to help solve our nation’s most critical transportation problems.

The new report was released today in conjunction with the IBM Smarter Transportation Virtual Forum, which brought together experts from across the public sector, private industry and academia to discuss urban mobility and the growing need for technology solutions to the nation’s transportation, economic and environmental challenges.

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Is Our Great Love Affair With The Car Over?

Author: Kal Gyimesi, IBM Institute for Business Value

Is one of the greatest love affairs of the past 100 years coming to an end?

I’m talking, of course, about the relationship between a motorist and his automobile. Profound shifts in consumer sentiment and the economics of transportation are changing the way drivers view not just their vehicles, but the concept of transportation itself. The new reality will provide substantial opportunities for companies – especially startups – that embrace the future, just as they will challenge established businesses that stubbornly cling to the status quo.

Since the days of Henry Ford, who made the Model T affordable for almost everyone, drivers have typically owned (or later, leased) their personal vehicles. People loved their cars, and automakers created sophisticated strategies to keep consumers happy for decades as they moved up the ladder from entry models up to luxury brands.

Today, a confluence of events is starting to change all that. Industry research indicates that younger people don’t value vehicle ownership like their older (over thirty) brothers and sisters or their parents do.

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Thesis: An international comparative perspective on urban transport and urban form in Pacific Asia: the challenge of rapid motorisation in dense cities

Here is a summary of the key arguments in the thesis:

It focuses on nine major cities in Pacific Asia (Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul, Singapore, Surabaya and Tokyo).

The study provides an international comparative perspective on these cities using a large set of data on urban transport, land use and economic factors, as part of a wider study on 46 international cities.

A historical review of transport and urban development between 1900 and the 1960s found that, by the end of the period, most of the Asian cities were more vulnerable to problems from an influx of private vehicles than Western cities had been at the equivalent stage in their motorisation.

This greater vulnerability was primarily due to higher densities and greater dependence on road-based public transport in most Asian cities, which could be described as “bus cities”, an archetype that is developed in the thesis.

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Transportation Options Could Reduce Oil Dependency, Government Waste

By increasing competition among transportation modes, making transportation pricing transparent and tying transportation spending to energy and economic performance, America could cut oil demand by as much as 779 million barrels a year by 2030, according to a new analysis released today by the Mobility Choice Coalition.

As the holiday driving season approaches, and at a time when national transportation infrastructure policy is up for revision and improvement, policy makers must take a fresh look at transportation, the 19-member coalition says.

The analysis “Taking the Wheel: Achieving a Competitive Transportation Sector Through Mobility Choice,” details the benefits of 10 specific policy options that would level the playing field among transportation options. If all were adopted, U.S. oil demand would fall by as much as 462 million barrels of oil per year by 2020 and 779 million barrels a year by 2030. Right now, the country uses about 6.8 billion barrels, or nearly 300 billion gallons, of oil annually. (There are 42 gallons of oil per barrel.)

The report’s recommendations aim to reduce economic disruptions from oil spikes, cut wasteful government spending and provide Americans with economical and convenient transportation options.

“Taxpayers have made their anger over wasteful government spending clear, and we know there are ways to re-introduce accountability for how the federal government spends tax dollars, specifically as it relates to transportation,” said report co-author Anne Korin of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS ). “When it comes to transportation, Americans need to get what they pay for and pay for what they get.”

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