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Posts from the ‘Locale is International’ Category

250 km/h ‘high speed metro’ in Guangzhou urban rail plan

Railway Gazette, 17 January 2020

CHINA: The Guangzhou municipal government has approved a 15-year plan to increase public transport’s market share to 80% through the development of a comprehensive urban rail network based on three metro, ‘express metro’ and ‘high speed metro’ networks.

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This was the decade of the bicycle. What’s next?

Treehugger.com 24 December 2019

Probably, the decade of e-mobility.

TreeHugger Mike first wrote about self-driving cars in 2010, suggesting that “in the next 10-20 our cars could start to be able to drive themselves safely and efficiently.” Over the next few years everyone thought Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) were just around the corner.

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Make room for the e-bikes, the top-selling electric vehicles for the next decade

Treehugger.com 3 January 2020

A new study from Deloitte predicts what we have said before: e-bikes will eat cars.

Recently, after calling the teens the decade of the bicycle, I predicted that the Twenties would be the decade of e-mobility.

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POPULATION GROWTH CONCENTRATED IN AUTO ORIENTED SUBURBS AND METROPOLITAN AREAS

New Geography 14 January 2020

The suburbs and exurbs continue to dominate population growth in the nation’s 53 major metropolitan areas, according to a City Sector Model (Note 1 and Figure 9) analysis. We traced growth between the 2010 Census and the American Community Survey 5-year data, from samples taken over the period of 2014 to 2018. The middle-year was 2016 (Note 2).

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Unblocking Paris

International Rail Journal June 12 201

With the start of tunnel boring on the eastern extension of RER Line E in Paris, momentum is building for the project which promises to ease congestion on the city’s saturated commuter network. Kevin Smith explores the intricacies of the undertaking and outlines the challenges facing contractors.

THE ground beneath the streets of Paris, like many modern metropolises, is a Swiss cheese of tunnels and underground infrastructure. Work on the latest addition, a 6km underground extension of RER Line E from St Lazare west to La Défense began on February 19 when TBM Virginie entered the ground.

The €3.7bn project is in effect the final stage of Line E, the first phase of which opened in 1999. The line improved connectivity from the east to the centre of Paris and this latest extension is aiming to improve connectivity from the west.


The first test train will be delivered by the end of this year.

As well as the underground section, the scheme involves upgrading 2km of existing underground infrastructure between La Défense and Nanterre-la-Jolie and upgrading the 47km line to Poissy and Mantes-la-Jolie to accommodate Line E trains on the same tracks used by Transilien Line J services to Vernon.

Ile-de-France Mobility and French National Railways (SNCF) are also spending €2bn on new RER New Generation double-deck EMUs (pictured) built by Alstom and Bombardier that will be used on Line E as well as RER Line D from 2021. The first test train will be delivered by the end of this year. The plan is to complete the extension to Nanterre and the complete project, including high capacity signalling in the central section, by 2024.

The impact of the project for Paris commuters is expected to be significant.

The majority travel from the east and the west suburbs of the city during the morning and evening peaks. This places significant pressure on RER Line A, which currently serves 1.2 million passengers per day. With passengers packed into these trains, and the first sections of the Grand Paris Express orbital metro network not due to open until 2030, the extension of Line E is considered a more immediate solution to ease congestion. The trains will operate at speeds of up to 120km/h on the core section, saving commuters travelling from the western suburbs to La Défense around 17 minutes on their current journey.

Mr Xavier Gruz, director of the Eole-Nexteo project at SNCF, says it is estimated that more than 50% of Line A passengers travelling through the central section will switch to Line E once it comes on line. “For instance, people who commute from La Défense to Gare du Nord will no longer go through Châtelet and will use Line E,” Gruz says. “We also see that 10-12% decrease in traffic on lines B and D, which go through Gare du Nord. The objective is to take off some of the load that is supported by the RER lines inside Paris.”

Line E itself is forecast to carry 700,000 passengers per day, up from around 340,000 at present. Operation on the line’s 20km core underground section will be enhanced by the introduction of CBTC, which will enable 22 trains per hour, per direction to use the complete Rosa Parks – Nanterre-la-Folie section during the peak, with 16 of these trains operating on the line east of Rosa Parks, which comprises branches to Tournan and Chelles-Gourney, and six on the western section from Mantes-la-Jolie. There is the possibility to increase capacity to 28 trains with headways of 108 seconds once the Paris – Normandy upgrade is completed around 2030. Currently trains are operating at 180-second intervals.


