Thursday, November 20, 2008

Practical Greenhouse Gas Reduction/Transportation

Today Duncan Black states that cars are useful things.  Duncan Black also lives in central Philadelphia and does not own a car.  Cars simply have the advantage of flexibility and speed available in no other form of transportation, a fact that we need to keep front and center as we think about practical methods for curbing emissions and reducing congestion.

Some very non-sexy things that would help:

(1) Increase incentives to fill the right front seat of automobiles.  If the average number of vehicle occupants increased from 1.3 to 1.5, passenger miles per gallon would increase by 15 percent.

(2) Get out of SUVs and Pickup Trucks.  Hybrids are cool.  But if people would just continue to move out of SUVs that get 15 mpg to normal cars that get 20, passenger miles per gallon would increase by 33 percent.  That is a lot.  If they want to buy Civics and Corollas, even better.

(3) Encourage people to reduce the number of trips per day (we really started to see this happen when gas prices were north of $4 per gallon).

(4)  Synchronize traffic lights.  Ed Mills showed years ago that the bang for the buck of doing this is enormous.

The greatest challenge of these is (1).  But if money spent on light rail were instead spent on encouraging commuters to double up, my guess is we could get a lot more people moving a lot faster while consuming much less gasoline.


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Edward said...

The use of SUVs and trucks for commuting with one passenger is very weird. On the other hand, the use of trucks for hauling makes much sense, which is what mine is almost always used for. I also have a Honda Fit for everything else. But not everyone has the income to afford both a hauling vehicle and a small car. So they seem to opt for the one-size that does everything - which means a vehicle that oversized for many of its tasks. How do we solve that dilemma?

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