Matching Items (8)

Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of San Francisco Bay Area Muni Light Rail and Rapid Transit with Wholesale and Renewable Electricity

Description

Results are available here

The environmental life cycle assessment of electric rail public transit modes requires an assessment of electricity generation mixes. The provision of electricity to a

Results are available here

The environmental life cycle assessment of electric rail public transit modes requires an assessment of electricity generation mixes. The provision of electricity to a region does not usually adhere to geopolitical boundaries. Electricity is governed based on lowest cost marginal dispatch and reliability principles. Additionally, there are times when a public transit agency may purchase wholesale electricity from a particular service provider. Such is the case with electric rail modes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

An environmental life cycle assessment of San Francisco Bay Area public transit systems was developed by Chester and Horvath (2009) and includes vehicle manufacturing/maintenance, infrastructure construction/operation/maintenance, energy production, and supply chains, in addition to vehicle propulsion. For electric rail modes, vehicle propulsion was based on an average electricity mix for the region. Since 2009, new electricity contract information and renewable electricity goals have been established. As such, updated life cycle results should be produced.

Using recent wholesale electricity mix and renewable electricity goal data from the transit agencies, updated electricity precombustion, generation, transmission, and distribution environmental impacts of vehicle propulsion are estimated. In summary, SFMTA Muni light rail is currently purchasing 100% hydro electricity from the Hetch Hetchy region of California and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system is purchasing 22% natural gas, 9% coal, 2% nuclear, 66% hydro, and 1% other renewables from the Pacific Northwest . Furthermore, the BART system has set a goal of 20% renewables by 2016. Using the GREET1 2012 electricity pathway, a life cycle assessment of wholesale and renewable electricity generation for these systems is calculated.

Chester and Horvath (2009)

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Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment of Los Angeles Metro’s Orange Bus Rapid Transit and Gold Light Rail Transit Lines

Description

Public transit systems are often accepted as energy and environmental improvements to automobile travel, however, few life cycle assessments exist to understand the effects of implementation of transit policy decisions.

Public transit systems are often accepted as energy and environmental improvements to automobile travel, however, few life cycle assessments exist to understand the effects of implementation of transit policy decisions. To better inform decision-makers, this project evaluates the decision to construct and operate public transportation systems and the expected energy and environmental benefits over continued automobile use. The public transit systems are selected based on screening criteria. Initial screening included advanced implementation (5 to 10 years so change in ridership could be observed), similar geographic regions to ensure consistency of analysis parameters, common transit agencies or authorities to ensure a consistent management culture, and modes reflecting large infrastructure investments to provide an opportunity for robust life cycle assessment of large impact components. An in-depth screening process including consideration of data availability, project age, energy consumption, infrastructure information, access and egress information, and socio-demographic characteristics was used as the second filter. The results of this selection process led to Los Angeles Metro’s Orange and Gold lines.

In this study, the life cycle assessment framework is used to evaluate energy inputs and emissions of greenhouse gases, particulate matter (10 and 2.5 microns), sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and carbon monoxide. For the Orange line, Gold line, and competing automobile trip, an analysis system boundary that includes vehicle, infrastructure, and energy production components is specified. Life cycle energy use and emissions inventories are developed for each mode considering direct (vehicle operation), ancillary (non-vehicle operation including vehicle maintenance, infrastructure construction, infrastructure operation, etc.), and supply chain processes and services. In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, the inventories are linked to their potential for respiratory impacts and smog formation, and the time it takes to payback in the lifetime of each transit system.

Results show that for energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, the inclusion of life cycle components increases the footprint between 42% and 91% from vehicle propulsion exclusively. Conventional air emissions show much more dramatic increases highlighting the effectiveness of “tailpipe” environmental policy. Within the life cycle, vehicle operation is often small compared to other components. Particulate matter emissions increase between 270% and 5400%. Sulfur dioxide emissions increase by several orders of magnitude for the on road modes due to electricity use throughout the life cycle. NOx emissions increase between 31% and 760% due to supply chain truck and rail transport. VOC emissions increase due to infrastructure material production and placement by 420% and 1500%. CO emissions increase by between 20% and 320%. The dominating contributions from life cycle components show that the decision to build an infrastructure and operate a transportation mode in Los Angeles has impacts far outside of the city and region. Life cycle results are initially compared at each system’s average occupancy and a breakeven analysis is performed to compare the range at which modes are energy and environmentally competitive.