“It gives us one year to test out the system and make sure that it can be scaled up,” he says.

SNCF Engineering is designing the Nexteo CBTC solution with support from Paris Transport Authority (RATP), which has deployed CBTC on Paris metro lines 1, 3, 5, 9 and 14, and industry partner Siemens, which was awarded a €186m contract in 2016. Trains will operate at GoA2 in the central section, which encompasses the new line as well as the existing underground line from Haussmann-St Lazare to Rosa Parks.

Siemens France is supplying its Vicos operational control system and Airlink radio communication for the project. While preparatory work to install the new signalling system alongside legacy equipment began earlier this year, installation of Nexteo equipment will begin in 2022. Gruz says the new tunnel will open initially with the use of a lineside signalling system, with the aim of commissioning Nexteo by the end of 2023 and fully opening the line the following year. “It gives us one year to test out the system and make sure that it can be scaled up,” he says.

The new project will add three new stations, including two new entirely-underground stations at CNIT-La Défense and Porte Maillot, and a new surface station at Nanterre La Folie, which will connect with the existing underground platforms. Modifications will also be made to existing stations with the line set to interchange with RER lines A and C, metro Line 1, light rail Line T2, and lines 15 and 18 of the Grand Paris Express network.

THE ground beneath the streets of Paris, like many modern metropolises, is a Swiss cheese of tunnels and underground infrastructure. Work on the latest addition, a 6km underground extension of RER Line E from St Lazare west to La Défense began on February 19 when TBM Virginie entered the ground.

The €3.7bn project is in effect the final stage of Line E, the first phase of which opened in 1999. The line improved connectivity from the east to the centre of Paris and this latest extension is aiming to improve connectivity from the west.


The first test train will be delivered by the end of this year.

As well as the underground section, the scheme involves upgrading 2km of existing underground infrastructure between La Défense and Nanterre-la-Jolie and upgrading the 47km line to Poissy and Mantes-la-Jolie to accommodate Line E trains on the same tracks used by Transilien Line J services to Vernon.

Ile-de-France Mobility and French National Railways (SNCF) are also spending €2bn on new RER New Generation double-deck EMUs (pictured) built by Alstom and Bombardier that will be used on Line E as well as RER Line D from 2021. The first test train will be delivered by the end of this year. The plan is to complete the extension to Nanterre and the complete project, including high capacity signalling in the central section, by 2024.

The impact of the project for Paris commuters is expected to be significant.

The majority travel from the east and the west suburbs of the city during the morning and evening peaks. This places significant pressure on RER Line A, which currently serves 1.2 million passengers per day. With passengers packed into these trains, and the first sections of the Grand Paris Express orbital metro network not due to open until 2030, the extension of Line E is considered a more immediate solution to ease congestion. The trains will operate at speeds of up to 120km/h on the core section, saving commuters travelling from the western suburbs to La Défense around 17 minutes on their current journey.

Mr Xavier Gruz, director of the Eole-Nexteo project at SNCF, says it is estimated that more than 50% of Line A passengers travelling through the central section will switch to Line E once it comes on line. “For instance, people who commute from La Défense to Gare du Nord will no longer go through Châtelet and will use Line E,” Gruz says. “We also see that 10-12% decrease in traffic on lines B and D, which go through Gare du Nord. The objective is to take off some of the load that is supported by the RER lines inside Paris.”

Line E itself is forecast to carry 700,000 passengers per day, up from around 340,000 at present. Operation on the line’s 20km core underground section will be enhanced by the introduction of CBTC, which will enable 22 trains per hour, per direction to use the complete Rosa Parks – Nanterre-la-Folie section during the peak, with 16 of these trains operating on the line east of Rosa Parks, which comprises branches to Tournan and Chelles-Gourney, and six on the western section from Mantes-la-Jolie. There is the possibility to increase capacity to 28 trains with headways of 108 seconds once the Paris – Normandy upgrade is completed around 2030. Currently trains are operating at 180-second intervals.


“It gives us one year to test out the system and make sure that it can be scaled up,” he says.

SNCF Engineering is designing the Nexteo CBTC solution with support from Paris Transport Authority (RATP), which has deployed CBTC on Paris metro lines 1, 3, 5, 9 and 14, and industry partner Siemens, which was awarded a €186m contract in 2016. Trains will operate at GoA2 in the central section, which encompasses the new line as well as the existing underground line from Haussmann-St Lazare to Rosa Parks.

