“The U.S. parking infrastructure is vast, and little is known about its scale and environmental impacts. The few parking space inventories that exist are typically regionalized and no known environmental assessment has been performed to determine the energy and emissions from providing this infrastructure. A better understanding of the scale of U.S. parking is necessary to properly value the total costs of automobile travel. Energy and emissions from constructing and maintaining the parking infrastructure should be considered when assessing the total human health and environmental impacts of vehicle travel.”
And the answer is: “We develop five parking space inventory scenarios and from these estimate the range of infrastructure provided in the United States to be between 105 million and 2 billion spaces.”
Using these estimates, the researchers performed a lifecycle environmental inventory to capture the energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases, CO, SO2, NOX, VOC (volatile organic compounds); the PM10 (PM: particulate matter) from raw material extraction, transport, asphalt and concrete production; and the placement (including direct, indirect and supply chain processes) of space construction and maintenance. “The environmental assessment is then evaluated within the lifecycle performance of sedans, SUVs and pickups.”
And they deliver results so technical their email addresses are cited below, should you need to know.
The study is Parking infrastructure: energy, emissions and automobile lifecycle environmental accounting, by Mikhail Chester, Arpad Horvath and Samer Madanat, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
AASHTO’S Top 10 Topics
Here’s a look at the Top 10 transportation topics that the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials think will be part of the national conversation in 2011 – in the media, in government and around the dinner table.
1. Enacting a long-term transportation bill that will keep America moving.
2. Paying for the transportation system we need.
3. Ensuring safer roads.
4. Moving on high-speed rail grants.
5. Bringing modernization and new technologies to our transportation network.
6. Moving freight to keep our communities more competitive in the global economy.
7. Dealing with increasingly assertive environmental regulations.
8. Social media continuing to rock the transportation world.
9. New support systems bolstering renewable and reliable energy sources.
10. Wrapping up Recovery Act projects. What’s next?
No Left Turn Really Works
The so-called “superstreet” traffic design results in significantly faster travel times, and leads to a drastic reduction in automobile collisions and injuries, according to North Carolina State University researchers.
Superstreets are surface roads, not freeways. According to the researchers, a superstreet is defined as “a thoroughfare where the left-hand turns from side streets are re-routed, as is traffic from side streets that needs to cross the thoroughfare. In both instances, drivers are first required to make a right turn and then make a U-turn around a broad median.” While this may seem time-consuming, the study shows that it actually results in a significant time savings since drivers are not stuck waiting to make left-hand turns or for traffic from cross-streets to go across the thoroughfare.
“The study shows a 20-percent overall reduction in travel time, compared to similar intersections that use conventional traffic designs,” says Dr. Joe Hummer, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State. “We also found that superstreet intersections experience an average of 46-percent fewer reported automobile collisions, and 63-percent fewer collisions that result in personal injury.”
The superstreet concept has been around for more than 20 years, but little research had been done to assess its effectiveness under real-world conditions, according to the researchers.v
“A highway trade union spent a considerable sum, erecting billboards at the front end of several unrepaired spans that said, ‘The bridge you are about to drive on is structurally deficient.’ They wanted to put a companion sign at the other end saying, ‘Glad you made it.’ The lawyers talked them out of it. Another example of the wussification of America.”
- Retiring Pennsylvania Governor
Ed Rendell, on statesman.com
Does this road make my car look fat?
Some Chicago roads will go on a “road diet” in hopes of increasing pedestrian traffic. As Chicago streets have been widened through the years to accommodate more vehicles, often resulting in narrower sidewalks, traffic-related dangers — particularly for pedestrians and rail transit riders — have grown, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune (for the full report, go to http://www.tinyurl.com/ChicagoTribuneRoadDiet).
But the extra lanes have only provided short-term improvements because the number of cars keeps increasing, according to the report.
MORE FROM In the Magazine
- Sydney uses water curtains to alert drivers to stop (VIDEO)794 Views
- Obama signs memorandum to expedite infrastructure projects652 Views
- Florida’s Red Light Camera Game: G R E E N orange R E D399 Views
- Seattle tests bikes as disaster relief (VIDEO)336 Views
- Fifty cents on the dollar for Illinois roads274 Views