The results show that including a broad suite of energy and environmental indicators produces potential tradeoffs that are critical to decision makers. While the Orange and Gold line require less energy and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile traveled than the automobile, this ordering is not necessarily the case for the conventional air emissions. It is possible that a policy that focuses on one pollutant may increase another, highlighting the need for a broad set of indicators and life cycle thinking when making transportation infrastructure decisions.

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Methodology for the Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment of Los Angeles Metro’s Orange Bus Rapid Transit and Gold Light Rail Transit Lines

Description

The goal of this working paper is to provide the methodological background for several upcoming reports and peer-reviewed journal publications. This manuscript only provides background methodology and does not show

The goal of this working paper is to provide the methodological background for several upcoming reports and peer-reviewed journal publications. This manuscript only provides background methodology and does not show or interpret any of the results that are being generated by the research team. The methodology is consistent with the transportation LCA approach developed by the author in previous research. The discussion in this working paper provides the detailed background data and steps used by the research team for their assessment of Los Angeles Metro transit lines and a competing automobile trip.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2012-07-30

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Frameworks for Assessing the Vulnerability of U.S. Rail Systems to Extreme Heat and Flooding

Description

Recent climatic trends show more flooding and extreme heat events and in the future transportation infrastructure may be susceptible to more frequent and intense environmental perturbations. Our transportation systems have

Recent climatic trends show more flooding and extreme heat events and in the future transportation infrastructure may be susceptible to more frequent and intense environmental perturbations. Our transportation systems have largely been designed to withstand historical weather events, for example, floods that occur at an intensity that is experienced once every 100 years, and there is evidence that these events are expected become more frequent. There are increasing efforts to better understand the impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure. An abundance of new research is emerging to study various aspects of climate change on transportation systems. Much of this research is focused on roadway networks and reliable automobile travel. We explore how flooding and extreme heat might impact passenger rail systems in the Northeast and Southwest U.S.

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Impacts of transportation investment on real property values: an analysis with spatial hedonic price models

Description

Transportation infrastructure in urban areas has significant impacts on socio-economic activities, land use, and real property values. This dissertation proposes a more comprehensive theory of the positive and negative relationships

Transportation infrastructure in urban areas has significant impacts on socio-economic activities, land use, and real property values. This dissertation proposes a more comprehensive theory of the positive and negative relationships between property values and transportation investments that distinguishes different effects by mode (rail vs. road), by network component (nodes vs. links), and by distance from them. It hypothesizes that transportation investment generates improvement in accessibility that accrue only to the nodes such as highway exits and light rail stations. Simultaneously, it tests the hypothesis that both transport nodes and links emanate short-distance negative nuisance effects due to disamenities such as traffic and noise. It also tests the hypothesis that nodes of both modes generate a net effect combining accessibility and disamenities. For highways, the configuration at grade or above/below ground is also tested. In addition, this dissertation hypothesizes that the condition of road pavement may have an impact on residential property values adjacent to the road segments. As pavement condition improves, value of properties adjacent to a road are hypothesized to increase as well. A multiple-distance-bands approach is used to capture distance decay of amenities and disamenities from nodes and links; and pavement condition index (PCI) is used to test the relationship between road condition and residential property values. The hypotheses are tested using spatial hedonic models that are specific to each of residential and commercial property market. Results confirm that proximity to transport nodes are associated positively with both residential and commercial property values. As a function of distance from highway exits and light rail transit (LRT) stations, the distance-band coefficients form a conventional distance decay curve. However, contrary to our hypotheses, no net effect is evident. The accessibility effect for highway exits extends farther than for LRT stations in residential model as expected. The highway configuration effect on residential home values confirms that below-grade highways have relatively positive impacts on nearby houses compared to those at ground level or above. Lastly, results for the relationship between pavement condition and residential home values show that there is no significant effect between them.

Some differences in the effect of infrastructure on property values emerge between residential and commercial markets. In the commercial models, the accessibility effect for highway exits extends less than for LRT stations. Though coefficients for short distances (within 300m) from highways and LRT links were expected to be negative in both residential and commercial models, only commercial models show a significant negative relationship. Different effects by mode, network component, and distance on commercial submarkets (i.e., industrial, office, retail and service properties) are tested as well and the results vary based on types of submarket.