Siemens France is supplying its Vicos operational control system and Airlink radio communication for the project. While preparatory work to install the new signalling system alongside legacy equipment began earlier this year, installation of Nexteo equipment will begin in 2022. Gruz says the new tunnel will open initially with the use of a lineside signalling system, with the aim of commissioning Nexteo by the end of 2023 and fully opening the line the following year. “It gives us one year to test out the system and make sure that it can be scaled up,” he says.

The new project will add three new stations, including two new entirely-underground stations at CNIT-La Défense and Porte Maillot, and a new surface station at Nanterre La Folie, which will connect with the existing underground platforms. Modifications will also be made to existing stations with the line set to interchange with RER lines A and C, metro Line 1, light rail Line T2, and lines 15 and 18 of the Grand Paris Express network.

Tunnelling commenced when TBM Virginie entered the ground at La Défense station in February. Excavation is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Inevitably building a new tunnel in the heart of Paris presents challenges. Gruz says the area around La Défense in particular is difficult because of the density of the buildings and because construction of the station itself is taking place directly below the iconic Centre for New Industries and Technologies (CNIT) building.

The 11-storey structure is supported by temporary jacks while work takes place in a vault which has been excavated with three contact points to the building. Gruz says great care has been taken to ensure that the work does not disturb everyday activities in the building, which is home to shops, a hotel and offices. “We also have to comply with the maximum permissible level of noise and vibration night and day because of the hotel,” Gruz says.

Contractors face similar challenges at Porte Maillot. Here work is complicated by the station’s proximity to the Paris Congress Hall as well as the presence of the neighbouring automated metro Line 1, which is used by 800,000 passengers per day as well as RER Line C, road tunnels and a car park. “We are trying to build the new station in between all of these pieces of infrastructure,” Gruz says.

Logistics

The final major challenge relates to minimising the impact on everyday Parisians. With construction taking place in the heart of the city, Gruz says care is taken when delivering equipment. For example, the concrete segments used by the TBM, which was built by Herrenknecht, Germany, and at 1800 tonnes and with an 11m-diameter, is the biggest currently working in Europe, are delivered by rail up to the last mile where transport switches to road. In addition, barges on the River Seine are transporting spoil from the double-track single bore tunnel out of the city centre. However, with work taking place at 30m below the city’s streets, and with the area under construction only inhabited in the 19th century, Gruz says disruption from archaeological finds is not likely.

Work to upgrade the existing infrastructure is taking place alongside construction of the new tunnel. Specifically, this involves upgrading the existing line to Poissy and Mantes-la-Jolie, including realigning tracks and infrastructure on the section beyond Nanterre La Folie. Contractors will also construct a new 800m elevated section and deliver improvements to increase speed and capacity on existing passing loops, and enhance platform capacity at stations, including the total reconstruction of Mantes-la-Jolie.

A significant element of the work is to upgrade signalling. As well as CBTC through the core section, Gruz says the project is also upgrading signalling on the outlying network. While the ATS+ solution is partially derived from Nexteo’s specification, Gruz says a complete rollout of Nexteo is too expensive on the outlying sections.

The work will involve installing new computerised interlockings, with Alstom responsible for the western section to Mantes-la-Jolie under a €112m contract, and Siemens delivering the eastern portion to Chelles and Tournan under a €163m agreement.


SNCF will be keen to avoid the problems that have delayed the London project and deliver the scheme on time and budget.

“We are currently developing tools to ensure the connection with the ATS+ system for the operators using this system,” Gruz says. “The objective is to gain one path during the peak and also to make the system more robust and reliable. This is a line that does not work very well when there are a lot of delays.”

Gruz compares the Line E project with London’s Crossrail and the signalling upgrades in Copenhagen. “These are the two benchmarks that we have worked from,” he says.

Like Crossrail, the Line E project will offer enhanced cross-city connectivity and go a long way to providing desperately needed extra capacity. Although as the project ramps up in the next few years, SNCF will be keen to avoid the problems that have delayed the London project and deliver the scheme on time and budget. Long-suffering RER Line A commuters cannot wait much longer.

https://www.railjournal.com/in_depth/unblocking-parismuch longer.

https://www.railjournal.com/in_depth/unblocking-paris
https://www.railjournal.com/in_depth/unblocking-paris

Four European cities leading the way in eco-friendly transport

European cities are starting to make headway in green technological initiatives and are transforming urban spaces to reduce carbon emissions. But which cities are making a difference and what are they doing to make mobility greener?

