Posted on February 16, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Traffic haze settles on a busy street in Buenos Aires. Simple traffic control measures like synchronizing stoplights and using flyovers could reduce human exposure to toxic auto exhaust pollution. bberwyn photo.
New traffic pollution data screams out for better transit planning and improved emissions control technology for motor vehicles
FRISCO — Pollution from auto exhaust can quickly build to dangerous levels at stoplights, where drivers are exposed to about 25 percent of their total exposure during a typical commute.
More and more research is proving that the nanoparticles from exhaust contribute significantly to respiratory and heart disease, so University of Surrey scientists decided to study the exposure. Drivers spend just 2 percent of their journey time passing through traffic intersections managed by lights, this short duration contributes to about 25 percent of total exposure to these harmful particles.
Signalized traffic intersections were found to be high pollution hot-spots due to the frequent changes in driving conditions. With drivers decelerating and stopping at lights, then revving up to move quickly when lights go green, peak particle concentration was found to be 29 times higher than that during free flowing traffic conditions. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, Technology, transportation | Tagged: air pollution, Environment, transportation | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 2, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a global level means tackling transportation, which accounts for more than 25 percent of all CO2 emissions in the U.S. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO —Planners and elected officials may not be able to ignore the climate impacts of transportation for much longer. A California appeals court last week ruled against the San Diego Association of Governments in a lawsuit centered on a freeway oriented plan that fails to assess climate and public health risks of a transportation plan that invests heavily in freeways and subsidizes sprawl at the expense of public transit.
The transportation sector is the second biggest source of greenhouse gases (28 percent, just behind power generation (32 percent). he majority of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation are CO2 emissions resulting from the combustion of petroleum-based products, like gasoline, in internal combustion engines.
According to the EPA, the largest sources of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions include passenger cars and light-duty trucks, including sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and minivans. These sources account for over half of the emissions from the sector. The remainder of greenhouse gas emissions comes from other modes of transportation, including freight trucks, commercial aircraft, ships, boats, and trains as well as pipelines and lubricants. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate change, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, freeways, global warming, greenhouse gases, San Diego, transportation | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 23, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Industry foot-dragging continues,; lawsuits pending
An Iceland Air jet flies over Greenland en route from Reykjavik to Denver. bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — U.S. airlines aren’t making much progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation. Despite some improvement by individual airlines, the analysis showed there was no net improvement in the fuel efficiency of U.S. domestic operations from 2012 to 2013.
The nonprofit organization also calculated that two of the most fuel efficient carriers — Alaska and Spirit — had the highest operating profit margins in 2013. Meanwhile less-efficient carriers like Allegiant made profits while using old, polluting and less efficient aircraft. The study findings contradict airline industry arguments that fuel costs automatically push airlines to maximize efficiency. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, transportation, Travel | Tagged: airline greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, greenhouse gases, transportation, Travel | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Clearing the roads in Frisco, Colorado.
A little bit of salt on your french fries is fine; a lot of salt on the road kills trees and fish
FRISCO — Highway engineers and scientists know that that massive use of chemical road de-icers has significant environmental impacts. Salt and the various derivatives used to keep roadways open kills trees and degrades water quality.
Just last year, the EPA found salt building up in groundwater near highways in the eastern U.S. Across the country, the U.S. spends $2.3 billion each year on the removal of highway snow and ice plus another $5 billion to mitigate the hidden costs associated with the process.
The hidden costs include long-term impacts of salt, sand and chemical deicers on the natural environment and road infrastructure as well as short-term impacts on semi-trailer trucks and other vehicles from rust and corrosion. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment, I-70, transportation, water quality | Tagged: Environment, road de-icers, road salt, transportation, water quality | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Installation of fire suppression system in the Eisenhower-Johnson Tunnels could spur discussion on hazmat routing
Hazmat routes are ubiquitous along Colorado’s major highways.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — With $25 million in funding secured for a long-sought fire suppression system in the I-70 Eisenhower-Johnson Tunnels, a debate over hazmat routing through Summit County could heat up again. In a first step, CDOT will start a process to update the 1980s-era rules for the tunnel, potentially opening the door to a petition process that could result in changes to the hazmat route.
Currently, gasoline tankers and nearly all other hazardous materials are routed via U.S. Highway 6 over windy Loveland Pass, where tankers frequently roll over and spill fuel. Most truckers would prefer to haul their flammable, toxic and explosive materials through the tunnel and down I-70 to save time and money, but local emergency responders aren’t sure if the change makes sense from a public safety standpoint.
“This is going to require some very careful evaluation,” said Summit County emergency services director Joel Cochran, acknowledging that there have already been some behind-the-scenes discussions among some stakeholders. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, I-70, Summit County Colorado, transportation | Tagged: CDOT, Colorado, Colorado State Patrol, hazmat, I-70, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, transportation | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 19, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
CDOT planning major highway improvements in 2014.
Peak-period shoulder toll lane to ease eastbound congestion; CDOT hopes to finish the work by 2015
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — As soon as they finish with the current I-70 construction around the Twin Tunnel segment, Colorado Department of Transportation engineers will set their sights on another project aimed at easing eastbound traffic congestion on the busy Colorado east-west interstate.
A nine-mile section of peak-period shoulder lanes from Empire Junction to the Twin Tunnels could loosen up Sunday afternoon traffic jams by providing three lanes from the junction all the way back to Denver, said CDOT mountain corridor manager Jim Bemelen.
The estimated cost for improving the shoulders is about $30 million, and funding for the project has been approved as part of a statewide $560 million slate of upgrades under the Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships (RAMP) program, announced by Gov. John Hickenlooper and CDOT director Don Hunt this week. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, I-70, transportation, Travel | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado Department of Transportation, I-70, transportation | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
The east portal of the Eisenhower and Johnson Memorial tunnels near Loveland Ski Area.
Automated sprinklers could help avert a serious catastrophe
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A $10 million dollar grant will help the Colorado Department of Transportation install a long-sought fire suppression system in the Eisenhower and Johnson Memorial Tunnels along I-70.
Colorado’s congressional delegation was unified last year in seeking support for the grant. All nine members of the state’s elected delegation in Washington signed a Feb. 6 letter asking the Obama administration to dedicate $20 million in the 2013 budget to pay for a fire suppression system. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, I-70, Summit County Colorado, transportation | Tagged: Colorado, Eisenhower Johnson tunnel, I-70, transportation, tunnel fires | Leave a comment »