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Working papers from ITS researchers.
Cover page of Evaluation of UC Davis Long-Range Transportation, Land-Use, And Housing Plans: Examining the Potential for Innovative Mobility Pilot Projects

Evaluation of UC Davis Long-Range Transportation, Land-Use, And Housing Plans: Examining the Potential for Innovative Mobility Pilot Projects

(2019)

At present, the City of Davis, surrounding communities, and the UC Davis campus are struggling with many of the same transportation problems that plague larger urban centers including increasing traffic, limited parking, and challenges to effective operation of the public transit system. The campus is expecting to grow by 6,000 students in the next ten years (plus approximately 3,000 faculty and staff) and is developing a Long-Range Development Plan (LRDP) that will serve to guide this growth. This plan will include housing, traffic control, parking, alternative transportation modes, and interactions with the broader community. The development of the LRDP provides a unique opportunity for the Institute of Transportation Studies-Davis (ITS-Davis), the University of California (UC)-wide partners for Advanced Transit and Highways (PATH) program, and Caltrans to provide input and advice on mobility options that will help the campus accommodate the expected growth while minimizing negative transportation impacts. The integrated nature of the LRDP also provides an opportunity to look at transportation options from a broader perspective than is usually possible under traditional planning scenarious. Thus creating an opportunity to evaluate a variety of innovative advanced information and mobility packages that could be implemented on a pilot scale in the coming years. These advanced technologies include dynamic ridesharing, carsharing, neighborhood electric vehicles, linkages between housing and access to shared-use automobiles, integration between modes, information kiosks, and other mobility packages that might prove effective at reducing the demand for single occupancy vehicles associated with campus.

Cover page of Barcodes, virtual money, and Golden Wheels: The influence of Davis, CA schools' bicycling encouragement programs

Barcodes, virtual money, and Golden Wheels: The influence of Davis, CA schools' bicycling encouragement programs

(2019)

Efforts to encourage bicycling to school can achieve numerous societal benefits, including improved childhood health, reduced traffic congestion, and even long-term effects such as increased bicycling skill and attitudes. Most of the literature on children bicycling to school focuses on the influence of infrastructure interventions, yet relatively few studies have robustly evaluated the influence of encouragement efforts. This study seeks to examine the effects of three encouragement efforts undertaken at primary and secondary schools in Davis, California: the Active4.me scanning program, the Monkey Money incentive system, and the national Bike-to-School Day celebration. I use a binomial regression to statistically analyze bicycle rack count data and Safe Routes to School classroom tallies collected by city employees and local volunteers. After accounting for the schools’ physical environment and characteristics, as well as the influence of weather and the natural environment, I find that all three of the encouragement efforts increase levels of bicycling to school. I conclude by suggesting that these encouragement programs have the potential for lasting influence by providing children with the skills and confidence to bicycle later in life. I also note the value of further state support for the parent volunteers who operate these encouragement programs, in order to allow the spread of similar encouragement programs across a variety of cities, including disadvantaged communities.

Cover page of Do bicycling experiences and exposure influence bicycling skills and attitudes? Evidence from a bicycle-friendly university

Do bicycling experiences and exposure influence bicycling skills and attitudes? Evidence from a bicycle-friendly university

(2019)

Life changes are often associated with changes in travel behavior, due to a break in habitual travel cues and the introduction of a novel travel context. Universities provide a particularly appropriate setting to examine how these life changes can bring about changes in travel attitudes, 27 norms, and skills – which together form a psychological construct called “motility” that describes the capability for travel. In this study, I pool data from seven years of the University of California, Davis’ annual campus travel survey to create a longitudinal panel, and use a retrospective survey to collect the bicycling behaviors, attitudes, and skills of undergraduates every year since they graduated from high school. I find that, on average, UCD undergraduates’ pro-bicycling attitudes decrease slightly over time while bicycling skills increase substantially throughout college. I then use the retrospective panel data to estimate a statistical model to analyze the influence of bicycling exposure and experiences on skills and attitudes. I find that riding a bicycle at any point during college increases both pro-bicycling attitudes and bicycling skills, while exposure to high levels of bicycling appears not to influence attitudes or skills. This study provides confirmatory evidence for the motility approach and suggests possible policy avenues, such as incentivizing short-term bicycle use in order to shift perceptions and attitudes about bicycling, with the intent of fostering a positive feedback cycle between greater bicycling attitudes and skills and increased bicycle use.