Solar panelled bus stops to transform the city in Rzeszów, Poland

As part of Rzeszów’s commitment to investing in renewable technology, the Polish city will be implementing 140 new eco-friendly bus shelters and reducing CO2 emissions with electric buses by the end of September this year. The city’s new smart bus shelters do not just provide you with a bench and shelter from the weather, they also have solar panels that are continually working to absorb the sun’s energy. What’s more, the director of the digital municipal infrastructure division at Asseco Data Systems, Paweł Sokołowski, tells us about the main station itself:

“[It is] covered with photovoltaic cells – on the façades, shelters and even the blinds. The air-conditioning system automatically adjusts to the weather outside. As a result, the station is a zero-emission and energy self-sufficient structure.”

This green urban improvement is contributing to the city’s aim of becoming a ‘smart city’ – a lot of European cities could learn from this technological initiative!

London’s first hydrogen powered buses to be introduced by 2020

By 2020, London will be putting the world’s first hydrogen-powered double decker buses on its streets in light of the capital’s commitment to becoming an ultra-low emission zone. The 20 buses that have initially been bought by TFL (Transport for London) will run on green hydrogen and will only have water exhaust emissions. This initiative aims to tackle the capital’s problem with polluted air.

Mayor Sadiq Khan comments that “London now has the largest zero-emission bus fleet in Europe.” The buses will drive more smoothly, provide USB charging points and ensure 10 million passenger journeys are greener.

More electric car charging points to be implemented in Ruesselsheim, Germany

The German city of Ruesselsheim plans to build 1,300 charging points for electric cars by 2020, as a result of the growing popularity of this greener way of road travel.

Between 2015 and 2018, the number of electric cars in Germany increased by five times, but the ratio of charging points to electric cars did not increase. So this is certainly positive news!

Copenhagen to switch from diesel buses to electric

Known for its biking culture, Copenhagen is going one step further to improve its air quality and to reduce carbon emissions. The Danish city is encouraging greener forms of mobility by switching from diesel buses to electric, when bus contracts expire this year.

The aim is to start making public buses carbon neutral by 2025.

https://www.euronews.com/living/2019/06/07/four-european-cities-leading-the-way-in-eco-friendly-transport

India Offers $360 Million Subsidy For 5,000 Electric Buses

Cleantechnica 8 June 2019

The Indian government plans to incentivize cities to include electric buses to their public transport fleet through financial subsidies.

The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises has issued an Expression of Interest (EoI) document to invite proposals from states, government departments, transportation departments, and municipal bodies for procurement of electric buses across 40 cities. The subsidy will be provided under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles in India or the FAME-II scheme.

The central government will offer subsidies worth Rs 2,500 crore (US$360 million) for the deployment of 5,000 electric buses. Under the current exercise, a total of 40 cities shall be selected where a subsidy will be distributed for deployment of electric buses based on population.

Cities with a population of more than 4 million must deploy a minimum of 300 electric buses each, those with more than 1 million population must deploy at least 100 electric buses each. 50 electric buses each shall be deployed in cities under other categories. In order to be eligible for the subsidy, cities must guarantee that each bus slot will run for at least five lakhs km during its contract period and also inform about the number of buses they plan to deploy.

Eligibility for this subsidy scheme will be limited to states with a separate electric vehicles policy and other incentives to promote use of electric vehicles. State transportation units will be required to submit competitive bids to access the financial subsidy.

Among other conditions for disbursement of the subsidy is that the manufacturer of the electric buses must be an Indian company with a manufacturing facility in the country. The subsidy shall be disbursed in a phased manner with 20% issued at the time of signing the supply order for the buses, 40% at the time of delivery of the buses, and the balance 40% after six months of successful commercial operation of the buses.

The timeline set for the complete delivery of all buses has been set at just over 18 months from now. 

The FAME-II scheme has been designed by the Indian government to support electrification of public and shared transportation. The total budgetary allocation for this scheme is Rs 10,000 crore (US$1.4 billion). Around 35% of this allocation has been set aside to facilitate deployment of 7,000 electric buses across various cities in the country.

A number of state transportation agencies have already announced plans to induct electric buses to their fleet. These include agencies in the cities of Mumbai and Bengaluru. The state of Kerala recently issued a tender to lease 1,500 electric buses for a period of 10 years.

