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Open Access Publications from the University of California
Cover page of Failing Malls: Optimizing Opportunities for Housing

Failing Malls: Optimizing Opportunities for Housing

(2021)

California, like most of the country, was facing a transformation in retail before the COVID-19 epidemic. Increasing Internet shopping have ushered the closing of anchor stores, such as Macy's, Sears, as well as the closure of many regional shopping malls, which have sizable footprints, ranging from 40-100+ acres. The epidemic has accelerated these trends. This offers opportunities for the redevelopment of failing malls to address pressing needs in California, the need for housing, and for efficient transit provision for such redevelopments. This research is focused on how mall conversions can be planned and implemented in a sustainable way. The research uses a national commercial database, and available literature, to first identify a set of distressed shopping malls (10) in the four largest metropolitan areas in the state as potential sites for redevelopment, some with current plans for redevelopment and others without such plans. It then develops profiles of the 10 malls that include: size, land uses permitted, history; relevant characteristics of the city (e.g., percentage of owner-occupied housing; median income, affordable housing needs), as well as brief descriptions of the mall owner, transit access, and environmental vulnerabilities. From a review of the relevant literature on sustainable redevelopment, and taking into account the California context, the project developed sustainability criteria for assessing shopping mall redevelopment plans in the state, and applied the criteria to four cases with active redevelopment plans. A major finding is the potential that mall redevelopment plans have to meet the major social sustainability criterion—the construction of affordable housing. Comparing the affordable housing target for the city to the number of housing units planned, the study estimates the percentage of the city’s affordable housing target the city can reach with different mixes of affordable vs. market-rate housing units in the project.

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Cover page of Cost of Plug-in Electric Vehicle Ownership: The Cost of Transitioning to Five Million Plug-In Vehicles in California

Cost of Plug-in Electric Vehicle Ownership: The Cost of Transitioning to Five Million Plug-In Vehicles in California

(2021)

Total cost of ownership (TCO) studies are generally used as a tool to understand how and when plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) technology will reach cost parity with conventional fuel vehicles. Post cost-parity, the PEV market should be able to sustain without government intervention. The researchers present here a detailed analysis of vehicle manufacturing costs and market-level TCO accounting for technology uncertainties, behavioral heterogeneity, and key decision parameters of automakers. Using the estimates of the vehicle manufacturing costs, they estimate the cost of electrification of California’s LDV fleet to achieve the state’s net-zero emission goal by 2045. The results suggest that PEVs may not be cost competitive even in 2030 without stronger policy support and automakers initiative. Moreover, TCO is not a single number, and the cost of electrification will vary across the population based on the cost of vehicles available in the market, their charging capabilities at home and public, and energy costs. The TCO estimates and the cost of fleet electrification analysis not only has important implications for policymakers but can also offer a foundation for understanding the effect of market dynamics on the cost-competitiveness of the PEV technology.

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Cover page of Fighting for Curb Space: Parking, Ride-Hailing, Urban Freight Deliveries, and Other Users

Fighting for Curb Space: Parking, Ride-Hailing, Urban Freight Deliveries, and Other Users

(2021)

There is a need to optimally allocate curb space-one of the scarcest resources in urban areas-to the different and growing needs of passenger and freight transport. Although there are plenty of linear miles of curbside space in every city, the growing adoption of ride-hailing services and the rise of e-commerce with its residential deliveries, and the increased number of micro-mobility services, have increased pressure on the already saturated transportation system. Traditional curbside planning strategies have relied on land-use based demand estimates to allocate access priority to the curb (e.g., pedestrian and transit for residential areas, commercial vehicles for commercial and industrial zones). In some locales, new guidelines provide ideas on flexible curbside management, but lack the systems to gather and analyze the data, and optimally and dynamically allocate the space to the different users and needs. This study conducted a comprehensive literature review on several topics related to curb space management, discussing various users (e.g., pedestrians, bicycles, transit, taxis, and commercial freight vehicles), summarizing different experiences, and focusing the discussion on Complete Street strategies. Moreover, the authors reviewed the academic literature on curbside and parking data collection, and simulation and optimization techniques. Considering a case study around the downtown area in San Francisco, the authors evaluated the performance of the system with respect to a number of parking behavior scenarios. In doing so, the authors developed a parking simulation in SUMO following a set of parking behaviors (e.g., parking search, parking with off-street parking information availability, double-parking). These scenarios were tested in three different (land use-based) sub-study areas representing residential, commercial and mixed-use.