Cover page of Understanding the Impact of Reoccurring and Non-Financial Incentives on Plug-in Electric Vehicle Adoption – A Review

Understanding the Impact of Reoccurring and Non-Financial Incentives on Plug-in Electric Vehicle Adoption – A Review

(2019)

The market introduction of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) is being partially driven by policy interventions. One type of intervention is reoccurring and non-financial incentives, these differ from financial purchase incentives which are a one-time financial incentive associated with the purchase of a PEV. Reoccurring and non-financial incentives include special lane access for PEVs (e.g. HOV/carpool lanes, bus lanes), parking incentives, charging infrastructure development, road toll fee waivers, and licensing incentives. They also include disincentives such as gasoline tax or annual vehicle taxes. The impact of these incentives differs between regions partially due to differences in traffic conditions, travel patterns, consumer preferences, and other local variations. Due to these differences, it is challenging to rank the importance of these incentives, however existing research shows that they all can have a positive impact on PEV adoption. Policymakers wishing to promote the introduction of PEVs will need to consider local travel patterns, the regulatory environment, and consumer preferences to determine the most viable policy interventions for their region.

Cover page of A First Look at Vehicle Miles Travelled in Partially-Automated Vehicles

A First Look at Vehicle Miles Travelled in Partially-Automated Vehicles

(2018)

This paper contributes to research investigating the impact of automated and partially automated vehicles on travel behavior. This contribution comes from taking a first look at the impact of partially/semi-automated (SAE Level 2) vehicles on travel behavior and potential correlations with vehicle miles travelled (VMT). The results of this study are taken from a questionnaire survey of 3,001 plug-in electric (PEV) owners in the USA, of which 347 own a partially-automated vehicle (e.g Tesla Model S with Autopilot). This study looks at the VMT of different vehicle types in the survey including plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and semi-automated BEVs. This comparison reveals that semi-automated BEVs have significantly higher VMT compared to other vehicle types. Least squares regression is used to understand VMT in semi-automated BEVs further. This reveals a significant relationship between commute distance, age, household income, house type, and the frequency of autopilot use, and annual VMT. It is possible that the results are showing a self-selection causality as owners of these vehicles already drove more prior to them selecting a semi-automated BEV. Nevertheless, this model indicates that as the frequency of autopilot use increases, so does annual VMT. Due to the potential for two ways causality this study cannot determine whether there is a causal relationship between the use of semi-automated vehicle technology and additional VMT. It is hoped that this first look at the impact of partially-automated BEVs will encourage more research and debate in this area with the aim of improving policy responses to partially and fully automated vehicles.

Cover page of Net-Zero Emissions Energy Systems

Net-Zero Emissions Energy Systems

(2018)

Models show that to avert dangerous levels of climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions must fall to zero later this century. Most of these emissions arise from energy use. Davis et al. review what it would take to achieve decarbonization of the energy system. Some parts of the energy system are particularly difficult to decarbonize, including aviation, long-distance transport, steel and cement production, and provision of a reliable electricity supply. Current technologies and pathways show promise, but integration of now-discrete energy sectors and industrial processes is vital to achieve minimal emissions. Net emissions of CO2 by human activities - including not only energy services and industrial production but also land use and agriculture - must approach zero in order to stabilize global mean temperature. Energy services such as light-duty transportation, heating, cooling, and lighting may be relatively straightforward to decarbonize by electrifying and generating electricity from variable renewable energy sources (such as wind and solar) and dispatchable ("on-demand") nonrenewable sources (including nuclear energy and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage). However, other energy services essential to modern civilization entail emissions that are likely to be more difficult to fully eliminate. These difficult-to-decarbonize energy services include aviation, long-distance transport, and shipping; production of carbon-intensive structural materials such as steel and cement; and provision of a reliable electricity supply that meets varying demand. Moreover, demand for such services and products is projected to increase substantially over this century. The long-lived infrastructure built today, for better or worse, will shape the future.

Here, we review the special challenges associated with an energy system that does not add any CO2 to the atmosphere (a net-zero emissions energy system). We discuss prominent technological opportunities and barriers for eliminating and/or managing emissions related to the difficult-to-decarbonize services; pitfalls in which near-term actions may make it more difficult or costly to achieve the net-zero emissions goal; and critical areas for research, development, demonstration, and deployment. It may take decades to research, develop, and deploy these new technologies.

DOI Link: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aas9793

Cover page of Estimating Criteria Pollutant Emissions Using the California Regional Multisector Air Quality Emissions (CA-REMARQUE) Model v1.0

Estimating Criteria Pollutant Emissions Using the California Regional Multisector Air Quality Emissions (CA-REMARQUE) Model v1.0

(2018)