The Indian government is pushing for a widespread electrification of the transportation system. It has first targeted the public and shared transportation system. We recently reported that the government may ban sale of three-wheelers using internal combustion engines by March 2023 and all two-wheelers using internal combustion engines with less than 150 cc by March 2025, and that cab aggregators like Uber and Ola Cabs may be required to have at least 40% electric vehicles in their fleet by 2026.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/06/08/india-offers-360-million-subsidy-for-5000-electric-buses/

Commercial hybrid-electric aircraft, reduced carbon emissions

Science Daily, 25 March 2019

Although we’re still a long way from commercial airplanes powered by a combination of fossil fuel and batteries, a recent feasibility study at the University of Illinois explored fuel/battery configurations and the energy lifecycle to learn the tradeoffs needed to yield the greatest reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

“In the energy supply chain there’s a phrase, from ‘well to wake.’ That is, fuel production begins at the oil well and ends at the wake of the airplane. Tracking costs and environmental implications across this entire lifecycle is important, because the implications for fuel and energy production can be substantially different, depending on the source. In this study, we looked at how technologies need to improve to make a hybridized configuration feasible, where feasibility is assessed based on a need to meet a certain range requirement and feature a large reduction in carbon emissions. The net carbon emissions were calculated from a combination of fuel burn and the carbon impact associated with recharging the batteries,” said Phillip Ansell, assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering in the College of Engineering at the U of I.

According to Ansell, that second part has been ignored.

“You can get a fuel burn reduction, but if the cleanliness of the electrical grid that’s being used to charge the battery system is not included, you’re missing a significant part of the carbon emissions total,” he said.

The study compared the relative CO2 emissions produced per kilowatt-hour for each individual state across the United States. It includes a map of the U.S. with values of how much carbon is produced per unit of energy.

But, to be commercially acceptable, a hybrid-electric aircraft needs to be able to carry the same number of passengers and travel the same distances as current all-fossil fuel aircraft do, so the study used the parameters for a single-aisle airplane that can carry approximately 140 passengers as a model. They parametrically varied the proportion of power across the propulsion driveshaft that was electrically derived, using configurations where 12.5 percent, 25 percent, or 50 percent of the necessary power was produced by an electric motor. The study didn’t consider cost in dollars, but rather the cost in CO2 emissions — the environmental cost.

The most feasible configuration from the model was a propulsion system that uses a 50 percent electrical-power drivetrain and a battery specific energy density of 1,000 watt-hours per kilogram. This configuration was estimated to produce 49.6 percent less lifecycle CO2 emissions than a modern conventional aircraft with a maximum range equivalent to that of the average of all global flights, making it a viable option for environmentally responsible aviation. However, current battery technologies are quite far from being able to achieve this configuration. Despite this fact, Ansell did say that improvements in batteries will continue to provide gains in capabilities.

“Obviously, the 12.5 percent is the most near-term accessible configuration that was studied, because we’ll need less battery technology progress to get to that point. However, we also see a non-linear relationship between CO2 emissions produced and improvements in hybrid-electric propulsion concepts, where the most rapid proportional reductions in carbon emissions are produced across near-term improvements in technology,” Ansell said. “Achieving the technology improvements for a 50% hybrid system certainly has a very long timetable to get to market, by a long shot, because it’s entirely uncertain if or when that level of energy density of batteries will be manufactured. But at least in the interim, even small gains in component technologies can make a big difference.”

When will technology be able to manufacture a battery lightweight enough yet powerful enough to fly a commercial airplane?

Ansell speculated, “Perhaps in the next 10 years we’ll be able to have a battery that is 400 to 600 watt-hours per kilogram. If we project that out, the levels that we need for larger hybridization factors, or even fully electric commercial aircraft, might be within reach in the next 25 years.”

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190325130524.htm

Shipping Comes to Terms With $50 Billion Clean-Fuel Bill

The Wall Street Journal, 4 April 2019

A shift from heavy oil to lower-sulfur fuels next year will hit vessel operators and cargo owners, but preparations are finally taking shape

The introduction of low-sulfur fuels in oceangoing vessels next year to meet new emissions standards will mark the biggest change in ship propulsion since the maritime industry moved from coal to heavy oil early in the 20th century.

The emissions mandate taking effect at the start of 2020 will affect at least 60,000 vessels and cost the industry up to $50 billion, according to shipping executives’ estimates. The expected burden has triggered a noisy debate about the added costs, as well as warnings over the quality and availability of the new fuels—and calls to delay the rule.

