Matching Items (6)

Quantifying Vehicle Waste Heat: A Case Study of Phoenix, Arizona

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Mitigation of urban heat islands has become a goal for research and policy as urban environmental heat is a rapidly growing concern. Urban regions such as Phoenix, AZ are facing

Mitigation of urban heat islands has become a goal for research and policy as urban environmental heat is a rapidly growing concern. Urban regions such as Phoenix, AZ are facing projected warming as urban populations grow and global climates warm (McCarthy et al. 2010), and severe urban heat can even lead to human mortality and morbidity (Berko et al. 2014). Increased urban heat may also have social and economic consequences such as by discouraging physical activity, reducing outdoor accessibility, and decreasing economic output (Stamatakis et al. 2013; Karner et al. 2015; Obradovich & Fowler 2017; Kjellstrom et al. 2009). Urban heat islands have been well documented in academic literature (Oke 1982; Arnfield 2003), and anthropogenic waste heat is often a major factor. The American Meteorological Society (2012) has said that anthropogenic waste heat may contribute “15 – 50 W/m2 to the local heat balance, and several hundred W/m2 in the center of large cities in cold climates and industrial areas.”

Anthropogenic waste heat from urban vehicle travel may be a notable contributor to the urban heat balance and the urban heat island effect, but little research has quantified and explored how changes in vehicle travel may influence local climates. Even with recent rapid improvements to engine efficiencies, modern automobiles still convert small amounts of fuel to useful energy. Typically, around two-thirds of energy from fuel in internal combustion engine vehicles is lost as waste heat through exhaust and coolant (Hsiao et al. 2010; Yu & Chau 2009; Saidur et al. 2009; Endo et al. 2007), and as much as 80% of fuel energy can be lost to waste heat under poor conditions (Orr et al. 2016). In addition, combustion of fuel generates water vapor and air pollution which may also affect the urban climate. Figure 1 displays where a typical combustion engine’s fuel energy is used and lost. There has been little research that quantifies the influence of vehicle travel on urban anthropogenic waste heat. According to Sailor and Lu (2004), most cities have peak anthropogenic waste heat values between 30 and 60 W m-2 (averaged across city) and heating from vehicles could make up as much as 62% of the total in summer months. Additionally, they found that vehicle waste heat could account for up to 300 W m-2 during rush hours over freeways. In another study, Hart & Sailor (2009) used in situ measurements in Portland, OR to evaluate spatial variability of air temperatures on urban roadways. They found that air masses near major roadways are some of the warmest in the region. Although some of the warming is attributed to pavement characteristics (imperviousness, low albedo), an average increase of 1.3 C was observed on weekdays relative to weekends along roadways. The authors offer increased weekday traffic density and building use as the likely contributors to this discrepancy. These previous studies indicates that vehicle related waste heat could be an important consideration in the urban energy balance. If significant, there may exist viable strategies to reduce anthropogenic waste heat from urban vehicle travel by increasing the fleet fuel economy and shifting to electric vehicles. This could offer cooling in urban areas around roadways were pedestrians are often found. Figure 2 visually demonstrates waste heat from vehicles (including an electric vehicle) in two thermal images.

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Date Created
  • 2018-01-15

First-Last Mile Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment of Multimodal Transit in Los Angeles

Description

With potential for automobiles to cause air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions relative to other modes, there is concern that automobiles accessing or egressing public transportation may significantly increase human

With potential for automobiles to cause air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions relative to other modes, there is concern that automobiles accessing or egressing public transportation may significantly increase human and environmental impacts from door-to-door transit trips. Yet little rigorous work has been developed that quantitatively assesses the effects of transit access or egress by automobiles.

This research evaluates the life-cycle impacts of first and last mile trips on multimodal transit. A case study of transit and automobile travel in the greater Los Angeles region is developed. First and last mile automobile trips were found to increase multimodal transit trip emissions, mitigating potential impact reductions from transit usage. In some cases, a multimodal transit trips with automobile access or egress may be higher than a competing automobile trip.

In the near-term, automobile access or egress in some Los Angeles transit systems may account for up to 66% of multimodal greenhouse gas trip emissions, and as much as 75% of multimodal air quality impacts. Fossil fuel energy generation and combustion, low vehicle occupancies, and longer trip distances contribute most to increased multimodal trip impacts. Spatial supply chain analysis indicates that life-cycle air quality impacts may occur largely locally (in Los Angeles) or largely remotely (elsewhere) depending on the propulsion method and location of upstream life-cycle processes. Reducing 10% of transit system greenhouse emissions requires a shift of 23% to 50% of automobile access or egress trips to a zero emissions mode.

A corresponding peer-reviewed journal publication is available here:
Greenhouse Gas and Air Quality Effects of Auto First-Last Mile Use With Transit, Christopher Hoehne and Mikhail Chester, 2017, Transportation Research Part D, 53, pp. 306-320,

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Urban Heat and Transportation: Human Exposure and Infrastructure

Description

Environmental heat is a growing concern in cities as a consequence of rapid urbanization and climate change, threatening human health and urban vitality. The transportation system is naturally embedded in

Environmental heat is a growing concern in cities as a consequence of rapid urbanization and climate change, threatening human health and urban vitality. The transportation system is naturally embedded in the issue of urban heat and human heat exposure. Research has established how heat poses a threat to urban inhabitants and how urban infrastructure design can lead to increased urban heat. Yet there are gaps in understanding how urban communities accumulate heat exposure, and how significantly the urban transportation system influences or exacerbates the many issues of urban heat. This dissertation focuses on advancing the understanding of how modern urban transportation influences urban heat and human heat exposure through three research objectives: 1) Investigate how human activity results in different outdoor heat exposure; 2) Quantify the growth and extent of urban parking infrastructure; and 3) Model and analyze how pavements and vehicles contribute to urban heat.

In the urban US, traveling outdoors (e.g. biking or walking) is the most frequent activity to cause heat exposure during hot periods. However, outdoor travel durations are often very short, and other longer activities such as outdoor housework and recreation contribute more to cumulative urban heat exposure. In Phoenix, parking and roadway pavement infrastructure contributes significantly to the urban heat balance, especially during summer afternoons, and vehicles only contribute significantly in local areas with high density rush hour vehicle travel. Future development of urban areas (especially those with concerns of extreme heat) should focus on ensuring access and mobility for its inhabitants without sacrificing thermal comfort. This may require urban redesign of transportation systems to be less auto-centric, but without clear pathways to mitigating impacts of urban heat, it may be difficult to promote transitions to travel modes that inherently necessitate heat exposure. Transportation planners and engineers need to be cognizant of the pathways to increased urban heat and human heat exposure when planning and designing urban transportation systems.

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Date Created
  • 2019