The California Regional Multisector Air Quality Emissions (CA-REMARQUE) model is developed to predict changes to criteria pollutant emissions inventories in California in response to sophisticated emissions control programs implemented to achieve deep greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. Two scenarios for the year 2050 act as the starting point for calculations: a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario and an 80% GHG reduction (GHG-Step) scenario. Each of these scenarios was developed with an energy economic model to optimize costs across the entire California economy and so they include changes in activity, fuels, and technology across economic sectors. Separate algorithms are developed to estimate emissions of criteria pollutants (or their precursors) that are consistent with the future GHG scenarios for the following economic sectors: (i) on-road, (ii) rail and off-road, (iii) marine and aviation, (iv) residential and commercial, (v) electricity generation, and (vi) biorefineries. Properly accounting for new technologies involving electrification, biofuels, and hydrogen plays a central role in these calculations. Critically, criteria pollutant emissions do not decrease uniformly across all sectors of the economy. Emissions of certain criteria pollutants (or their precursors) increase in some sectors as part of the overall optimization within each of the scenarios. This produces nonuniform changes to criteria pollutant emissions in close proximity to heavily populated regions when viewed at 4km spatial resolution with implications for exposure to air pollution for those populations. As a further complication, changing fuels and technology also modify the composition of reactive organic gas emissions and the size and composition of particulate matter emissions. This is most notably apparent through a comparison of emissions reductions for different size fractions of primary particulate matter. Primary PM2.5 emissions decrease by 4% in the GHG-Step scenario vs. the BAU scenario while corresponding primary PM0.1 emissions decrease by 36%. Ultrafine particles (PM0.1) are an emerging pollutant of concern expected to impact public health in future scenarios. The complexity of this situation illustrates the need for realistic treatment of criteria pollutant emissions inventories linked to GHG emissions policies designed for fully developed countries and states with strict existing environmental regulations.

Cover page of Motivations and Barriers Associated with the Adoption of Battery Electric Vehicles in Beijing: A Multinomial Logit Model Approach

Motivations and Barriers Associated with the Adoption of Battery Electric Vehicles in Beijing: A Multinomial Logit Model Approach

(2018)

The recent surge of the Chinese Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PEV) market makes China the world’s largest PEV stock. A series of supportive policies in China contributed greatly to the rapid PEV adoption by limiting regular vehicles and reducing the price of PEVs. However, the role these policies play in changing references and encouraging consumers to purchase PEVs rather than conventional vehicles is not fully known. Other factors, rather than incentives, that could help maintain the current adoption trend are still unclear. The latter is especially critical in understanding how the market reacts to a gradually decreasing level of incentives to achieve the next goal of 5 million PEVs on the road by 2020 in China. Therefore, in this study the authors explored these research questions through a cross-sectional study of the current PEV market on consumers in Beijing by employing a multinomial logit model. Beijing has high levels of PEV adoptions in addition to a specific policy stimulus. The model results show significant influences of stimuli, individual socio-demographics, attitudes, charging infrastructure, and charging experiences on the adoption of PEVs over conventional vehicles. The results may help find out key interventions for policy makers to promote more PEV adoptions in China as well as other countries.

Cover page of Biofuel Tracker: Capacity for Low Carbon Fuel Policies – Assessment through 2018

Biofuel Tracker: Capacity for Low Carbon Fuel Policies – Assessment through 2018

(2017)

This Biofuel Tracker: Capacity for Low Carbon Fuel Policies – Assessment through 2018 report follows the discontinued annual Advanced Biofuel Market Report produced by E2. This new report updates information on transportation biofuel production capacity since E2’s final publication in 2015. The report provides information on market plans for near‐term production capacity through 2018. It is neither a prediction nor a forecast of either capacity or actual production levels. Rather, it is one indication of potential North American production of fuel volume that meets the California carbon intensity rating cut‐off in the next couple of years, given favorable market conditions and the current policy environment. For commercially emerging technologies and fuels, production capacity ranges are assessed based on company and media reports, and are filtered through a subjective evaluation of the likelihood of announced capacity coming online in the 2018 time frame. The low end of the production capacity range reflects capacity in which the authors have higher confidence: existing capacity plus companies that have shown signs of plans to move forward on the ground. The high end of the production capacity range includes capacity from companies that is assessed as less likely:  from companies that still face some significant hurdle (e.g., financing) to meet targets or have not pinned down target dates due to unfavorable market conditions. Well‐established technologies and fuels like biodiesel are treated separately. In the case of biodiesel, production is determined by policy more than it is constrained by capacity. Therefore, the focus of this report is on describing the policies and other industry trends. The report includes information on private and public financing levels for biofuels, drawing, like the E2 series, on Clean Tech Group’s industry financial data plus government data, through 2015.

Cover page of First Look at the Plug-in Vehicle Secondary Market

First Look at the Plug-in Vehicle Secondary Market

(2017)

In most markets in the world there are very few used PEVs. California is one of the first markets to have a significant secondary market - about 5-8% of the almost 200,000 PEVs in California are being used by a second owner. Looking at the market for conventional vehicles, used vehicle sales comprise the clear majority of all transactions while the new vehicle buyers are a small share of the households, making used PEV sales potentially very significant on the market as a whole. As the number of used PEVs grows, the secondary market for PEVs will have an increasing effect as used PEV buyers join new buyers in adopting a new technology. Can these used vehicles provide environmentally friendly choices to those who do not buy new vehicles? Is range degradation an important factor in the use and purchase of the vehicles? Do the subsidies provided by State, Federal and local authorities pass to the second owner and by how much? This report explores the used PEVs in the market and the motivations behind their purchase and use.