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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

studies assignment

or, can you fit 3700 words in the comment section?


Blogger laim85 said...

Different types of “greener” transport

Electric Vehicles

David A. Kirsch “Studies in Automotive Systems Rivalry in North America 1890-1996”
Had the Electric Vehicle Company succeeded in establishing dependable, for hire transport service at the turn of the century, central stations might have recognized the potential of electric vehicles sooner then they did. The end result might have been a system of battery exchange stations that allowed gasoline and EV’s to coexist for years, if not decades.
Basically the reason EV’s lost the dominance they had was due to the fact that the company who were attempting to monopolise the private transport market in America, made bad decisions. The cost of purchasing an EV comprises two parts- the purchase price and the continuing operating cost. The initial purchase price of an EV is roughly twice that of an equivalent petrol engine car. Lead-Acid battery replacement every 25,000 miles at a cost of US$2000 to $8000 comprises a significant hidden cost. An electric vehicle is called a Zero Emission Vehicle because it has no tailpipe engines, however the power has to come for somewhere. Coal burning plants emit pollutants such as Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrous Oxides and Carbon Dioxide and do not emit a measurable amount of Carbon Monoxide. In the Midwest and South of the USA, the majority of power comes from coal (as in Victoria). For every mile driven by an EV compared to a petrol car Carbon Dioxide emissions can be reduced by 30 to 50% and Nitrous Oxides can be reduced by 15 to 45%, but Sulphur Dioxide emissions would increase by 1 to 3 grams per mile, which is a 2,500 to 3,500% increase over petrol cars. In America this would significantly increase acid rain. Even low sulphur coal will increase sulphur dioxide emissions by 600 to 900%. In 100 years of research we have failed to find a better battery. The success of the electric vehicle depends on a more efficient and cheaper method of storing electricity.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Like EV’s the full cost of a hybrid is roughly twice the cost of a petrol car. The Toyota Prius is thought to have approximately half its cost subsidised by Toyota and still costs more then a comparable car. Of all the current technology, the most promising seems to be HEV’s. The technology is advanced, already implemented in the real world, and does not require new infrastructure, however it does not solve other problems with single occupant vehicles in particular. If reliability over long periods of time was achieved then EV’s could become as clean as EV’s, taking into account the electricity generated to recharge an EV battery pack, if generated by current energy supplies.

Fuel Cell Vehicles
They are unable to be produced at a low enough cost to compete with other transport yet. Even though car makers are investing large amounts of money in them it does not imply commercial availability or feasibility, it could be perceived as a stall technique.
The American Methanol Institute reports that the cost of a PEM fuel cell engine is US$500 per kilowatt. Developers estimate the cost could be brought down to US$50 pk/w. Hydrogen is radically different to store and transport compared to normal fuels. It is also not naturally occurring, and therefore it has to be refined from something using energy from somewhere. The most promising method is to refine hydrogen onboard from something like methanol. An onboard reformer vaporises methanol into hydrogen, carbon dioxide and traces of other pollutants. Neither nitrogen oxides nor soot particles are produced and carbon dioxide emissions are substantially below those of a diesel passenger car (source: Daimler Chrysler)
The American Methanol Institute says that initial tests reveal no nitrogen oxide or carbon monoxide emissions. Hydro carbon emissions were 0.005 grams per mile. There is no hard evidence that fuel cells can be economically mass produced in the near future. There is no short term solution using fuel cells.

The overall opinion is that in the current situation these options do not offer significant environmental benefits over current cars, do not reduce onroad traffic or accidents, use harmful materials in their manufacture and continue a flawed approach to transportation in the guise of environmentalism.

High Efficiency Petrol and Diesel Vehicle

Using diesel engines, aluminium bodies, and low drag shapes, at least twice the fuel economy could be attained with a price increase of around $2000. It would be cheaper then a comparable hybrid car and achieve mileage at least as good.
These rely on several things:
That people recognise the need to buy more fuel efficient vehicles, either due to environmental or monetary reasons
Purchase price vs. operating costs
State and local legislation involving support of these vehicles
A well tuned car or truck today emits about 80% of the pollution its equivalent would have in the 1970’s. This has been offset, at least in America however, by a 50% increase in the total number of vehicle miles travelled, plus the fact that many of the older cars are still on the road. Except for carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, emissions from cars newer then 1999 is insignificant when compared to pollution from older poorly maintained cars.
It should be noted that it would take a significant amount of time before high efficiency vehicles would actually be a significant percentage of total vehicles. In 1997 remote sensing of 18,000 vehicles showed that if the 10% worst offenders were removed from the road, carbon emissions would decrease by 60%, similar reductions in nitrogen oxides and unburned hydrocarbons could be expected. The high efficiency fossil fuel vehicle is a definite working technology that merely lacks the demand necessary to ensure market viability.