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Cover page of Discontinuance Among California’s Electric Vehicle Buyers: Why are Some Consumers Abandoning Electric Vehicles?

Discontinuance Among California’s Electric Vehicle Buyers: Why are Some Consumers Abandoning Electric Vehicles?

(2021)

For the market introduction of electric vehicles to be successful, first-time adopters need to make continual purchases of the vehicles. Discontinuance, the act of abandoning a new technology after once being an adopter, has implications for market growth and could prevent electric vehicles from ever reaching 100% market share. Using results from five surveys of electric vehicle owners, the researchers examine discontinuance among battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle adopters. In this sample, discontinuance occurs at a rate of 21% for plug-in hybrid adopters and 19% for battery electric vehicle adopters. They show that discontinuance is related to dissatisfaction with convenience of charging, owning household vehicles with lower efficiencies, being a later adopter of PEVs, not having Level 2 (220V) charging from home, and not being male. Despite consumers overcoming initial barriers of PEVs, it appears some barriers, notably their refueling style, resurface during ownership and eventually become a barrier to continuing with PEV ownership.

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Cover page of Congestion Reduction via Personalized Incentives

Congestion Reduction via Personalized Incentives

(2021)

With rapid population growth and urban development, traffic congestion has become an inescapable issue, especially in large cities. Many congestion reduction strategies have been proposed in the past, ranging from roadway extension to transportation demand management programs. In particular, congestion pricing schemes have been used as negative reinforcements for traffic control. This project studies a different approach of offering positive incentives to drivers to take alternative routes. More specifically, an algorithm is proposed to reduce traffic congestion and improve routing efficiency by offering personalized incentives to drivers. The idea is to use the wide-accessibility of smart communication devices to communicate with drivers and develop a look-ahead incentive offering mechanism using individuals’ routing preferences and aggregate traffic information. The incentives are offered after solving large-scale optimization problems in order to minimize the expected congestion (or minimize the expected carbon emission). Since these massive size optimization problems need to be solved continually in the network, a distributed computational approach is developed where a major computational burden is carried out on the individual drivers' smartphones (and in parallel among drivers). The convergence of the proposed is an established distributed algorithm under a mild set of assumptions (that are verified using real data).

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Cover page of Targeted Investment for Food Access

Targeted Investment for Food Access

(2021)

This project focuses on modeling access to food locations by identifying the most critical roadway links in a transportation network. This project extends the Critical Closeness Accessibility (CCA) measure developed by Novak and Sullivan (2014) to identify the roadway infrastructure components that are most critical with respect to food accessibility. Specifically, origin and destination weighting are included for the application of food security, where origins are weighted according to household vulnerability and destinations are weighted by retail-grocery square footage. The CCA is further extended by calibrating the trip impedance constant, ω, in the original formulation of the CCA with actual grocery-shopping data from the National Household Travel Survey. This calibration modifies the functional form of the accessibility measure to address trips focused on food access and thus incorporates realistic travel expectations for retail grocery familiarity of households. The project also provides a unique method for estimating household-level vulnerability characteristics using population synthesis. The modification of the CCA to address food accessibility can be used to support more targeted investment in transportation assets, as the CCA is indexed to specific roadway links in the network. The methodology is demonstrated using the Travel Demand Model of Chittenden County, Vermont.

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Cover page of Developing Markets for Zero Emission Vehicles in Short Haul Goods Movement

Developing Markets for Zero Emission Vehicles in Short Haul Goods Movement

(2020)

The potential for zero emission heavy duty trucks (ZEHDTs) is examined via simulation modeling, case studies, interviews and a survey. Impacts of ZEHDTs on freight operations are assessed. Costs and benefits of using diesel, natural gas hybrid and battery electric vehicles are compared for 2020, 2025, 2030. ZE applications are limited in the near term due to range and charging limitations, but as ZE performance improves and prices go down, they are viable for a larger segment of the market. Hybrid vehicles are the most cost effective alternative for reducing air toxics, but ZEHDTs reduce air toxics the most by 2025. The report presents recommendations for promoting and increasing the market share of ZEHDTs and hybrids.

