January 11, 2013

Poster Session

Joel Bremson, Postdoctoral Scholar, ITS-Davis
Kevin Fang, Graduate Student, Transportation Technology and Policy
Jia Li, Graduate Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Natalie Popovich, Graduate Student, Transportation Technology and Policy
Julia Sohnen, Graduate Student, Transportation Technology and Policy


TRB Preview


1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


1:40 – 2:00 Eric Cahill

Low Mass Microcars for Megacities in Emerging Markets

For rapidly growing vehicle markets, small, low mass passenger vehicles with potentially safer and cleaner footprints than traditional autos show promise. However, new regulatory norms are needed that account for the differing demands and operating environments in which they operate. We explore the potential for low mass vehicles to meet the demands of consumers and transportation systems in many emerging markets. In dense megacities, opportunity initially exists for commercial last-mile transportation, and more broadly for private automobile consumers. We propose a regulatory template for these “Urban Microcars” that considers potential energy, emissions, and safety impacts, and borrows features from the Low Speed Vehicle (LSV) category in the U.S. and the L5e Motor Tricycle and L7e heavy Quadricycle norms in the European Union.

2:00 – 2:20 Alvaro Rodriguez

Characterization of the Taxicab System in Bogota

Taxicabs are one of the least studied urban transportation modes, especially in developing countries. In Bogotá, in 1998, innovative policies intended to transform a car-centered transportation system into a people-oriented one were implemented. The high number of taxis circulating in Bogotá, and the absence of any type of comprehensive report, led us to investigate more on this mode, specifically its role in urban transportation. This article presents the results of a survey of 389 drivers. We conclude that this mode of transport is important and deserve to be studied more in depth. This system provides 59,000 direct jobs, collects 2,5 times more in fares than the Bus Rapid Transit
– TransMilenio, emits 3,000 daily tons of CO2, has major impact in congestion, and is among the cheapest taxicab system in the world. Finally we discuss the convenience of having cheap taxi service and its implications in sustainability.

2:20 – 2:40 Zhi Dong

The Estimation of Changes in Rail Ridership through an Onboard Survey: Did Free Wi-Fi Make a Difference to Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor Service?

Amtrak launched free Wi-Fi service (“AmtrakConnect”) on the California Capitol Corridor (CC) on November 28, 2011. To study the impact of free Wi-Fi on ridership, an onboard survey was conducted in March, 2012. Since higher-frequency riders are overrepresented with such an approach, the sample was weighted to more accurately reflect the distribution of passengers rather than person-trips. Through the descriptive analysis, several conventional factors (trip frequency in 2011, trip purpose, station-to-station distance and employment) as well as Wi-Fi are found to have some impact on the self-reported projected trip frequency in 2012. A linear regression model based on the specification of three market segments was built to better understand the impact of selected variables on the expected number of CC trips in 2012. Using the estimated parameters from the model, the number of trips the sample expects to make in 2012 is 2.7% higher than would have been the case without free Wi-Fi. Furthermore, the effect clearly differs among the three segments: new riders expect to make 8.6% more trips than if Wi-Fi were not available, and the comparable numbers are 6.2% for lower-frequency continuing riders (those using CC less than once a week in 2011) and 1.0% for higher-frequency continuing riders (using CC once a week or more in 2011). The overall estimated impact is substantially different (higher) in the weighted sample than in the unweighted sample, pointing to the importance of properly weighting onboard survey responses if they are to represent people rather than trips.


Biographical Sketch

Eric Cahill is founder and managing director of Adaptiv Consulting, an independent consultancy focused on innovation and business strategy in emerging markets for sustainable personal mobility. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. In Transportation Technology & Policy at the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis and is a member of the NextSTEPS research team. His research aims to equip business and policy leaders with insights for speeding adoption of low-carbon solutions for personal mobility. In particular, Eric is examining how policy might aid new business models, fueled by the convergence of advances in wireless connectivity, smart grid, and vehicle electrification technologies, to overcome barriers to more widespread adoption of low-carbon transportation solutions.

Eric holds graduate degrees in Engineering & Management from the Sloan School of Management, and in Technology & Policy from the Engineering Systems Division at MIT. He has served in various capacities managing complex technology programs for the U.S. Navy, Boeing, Quantum Fuel Systems, and most recently as executive director of the $10 million Automotive X PRIZE competition. Eric was also a core member and contributing writer for the study group that authored the Electricity chapter of the recently released National Petroleum Council report, Advancing Technology for America’s Transportation Future.


Alvaro Rodriguez-Valencia
Civil Engineer with a master’s degree in Infrastructure Planning from the University of Stuttgart in Germany. Currently, doctoral student in the Transportation Technology Policy program (TTP) at the University of California, Davis and holder of the Fulbright scholarship. Alvaro has more than 5 years of experience working on transportation projects and he is author of two books related with transportation planning in Bogotá. Regular columnist in newspapers in Colombia. After working several years in transport systems analysis and traffic engineering, now his research interests are mostly focused to the sustainable streets.


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