Public Transportation
Public transport does not succeed without public support. In America Weyrich and Lind of the Free Congress Foundation say that “…the dominance of the automobile is not a free market outcome, but the result of massive government intervention of behalf of the automobile.”
There are several technologies incorporated under the banner of public transportation. Bus systems are one field, the other areas are split into light and heavy rail, encompassing also Accelarail, High Speed Rail and Maglev. And vanpools (private minibuses) and carpools.
Public transport could reduce gridlock and air pollution. Fuel cost price jumps have less of an impact because the cost is spread over more users. New technology, like fuels cells is easier to put into a big vehicle like a train or a bus, and is thus more likely to be implemented earlier in the technology lifespan. However public transport does not depend on technology, or efficiency to make it successful, but rather on the usage of it. The main way to increase usage of public transport is to ensure high density living is a government policy. In the 1930’s a holding company was formed with members from the world car and tyre industries, such as GM and Firestone, with the sole purpose of buying and closing down private electric transport systems in 45 US cities. This resulted in the automobile becoming the dominant form of transport and the low density housing resulting ensuring the perpetuation of this.


Telecommuting involves moving the work to the workers instead of moving the workers to the work. Computers, the internet, telephones and fax machines mean that workers no longer need to be constrained to one central office. Telecommuting reduces the cost to the employer of office space and energy use.
Telecommuting is typically part time with about half the week spent at the office, there are different forms of telecommuting including
-working from home
-Satellite offices: a remote office location which is smaller in size near employee’s homes and reduces travel costs
-Hoteling: An office designed around the idea of the workforce using the space as needed, checking in and out.
-Neighbourhood Work Centre: different employees of different companies work in the same building
-Virtual Office Mobile Worker: road warriors, utilizing laptops and mobile phones to conduct business while on the move

The primary benefit of telecommuting is that two trips a day are removed from the road, or public transport, freeing up room for other users and reducing transport energy used. It is estimated that 15 million people telecommuted in the U.S. in 1998.
Telecommuting is one way of reducing pollution and congestion caused by commuters, while still being a positive move for the worker, with little perceived immediate sacrifice, and immeasurable benefits to future generations.

Cycling and Walking

“Sustainability and Cities” by Peter Newman and Jeffrey Kenworthy suggests measures such as
Encouraging public transport using measure such as:
-taxing transportation fairly
-encouraging quality transit, such as cycling and walking
-growth management to prevent urban sprawl
-urban villages, multimodal centres with mixed dense land use reducing need to travel, and linked by public transport
-traffic calming, to slow cars, encouraging other transportation types, and a more human environment
Source: Huwer 1999

The bicycles basic importance is as a cheap and affordable means of transport, with physical and mental benefits. By 2010 it is predicted that, on current trends 1 in 4 adults in the UK will be clinically obese, with our metabolic system shaped by 4 million years of active hunting and gathering, many people may not be able to maintain a healthy body weight without regular exercise. If we got perfect cars with no harmful emissions it still would not change the fact that they take up a lot of space, both when parked and on the move and they are involved in a significant number of fatal accidents. An interesting thing is that in nearly every country there are more bikes then cars. In southern European countries and North America, they are mainly viewed as leisure items, but ownership is still higher then cars. Weather and climate does not seem to be a factor in cycling uptake. Britain and Denmark have similar climates but Denmark has a significantly higher number of cyclists. It is perception of weather rather then actual weather that puts people off. I know that in Melbourne during winter when I was riding in, there was only about one day a fortnight that I had to take the train in because of the weather; it seems that due to the microclimate of the bay, rain falls primarily during the night or early morning. A2004 Bicycle Victoria survey showed that 49% of Melburnians own bike or access to a bike. 38% of Melburnians ride their bikes sometimes. 14% of Melburnians report riding their bikes once a week. The 2001 census showed that 15,244 people rode to work that day. It is generally accepted that urban areas in Australia are designed for the safety and convenience of motorized traffic and transport. The General Urban Speed Limit of 50 kph, reduced from 60kph, is still not at the optimum “safe” speed which extensive European research, mostly in the Netherlands, puts at 30kph. Because Australia is a young country with a low population density, it is easy to forget that our cities were built at a time before automobile dominance, and as such have much in common with the European cities who have managed to build systems that encourage cycling.