With eight months to go, however, preparations are in full swing and the doomsday predictions are dissipating as more fuel providers set up depots and distribution sites. A consensus also is building in the shipping world that customers will have to bear the higher costs across supply chains, as long as carriers are clear and transparent about how much more they have to pay to keep ships moving.

Cargo owners expect a significant jump in freight rates, which over the past five years have been hovering below break-even levels for vessel operators as a result of a glut of ships in the water and vicious price wars.

Many of the world’s shipping companies have been unprofitable for much of the past decade, and the outlook through 2021 remains grim on the back of a slowing global economy and trade tensions among the U.S., China and the European Union.

“If the extra costs related to low-sulfur fuel go to shipping companies and end there, it would result in bankruptcies,” said Soren Skou, chief executive of A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the world’s biggest container ship operator by capacity.

The new formulation of low-sulfur fuel is supposed to replace bunker, which propels most of the world’s oceangoing vessels. The heavy-burning fuel has 3.5% sulfur content—far above what is allowed for automobile gasoline in the U.S.—and is the main reason the shipping industry contributes about 13% of world-wide sulfur-dioxide emissions, according to the International Maritime Organization, the global regulator managing the switch.

The new maritime fuel will have a 0.5% sulfur content. A 2016 study in Finland said that without the change in fuel, pollution from ships would contribute to more than 570,000 additional premature deaths globally between 2020 and 2025.

The actual cost of the low-sulfur fuel remains only a guess. Shipping executives expect to pay 25% to 40% more than they pay for bunker because of the higher cost for producing the fuel and setting up new distribution sites. Prices for the most common type of bunker have been running around $440 per metric ton so far this year.

Many cargo owners accept they will shoulder much of the bill, likely through shipping surcharges. Retailers are big users of container ships, and it will up to them and other shipping customers whether the costs then get passed long to consumers

“It is unclear at this point what kind of impact the fuel cost increases will have on consumer goods,” said Jon Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy at the National Retail Federation. “I think this will really depend upon the retailer and what their strategy is to mitigate any potential cost increases.”

Fuel surcharges have become a common tool for passing along increases in operating costs following sharp swings in bunker costs early in the decade.

“The supply chains operated just fine in 2011-2014, and there is no reason why this should not be the case this time around either,” said Lars Jensen, chief executive of Copenhagen-based SeaIntelligence Consulting.

Some shippers complain of a lack of clarity on costs, saying they are often saddled with surcharges that are difficult to understand.

“There is uncertainty on what will happen and how freight rates will be affected,” said Jordi Espin, a maritime policy manager at the European Shippers’ Council, a trade body that represents 75,000 cargo owners in the EU.

“Rates are already pushed up by ‘climate costs’ or fuel bunker surcharges, with no clear picture on why these extra costs already apply,” Mr. Espin said. “The whole process lacks transparency and a customer-oriented approach.”

Much of the debate on the operating side has focused on scrubbers, a sulfur-trapping exhaust system that treats ship fumes before they are released in the atmosphere. Some carriers are relying on their use to reduce emissions and meet the new industry standard even while sticking with bunker fuel.

The devices cost $3 million to $10 million per ship, but those carriers using them are betting they can recover the cost in about two years by burning bunker instead of the new, more expensive low-sulfur fuel.

Scrubbers are controversial, however, with critics saying they essentially mask sulfur emissions without eliminating the environmental damage.

“There is a lot of talk about scrubbers, but at the end around 90% of the global fleet will use low-sulfur fuel,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, chief executive of German boxship major Hapag-Lloyd AG , which plans to install scrubbers on only 10 of its 227 ships.

Meanwhile, concerns that there will be too little low-sulfur fuel to power the global fleet are easing. Oil company BP PLC said last month there will be ample supply at major ports, echoing similar assurances by suppliers Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp.

The sulfur-reduction plan is the step in shipping’s quest to become friendlier to the environment. The industry has agreed to cut by half all greenhouse emissions by 2050, a far costlier exercise that will involve new hull designs and hybrid propulsion systems.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/shipping-comes-to-terms-with-50-billion-clean-fuel-bill-11554382800

Twenty times more English children could cycle to school with better transport planning

The Conversation, 18 March 2019

Only 2% of pupils in England cycle to school, even less than the 3% of adults who cycle to work. Similarly low rates can be found in other wealthy countries, like the US and Australia, although some European countries have much higher levels.