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Cover page of Instantaneous Hybridization Factor (IHF) Development for HEV Energy-Emissions Analyses Using Real-World, On-Board Data

Instantaneous Hybridization Factor (IHF) Development for HEV Energy-Emissions Analyses Using Real-World, On-Board Data

(2020)

Past research has shown on-road emissions patterns unique to HEVs, indicating the need to account for them in emissions models. The main objective of this work is to outline a framework for development of new HEV emissions models based on current knowledge of CV emissions. The premise is that accurate knowledge of the instantaneous (1 Hz) power split between the HEV combustion and electric propulsion sources can be used to modify existing CV emission models for HEV emission predictions that are currently lacking in regulatory models. The HEV power split metric, instantaneous hybridization factor (IHF), was developed and quantified with on-road data collected from a 2010 Toyota Camry HEV operating on a fixed route in hilly Vermont over all seasons. IHF is the second-by-second ratio of electric system power to total system power and accounts for energy storage in the high voltage battery. IHF ranges from -1 to +1 and varies widely with vehicle speed and VSP. Different road types on the driving route were associated with different proportions of binned IHF activity, which represent the three key HEV operating states defined in this study: electric-drive only (EDO), power recovery and electric-drive assist. A more detailed analysis of IHF relationships to tailpipe emissions and road grade is found in a recently published article (Ref 1).

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Cover page of Alkali-activated Materials: Environmental Preliminary Assessment for U.S. Roadway Applications

Alkali-activated Materials: Environmental Preliminary Assessment for U.S. Roadway Applications

(2020)

The capital investment in the U.S. for construction and maintenance of the infrastructure road network is on the order of $100 billion/year. On average, investments in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries are likely to stabilize, while China will face an exponential growth of investments for new infrastructures driven by the development of metropolitan cities. Continued “business-as-usual” practice for portland and asphalt cement concrete pavement construction ignores the increasing warning calls for the identification of more sustainable and less energy intensive paving materials. It is therefore important to explore alternative pavement materials, which may have benefits in terms of environmental impact and durability performance over the current technology. Alkali activated materials concrete (AAM) exhibit these beneficial characteristics. AAM compositions have been studied with growing interest during the last three decades, and showing promising results in terms of mechanical performance, while also having a global warming potential impact 30-80% less than that of portland cement concrete. The global warming potential of these material is closely dependent on: 1) the alkali activating solution used to activate the raw material 2) the origin of the raw material. Specifically, the impact of the transport for both of these components has an impact quantifiable around 10% of its global warming potential. Hence, to increase the adoption of AAM for civil applications such as pavements, it is fundamental to analyze the existing literature to clarify the link between environmental and mechanical performance, identifying opportunities for applications that are tailored to the local availability of raw material, reducing transport environmental costs.

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Cover page of Intercity Travel for Metropolitan Access in Northern New England

Intercity Travel for Metropolitan Access in Northern New England

(2020)

This project was completed as a National Center for Sustainable Transportation graduate student research project at the University of Vermont. The work builds on the prior work of Dr. Brian H. Y. Lee and the National Center for Sustainable Transportation graduate student Sean Neely who focused on travel behavior between non-metropolitan areas and large metropolitan centers, because of its impacts on quality of life, multimodal planning, and rural economies.

This project studies travel from home locations in northern New England (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts, excluding the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy Metropolitan Statistical Area), going to Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. Data were collected in The Intercity Travel, Information, and Technology Survey Questionnaire conducted by Resource Systems Group (RSG Inc.) for the University of Vermont’s Transportation Research Center (UVM TRC) and the New England Transportation Institute (NETI), with funding from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) NCST in May 2014. A total of 2560 valid survey responses were collected using a paid panel purchased by the consultant. In his Master’s thesis, Neely developed generic mode choice models for these intercity trips but lacked the mode-specific travel times and access measures for more advanced mode choice models. The goal of this current project was to perform more advanced spatial data re-tabulation to generate new mode-specific predictor variables, especially measures of air access using Federal Aviation Administration datasets. The internet access measures were also refined and alternative measures of a zip code location’s ruralness were generated. Zip code home location was used for generation of on-road travel times and distances to destination as well as an Amtrak station access measure.

In addition to the data development, some specific research questions were pursued with the data: 1) How many trips per year do rural residents take in the Northeast United States to major metropolitan areas? And 2) What socio-economic, location, and accessibility variables are associated with rural trip generation to metropolitan areas?

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