The HomeZone
The homezone refers to a shared street surface. The idea began in the sixties when residents began placing their flower boxes and garden furniture in on street parking which was being used by non residents. Rather then the street being for cars they recreated it as a place for play, and for cycling and walking. There are many new housing estates based on the homezone principles, with narrow streets and limited parking. In the Netherlands in areas where the homezone concept has been implemented traffic accidents have fallen by 46%, not just in the estates, but also on the surrounding major roads.

Melbourne 2030

In the planning document Melbourne 2030 they state that in thirty years the population of Melbourne will increase by another million people. It emphasises the rotating concept of “good areas” to live in, and the idea that 30 years ago these were totally different, also we had no underground loop and still used trains built before WW1 thirty years ago. They define sustainability as safeguarding future generation’s welfare, improving equity within and between generations, protecting biological diversity and maintaining systems essential to supporting life. The key principle in regards to sustainability is that cost effective measures to reduce serious damage should be implemented even if not supported due to a lack of scientific research.
Some of the recommendations include:
-an urban growth boundary, to stop urban sprawl, and concentrate growth in public transport areas
-recognize and protect the clean water resources
- reduce waste
--upgrade the public transport network
--improve the operations
--plan urban development
--coordinate development of all transport systems
--develop a safe road network, and make the best of existing infrastructure
--review transport practices to reduce environmental impacts
--give priority to cycling and walking in planning urban development
--promoting the use of sustainable personal transport options

Scenario 1

Category 0 extreme downhill sled racing
In the beginning, after the men of steel and ships of wood, there came the racing car drivers. These were men of enormous courage and skill, the test pilots of their time/ who steered large and ungainly internal combustion and electric vehicles over miles of unmade roads, at speeds that increased every year. Crowds lined the open roads to cheer on their favourite driver, and the myth of the man and automobile was born. In this myth, automobiles are a tool of men, for the sole purpose of improving life. Cars became a symbol of success, freedom and masculinity. Speed began to be removed from the human scale. A team of horses could pull a carriage very fast, but a fit runner could still outlast the horse’s stamina. With the car this became impossible. Something that was so far removed from mans natural capabilities, and viewed as an advance was awarded certain privileges once the initial restrictions were removed. Roads were built specifically for cars, the new way of transportation. They were backwards compatible with horses, pedestrians and cyclists, but they were not designed with these users in mind. Now pedestrians don’t walk on the roads, they walk on footpaths, where there are no footpaths, they don’t walk. Racing car drivers now are superhuman performance athletes, fit mentally and physically, and trained to carry out an ordered and planned series of steps with a high level of concentration. The crowds still line the roads but now they are circuit’s purpose built for safety and controllability. They drive home in vehicles provided by their sponsors, their high powered racecars totally unsuited for use on the roads. And what supports the motor racing industry? The car manufacturers. They have a saying, “what wins on raceday, sells on Monday.” But it’s based on an illusion. The race cars have about as much in common with a stock showroom car as those have with any car built in the first half of last century.

So the plan is to bring the racing back to the community in the same way that the San Francisco Illegal Soapbox Society has done. Repopularising soapbox or “gravity” racing as it has recently become known is a way to divert attention away from motorsport. Rather then serving as a training ground for potential race drivers it should serve as an adjunct to other green or extreme sports such as cycling or street luge.

It would have a number of strict rules, things like:
-no engines, gravity is the only force to be used
-all vehicles must be transported to and from the event, by green transportation, such as public transport, or human power, along with all team personal and equipment.
-no sponsors logos or colours, sponsor names can be printed in a plain typeface
-maximum price limit for vehicles, with a buyback clause so that if required their vehicles must be sold for the maximum price limit.
-regenerative braking, to store energy from gravity that would normally be lost braking for corners, and release it later to the wheels. This allows the races to be held on more interesting and technically challenging courses.
-weight limit for completed racer
-courses chosen should be easily accessible by public transport

The idea is that—

Its Saturday, its raceday, and the trains are humming. The real fans were up at six, to catch the first train with the team crew and the sleds. The drivers head out with the majority of the crowd at around nine thirty. The race is held in the hills around Frankston, around forty minutes form the city centre by train. The beach road cyclists tend to stop by around lunch time to check out the action. Category 0 downhill sled racing is a big part of the Saturday schedule of a fairly large group of people, sometimes crowds of up to 10,000 gather for the finals, but generally 2,000 people gather every weekend to talk, drink and barbeque while watching the sleds slip down the hills.

Scenario 2

Every second Sunday the city of Melbourne shuts down all the streets leading into the city to vehicular traffic, from the Yarra to Latrobe Street. The city is opened up for all the other users restricted normally by cars. The traffic lights are all set to green, except for where trams must cross each other. Rather then contributing to accidents and congestion, the green lights foster an attitude of caring and compassion, rather then competition and speed. The majority of road users would be cyclists, but also rollerbladers, skateboarders, joggers and walkers. Regular sporting competitions that appeal to these users are held regularly on these days, to draw them into the city, and to illustrate the way the city has been transformed.