Hostile cycling environments, where riders are expected to mix with buses and other large vehicles, are off-putting enough for commuters, let alone for children (or more accurately, the adults deciding whether or not their children can cycle). Lack of provision for cycling may also help explain the comparatively low rates of cycling in England among women, who are more likely than men to be travelling with children.

Yet planning for school cycling barely exists. Most effort across the country goes into teaching children cycling skills, via the national Bikeability programme. While it’s important to ensure children can ride a bike, often little is done to ensure they have somewhere to ride. At school run times many neighbourhoods are traffic clogged, with drivers parked on double yellow lines and zig-zags, at times even driving on the pavement in the rush to drop off.

There hasn’t been much incentive for this to change. Transport planning has generally marginalised cycling, with planning tools and models focused on private motorised traffic. More broadly, commuters and to a lesser extent adults making other utility trips are prioritised over children’s mobility, independence, and well-being. These two factors have combined to mean that child cycling has not reached the mainstream transport planning agenda.

Cycling potential

Leadership and funding are crucial in changing the situation. But data and planning tools also matter. We saw an opportunity to use data to improve planning processes. Part of the problem is that we don’t know how many children might cycle to school. We don’t know which neighbourhoods could have high levels of child cycling, nor which routes within an area have the greatest potential.

Making that invisible potential visible is the challenge. And one that we’ve met through developing a new modelling tool, part of the Department for Transport-funded Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT). The analysis is based on the National School Census within which data on travel to school was last collected in 2011 for all state primary and secondary schools in England.

The analysis shows that if children in England cycled to school at the same rates as Dutch children do (for trips of the same distance and hilliness), more than two in five children would do so. The model uses data from the Dutch travel survey, which shows for instance that while around a third of Dutch primary school children might cycle 2-3km to school, these rates drop to one in nine when distance rises to 4km. Realising the “Dutch” potential would mean a 22-fold increase from the current levels of one in 50 children cycling to school.

Even today’s best performing areas would see growth. For example, in Cambridge (with the highest levels of cycling across the country), the amount of children cycling to school would rise from 30% to 53%. All areas see substantial increase, even rural and hillier places; and no English local authority would have fewer than 16% of trips to school cycled.

At present, child cyclists are almost absent from most of our streets, and this amount of child cycling is hard to imagine. To help planners visualise and plan for growth, the PCT maps cycling to school, along routes, in neighbourhoods, and for individual schools. Some roads might have as many as 500, 1,000 or more children pedalling along them, if we were able to create conditions that prioritise children over cars. “School streets” are one such policy, restricting car access at school times, leaving streets clear for children to walk, cycle, play, and socialise without fear of traffic injury.

Other options are to create more widespread interventions. For instance, London’s mini-Holland programme (in Enfield, Kingston, and Waltham Forest) involved closing some neighbourhoods to through motor traffic. Replacing rat runs with planters, play areas, and bike parking, the scheme is already resulting in an increase in walking and cycling.

Health and climate benefits

What might the benefits be of getting more children to ride to school? Many benefits can’t easily be quantified, such as the impacts of redressing long-term decline in children’s independent mobility. For children, available space has too often shrunk from whole neighbourhoods, to streets, to front or back yards – with the greatest impacts on children without access to private outdoor space.

But some impacts can be quantified. The PCT shows that if England achieved its school cycling potential, the benefits could be huge. The calculations suggest that achieving the scenario outlined above would increase physical activity from school travel among pupils by 57% and reduce transport-related carbon emissions by 81 kilotonnes per year.

These benefits vary by primary versus secondary school. Primary school children would see a 9% increase in physical activity from school travel (largely because many walk at present, with distances short). Secondary school children would see a 97% increase. Using World Health Organisation physical activity targets, the proportion of secondary school children getting at least half their recommended physical activity from active school travel would increase threefold, from 13.6% to 40.4%.

We’ve got a long way to go before cycling to school is normalised. If we get there, the benefits are great: improved health and well-being, cars off the road, greater child (and parental) mobility and independence. This will involve a shift in mindset, prioritising children’s health over adults’ car-driving convenience. The new PCT layer contributes to an emerging evidence base to help local policymakers plan for, and prioritise, child cycling.

https://theconversation.com/twenty-times-more-english-children-could-cycle-to-school-with-better-transport-planning-113082

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