Rubén M.Cenzano

Chartered Civil Engineer specialised in Transportation

Ingeniero de Caminos especialista en Transporte

electric buses (can) save € millions for society and the environment

Posted On Thursday, 29 October 2015

A city with half a million inhabitants would save about €10.5 million per year if its buses ran on electricity instead of diesel, according to analysis conducted the Volvo Group and audit and advisory firm KPMG. The analysis has taken into consideration such factors as noise, travel time, emissions, energy use, taxes and the use of natural resources.

The analysis was based on a city with about half a million inhabitants and 400 buses. If the buses were run on electricity instead of diesel, the total annualized societal saving would be about €10.5 million. Among other areas, the savings stem from reduced noise and air pollution, which is estimated to lead to decreased care costs of up to  €2.5 million. The annual reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would total 33,000 tons, corresponding to about 3,000 Swedish households.

“Standard investment appraisals do not take into account all of the costs that impact society and the environment. Therefore, to quantify all of the aspects, we have now calculated the monetary value of an electric bus line,” says Niklas Gustafsson, Head of Sustainability at the Volvo Group. “The results show that irrespective of the number of parameters taken into consideration, electric buses comprise the leading public transport solution.”

launch of Hydrogen Mobility Europe

Posted On Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A coalition of European partners has launched the Hydrogen Mobility Europe project (H2ME), co-funded with €32 million from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU).

The project will support the deployment of 200 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), 125 fuel cell range-extended electric (FC RE-EVs) commercial vans and 29 new hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK by 2019.

H2ME is based around an alliance of the four most ambitious hydrogen mobility initiatives in Europe: H2 MOBILITY Deutschland, Mobilité Hydrogène France, Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership and UK H2 Mobility, which will work together to make hydrogen-fuelled transport a reality in Europe.

This plan ties in with existing national level initiatives for the roll-out of a large scale hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, aimed at enabling Europe wide emission-free driving.

4th Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan Award is opened for applications @mobilityweek

Posted On Thursday, 22 October 2015

Following last month's European Mobility Week, the EU is now launching the 4th Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) Award, as part of the Do the Right Mix campaign. The SUMP Award recognises local authorities that have demonstrated excellence in this year’s European Mobility Week theme of ‘multi-modality’ where citizens can choose, change and combine their modes of transport.

The winning three regions or local authorities will receive a high-quality promotional video showcasing their mobility efforts, as well as wide-spread promotion through the Do the Right Mix and European Mobility Week media channels.

Towns, cities and local authorities from the European Union’s 28 Member States and the European Economic Area are eligible to apply. Applications are being accepted between 28 September to 13 November 2015 on the campaign’s website, where further information about eligibility and evaluation is available.

An expert jury will evaluate the applications. Up to ten shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend the joint European Mobility Week and the SUMP Award Ceremony, which takes place in March/April 2016 in Brussels. At this event, the winner and two additional finalists will feature in a special video clip presenting their multi-modal success to a community of regional authorities highly engaged in European Mobility Week.

The European Commission's Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) Award was launched in 2012, and presented three times since. Each year, the award highlights a different aspect of mobility planning. Previous themes included successful territorial and policy integration, as well as monitoring implementation with an eye to making improvements.

China's 50-lane traffic jam

Posted On Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Thousands of motorists found themselves stranded last week in what looks from above like a 50-lane parking lot on the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, one of the country’s busiest roads.

Though foggy weather may have played a role, the real culprit is a new checkpoint that forces traffic to merge from 50 lanes down to just 20, according to The People’s Daily. Traffic was reportedly backed up for hours.

NODES toolbox offers keys to better transport interchanges @transportnodes

Posted On Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Interchanges play a key role in the integration of urban mobility systems and allowing smooth connections between different transport modes. The key achievements of the New Tools for the Design and Operation of Urban Transport Interchanges (NODES) project were the development of a toolbox to help practitioners assess and benchmark the performance of their interchange as well as to take practical steps to increase performance. The Toolbox focuses on five key areas:
  1. land use and infrastructure; 
  2. design; 
  3. inter-modality and information and communication technologies (ICT); 
  4. management and business models; and 
  5. energy and environment.

In practical terms, practitioners can more easily identify the design needs and facility requirements in an interchange thanks to the Typology Diagrammatic Representation tool. Another tool includes practical steps that can be taken to improve the experience of users in an interchange (the Station Experience Monitor), developed by Nederlandse Spoorwegen and tested in nine NODES test sites.

The aim of the research project was to help European cities in the design or operation of new or upgraded interchanges in order to boost user satisfaction. The Toolbox was tested in real conditions in nine European sites.

relationship between mode choice and commuting stress

Posted On Thursday, 15 October 2015

We talked about how commuting was increasingly stressful in Europe some months ago. We find now a new research on this topic.

There’s nothing quite like the unpredictability of traffic when it comes to commuter stress. The survey measured the various objective (e.g. travel time budgets) and subjective (e.g. trip pleasantness) stressors felt by some 3,800 students, faculty, and staff of McGill University during their commute on a typical winter day. Drivers had the highest average stress, largely owing to “unexpected delays”:
This additional time budget indicates that they have, perhaps paradoxically, less control over their commute than commuters on other modes. Frequent and unpredictable occurrences require of them a peremptory stance toward their commute, where extra time becomes the best way to assure arriving to work or school on time. Active transportation modes are not only environmentally and socially more sustainable, they are also a less stressful way to travel.