Scenario 3
New housing estates could be built with one main garage area between groups of ten houses. The aim would be to locate them away from the house to dissuade the owners from using the car for every trip. The time taken to walk to the car could instead be used to validate the extra time taken to walk or ride somewhere normally. In older suburbs people would probably be reluctant to give up the use of their driveways, with convenient access to their cars and thus their destination, even though a driveway probably takes up one tenth of a typical suburban block. The answer is to make every residential street with access to a larger road a dead end, while leaving paths for pedestrians and cyclists to take shortcuts. Cutting down on the short car trips would be the aim. At the moment the average car trip is three kilometres. This means a significant number of car trips are actually to places within walking distance.

Names having Power

There is a lot of power in a name and a lot of power and history in the words car and automobile. It would be impossible to confront a device with such a long standing tradition of dominance unless it was renamed to a more neutral word. One with less formed opinions and memories. Our brains work by assigning pictures to things to help us remember them. We also connect words to our memories of our interaction with them. By doing this we back up all the information with a failsafe. The problem is, when I say car, you think CAR and have a mental connection to something that caught your attention once. It may be your first car. It may be your parent’s car. It muddies the issue when preconceived ideas and notions are allowed to get in the way of clear judgement. The name I chose to rename the car, and all wheeled transport with is SLED because it is a fairly bland unassuming word with some dynamic clean mental images, but little else. In a country with more snow, however this would perhaps not be the case. It is a very hard question, and perhaps more a job for a psychologist


Sometimes it seems tempting to just say “the environmental effects of fossil fuel based transportation outweigh the benefits.” We have known for a long time that damage was being done. Buckminster Fuller calculated the real cost of petrol to be around US$300 a litre counting the environmental damage. What would happen if we just shut down petrol stations? People would get cross. The new BMW X5 they bought weeks ago? Useless. I am not really worried about them though. It’s the people who live thirty kilometres from the town and have no way of getting in, it’s the people who have a mortgage and just bought a new house in Pakenham that we should think about. That’s why hydrogen cars seem so appealing. They are held up as the answer to all our problems, although one has to be a little suspicious that the same companies that dismantled Americas’ tram system in the thirties are now telling us they care about the environment and society. It seems like a delaying tactic sometimes, to take our minds off the fact that the H2 Hummer weighs in five kilos above the EPA weight limits for cars, and thus doesn’t have to submit fuel consumption figures, but still sells remarkably well. And that platinum, used in fuel cells, and also in catalytic converters in car exhausts, is one of the most expensive materials on earth, and a vital ingredient in both. There have been claims made that there is not enough platinum to convert the worlds current fleet of internal combustion vehicles to hydrogen fuel. Is there hope for a future where transport is exactly the same as we have now except with hydrogen fuel instead of fossil fuel? And do we want a transport system that still suffers from gridlock and congestion, road rage, roadkill, hit and runs even if only water comes out the exhaust?

It seems that the answers lie on the ends of our legs.

RESOURCES Melbourne 2030 online

[Australia's opportunity for sustainability] [videorecording] : a National Press Club address, given by L. Hunter Lovins, Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Ground Transportation for the 21st Century
Frank Kreith et al 1999 National Conference of State Legislatures

Planning for Cycling- principles, practice and solutions
Edited by Hugh McClintock 2002, Woodhead publishing and CRC press LLC

The Impact of the Motor Car
Barbara Preston 1991 Brefi Press GB

Sustainability and Cities
Peter Newman and Jeffrey Kenworthy Island Press 1999

8:21 PM, October 12, 2005  
Blogger Britt said...

hey Liam what was the name of the music you used in the cad presentation?

8:49 PM, October 13, 2005  
Blogger laim85 said...

the go team- ladyflash, did you like it?

12:26 AM, October 15, 2005  
Blogger Britt said...

yes i did.

8:55 PM, October 15, 2005  
Blogger Britt said...

Besides the military who actually drives a humvee?
Where on earth does the surburban driver park that monstrosity?
Why and when did they become a popular vehicle to drive? was it their abiltity to decimate any other vehicle in a crash?
What sort of situation would you need to drive one, I don't think that grocery shopping quite fits the bill...

1:12 AM, October 17, 2005  
Blogger laim85 said...

i imagine it may be some sort of display of patriotism. "i support the troops in iraq so therefore i drive a military vehicle that symbolises my approval, in the meantime using so much petrol it merely strngthens my support in the hope of cheaper fuel."

6:53 PM, October 18, 2005  

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