Consequently, findings of three individual paper confirm that transportation investments mostly have significant impacts on real-estate properties either in a positive or negative direction in accordance with the transport mode, network component, and distance, though effects for some conditions (e.g., proximity to links of highway and light rail, and pavement quality) do not significantly change home values. Results can be used for city authorities and planners for funding mechanisms of transport infrastructure or validity of investments as well as private developers for maximizing development profits or for locating developments.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Drinking and driving and public transportation: a test of the routine activity framework

Description

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a problem in American society that has received considerable attention over recent decades from local police agencies, lobby groups, and the news media. While

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a problem in American society that has received considerable attention over recent decades from local police agencies, lobby groups, and the news media. While punitive policies, administrative sanctions and aggressive media campaigns to deter drinking and driving have been used in the past, less conventional methods to restructure or modify the urban environment to discourage drunk driving have been underused. Explanations with regard to DUIs are policy driven more often than they are guided by criminological theory. The current study uses the routine activities perspective as a backdrop for assessing whether a relatively new mode of transportation - an urban light rail system - in a large metropolitan city in the Southwestern U.S. can alter behaviors of individuals who are likely to drive under the influence of alcohol. The study is based on a survey of undergraduate students from a large university that has several stops on the light rail system connecting multiple campuses. This thesis examines whether the light rail system has a greater effect on students whose routines activities (relatively unsupervised college youth with greater access to cars and bars) are more conducive to driving under the influence of alcohol. An additional purpose of the current study is to determine whether proximity to the light rail system is associated with students driving under the influence of alcohol, while controlling for other criminological factors

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Impacts of light rail in job accessibility in Phoenix

Description

It has been identified in the literature that there exists a "spatial mismatch" between geographical concentrations of lower-income or minority people who have relatively lower rates of car ownership, lower

It has been identified in the literature that there exists a "spatial mismatch" between geographical concentrations of lower-income or minority people who have relatively lower rates of car ownership, lower skills or educational attainment and who mainly rely on public transit for their travel, and low-skilled jobs for which they more easily qualify. Given this situation, various types of transportation projects have been constructed to improve public transit services and, alongside other goals, improve the connection between low-skilled workers and jobs. As indicators of performance, measures of job accessibility are commonly used in to gauge how such improvements have facilitated job access. Following this approach, this study investigates the impact of the Phoenix Metro Light Rail on job accessibility for the transit users, by calculating job accessibility before and after the opening of the system. Moreover, it also investigates the demographic profile of those who have benefited from improvements in job accessibility----both by income and by ethnicity. Job accessibility is measured using the cumulative opportunity approach which quantifies the job accessibility within different travel time limits, such as 30 and 45 minutes. ArcGIS is used for data processing and results visualization. Results show that the Phoenix light rail has improved job accessibility of the traffic analysis zones that are along the light rail line and Hispanic and lower-income groups have benefited more than their counterparts.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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When the appropriators become the appropriated: battling for the right to the city in South Phoenix, Arizona

Description

Urban planning in the neoliberal era is marred by a lack of public engagement with urban inhabitants. Henri Lefebvre’s ‘right to the city’ theory is often treated as a way

Urban planning in the neoliberal era is marred by a lack of public engagement with urban inhabitants. Henri Lefebvre’s ‘right to the city’ theory is often treated as a way to empower disenfranchised urban inhabitants who are lacking control over the urban spaces they occupy. Though the right to the city has seen a resurgence in recent literature, we still lack a deep understanding of how right to the city movements work in practice, and what the process looks like through the lens of the everyday urban inhabitant. This dissertation seeks to fill these gaps by examining: 1) how a minority-led grassroots movement activates their right to the city in the face of an incoming light rail extension project in South Phoenix, Arizona, USA, and 2) how their right to the city movement demonstrates the possibility of urban society beyond the current control of neoliberalism. Through the use of participant observation, interviews, and media analysis, this case reveals the methods and tactics used by the group to activate their right to the city, the intra-and inter-group dynamics in the case, and the challenges that ultimately lead to the group’s demise.Tactics used by the group included protesting, organizing against city council, and creating a ballot initiative. Intra-group dynamics were often marred by conflicts over leadership and the acceptance of outside help, while inter-group conflicts erupted between the group, politicians, and pro-light rail supporters. The primary challenge to the group’s right to the city movement included neoliberal appropriation by local politicians and outside political group. By possessing limited experience, knowledge, and resources in conducting a right to the city movement, the grassroots group in this case was left asking for help from neoliberal supporters who used their funding as a way to appropriate the urban inhabitant’s movement. Findings indicate positive possibilities of a future urban society outside of neoliberalism through autogestion, and provide areas where urban planners can improve upon the right to the city. If urban planners seek out and nurture instances of the right to the city, urban inhabitants will have greater control over planning projects that effect their neighborhoods.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019