On[e] way to increase pedestrian mode-share is to protect walkers from traffic and provide more pleasant and more comfortable streets to walk on. Furthermore, public transportation is also less stressful than driving, which is found to involve (somewhat perversely) less control for commuters. Increasing the predictability and range of transit options in an era of increasing driving unpredictability could lead to a greater transit mode share. 
That last line is key. Driving might be the most stressful commute mode, but it often remains the most common one out of necessity. When there’s a reliable alternative, however, commuters respond accordingly—in the current study sample, 54% rode transit and 29% walked, with only 17% driving to work.

learning from Delhi’s BRT failure

Posted On Wednesday, 14 October 2015

In an appeal to scrap the current BRT corridor in Delhi, Saurabh Bharadwaj, former transport minister said: “The stretch on which this BRT has been made was not the best choice. For one, the bus lanes are in the middle and getting to them is a huge pain for pedestrians. Secondly, there are about four major intersections on the road and despite a very expensive smart signaling system, the implementation has failed completely.”

Bharadwaj was not alone in his comments. Because of poorly operated intersections, a minority of car drivers felt that traffic congestion had increased as a result of the city’s BRT system, which began in 2008. The time cycles were excessively long, and there were too many phases to accommodate turning movements. As a result, there were very long delays and queues that affected cars, two- and three-wheelers—and the corridor is on track to be scrapped.

While a valid critique, it’s important to understand that Delhi’s project was not a complete bus rapid transit (BRT) system. A complete BRT goes beyond bus lanes and bus stops—it is a systematic approach for improving multiple aspects of the passenger experience and bus operations. A complete system includes enclosed stations, centralized management of the bus fleet, adequate access facilities, and continued maintenance and improvement. Furthermore, despite incomplete corridors, the majority of road users benefited from the system: bus travel time dropped and bycicle users enjoyed the best dedicated bike planes in Delhi.

how Johannesburg saved $890 Million (2009/14) thanks to BRT @ReaVayaBus

Posted On Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Johannesburg’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system Rea Vaya—one of the continent’s first public bus systems and first African BRT— has saved South Africa as much as $890 million so far (2009-2014), by reducing travel time, improving road safety, and cutting down on carbon emissions, according to a recent report by the New Climate Economy, a project affiliated with the World Resources Institute (WRI).

The Rea Vaya bus system, built in 2009, runs on low sulphur diesel and follows predetermined routes in their own lanes, cutting down on the time spent cruising along the congested streets of Johannesburg. Here are those savings, as calculated by the WRI:

Benefit Savings (USD million)
Travel time savings 331
Improved road safety 268
Increased physical safety 141
Operating cost reduction 170
Travel time lost during construction -38
CO2 emissions reduction 18

where electric vehicles actually cause more pollution than petrol vehicles (in the USA)

Posted On Thursday, 8 October 2015

The idea that petrol cars might cause less environmental harm than electric vehicles (EV) seems impossibly backwards, however it is not always the case.

A view from the tailpipe gives EVs a clear edge: no emissions, no pollution, no problem. Shift the view to that of a smokestack, though, and we get a much different picture. The EV that caused no environmental damage on the road during the day still needs to be charged at night. This requires a great deal of electricity generated by a power plant somewhere, and if that power plant runs on coal, it’s not hard to imagine it spewing more emissions from a smokestack than a comparable gas car coughed up from a tailpipe.

In oversimplified terms, the researchers determined the emissions produced by gasoline car tailpipes and the emissions produced by electricity grids that power EVs for every U.S. county. The researchers focused on five major pollutants: carbon (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen (NOx), particulate matter (PM 2.5), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They considered 11 different 2014 models of EVs, as well as the “closest substitute” gas car.

EU fuel cell buses in Switzerland: 1 million km driven @CHICproject

Posted On Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Five fuel cell buses operating in Switzerland as part of a European Clean Hydrogen in European Cities (CHIC) project have reached the 1,000,000 km milestone (31/07/2015), proving the suitability of hydrogen and fuel cell buses for public transport.

The buses, which began service in 2011, are used daily like conventional buses and have also been used as shuttle buses at different events such as the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland).

CHIC is currently assessing the possibility of continuing the operation of the buses after the official end of the project in December 2016.

BRT hits 400 corridors worldwide

Posted On Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Bus rapid transit (BRT) recently reached a global milestone, as the number of mapped BRT corridors and systems in's database passed 400.

BRTData’s most recent update shows that there are now 402 mapped BRT corridors and bus lanes, stretching over 5229 kilometres worldwide and serving 32.5 million passengers/day. The significance of this figure is twofold: first, it shows that many cities worldwide are becoming increasingly interested in sustainable modes of transport; secondly, the figure is a reflection of the vast amount of free and accessible data that exists online to support the case for BRT.

With 141 cities currently planning or constructing new BRT systems, online data is key for ensuring that this new transport mode sees even greater success in the future.

Via WRI.

school eco-mobility: from pedal powered bus to school bus transport optimization

Posted On Thursday, 1 October 2015

Considering that about 70% of primary school children are car-driven to school and where 80% of trips are less than 3km (50%<3km; 30%<1km), it would make sense to try to reduce this car dependency.

There is an interesting new transport solution currently mainly used in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany: S'Cool bus; pedal-powered buses, taking up to 12 children and fitted with 9 bicycle drives.

Other initiatives look for the optimization of school buses, avoiding many school buses to be used virtually empty. 2school, is a new ticketing solution that has an in-built mini operations support system. Each bus driver is given a smartphone or tablet, with the solution pre-installed, which transmits real-time information to the town’s servers. Using the collected data, local authorities can monitor and measure the use of their bus routes.

Further information: S'Cool Bus, 2school.
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