Energy Efficient Transportation Modeling (Core Project)

Project Abstract

As concerns about climate change increase, so do calls for reductions in the use of fossil fuels and a shift to more sustainable and less-polluting transportation modes. Cities and urban areas are generally more concerned about these issues because their population comprises over half of the world's population. Roadway congestion levels began to rise again during the US economy's recovery from the most recent recession. Today, congestion levels have not only returned to pre-recession levels of 2000 and earlier, but are even greater, causing more congestion-related problems. By 2014, congestion had caused travel delay to increase to 6.9 billion hours per year, up from 5.2 billion hours per year in 2000. Additionally, congestion costs increased by nearly $46 billion between 2000 and 2014, reaching $160 billion in 2014. Sustainable transportation modes, such as cycling, walking, and use of public transit and electric vehicles, can benefit the environment in many ways, including the reduction of toxic greenhouse gas emissions and noise levels. Moreover, decreasing the number of single occupant vehicles will decrease congestion levels, travel delays, and incurred travel costs. In this work, we focus on two energy-efficient modes of transportation: cycling, and rail. First, cycling is emerging as a sustainable mode of transportation with growing acceptance and popularity, which dictates a need for more planning for its support. This will depend greatly on understanding cyclists' behaviors, which requires more research into cyclist behavior modeling. Second, rail is one of the safest modes of transportation gaining popularity in the US, and will help alleviate the negative impact of greenhouse gas emissions.

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Universities and Sponsoring Organizations Involved

Urban Mobility & Equity Center, Virginia Tech, U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the Secretary-Research

Principal Investigators

Dr. Hesham Rakha, Virginia Tech, hrakha@vt.edu

Funding Sources and Amounts

USDOT: $100,000; Virginia Tech, $50,000 (Match)

Completion Date

May 2020

Subject Areas

Cycling Modeling, Rail Simulation, Ridesharing