Research Recap,October 22: Energy Security in the U.S., India’s Dire Infrastructure, Washington’s Not-So Suburban Future

 

Petroleum products are unsustainable as a transportation fuel and remain politically volatile energy products. Photo by Reto Fetz.

Welcome to “Research Recap,” our series highlighting recent reports, studies and other findings in sustainable transportation policy and practice, in case you missed it.

Middle Income Families Spending More for Transport & Housing

The Center for Housing Policy and the Center for Neighborhood technology released a report coupling housing and transportation costs to render a true cost of living across 25 metropolitan regions in the United States. Losing Ground compiles true costs of transport and housing, including not only raw fuel costs and rent-mortgage expenditures, but the whole value chain of transport and living costs. By including insurance, repair and energy costs and calculating those as a percentage of income, the report has found unlikely metrics. For instance, though Miami is in real terms cheaper to live in than New York City, calculating the true costs of housing and transport as a percentage of income earned reveals that middle-income Miamians pay 72-percent of their income for housing while middle-income New Yorkers pay only 56-percent.

U.S. Energy Portfolio Needs Diversity for Reliability 

A Deloitte report, Energy Independence and Security: A Reality Check,  chronicles the sources of transportation fuel and the supply chain of those fuel costs. The report finds that although petroleum only constitutes 36-percent of U.S. energy inputs, 93% of petroleum products are used for transportation purposes – a paltry 4-percent by renewable energy ; the majority of the 3-percent of transportation energy inputs provided by CNG are used by mass transit. Of petroleum imports, 28-percent are considered to come from “potentially unsecured” supply lines, giving cause to finding more reliable alternatives to replace this 10-percent bloc of the total U.S. energy portfolio.

Downtown D.C. Still the Economic Core of a Suburban Region into 2040

A report from George Mason University in Virginia has found that private auto use in transport will decline only 1.2-percent in the D.C. metropolitan area over the next 30 years. By 2040, 81-percent of growth in all trips will be driven by private vehicle use, 12.9-percent will be on foot or cycle and 6.1-percent of projected trips will take place on a transit vehicle. The report links new economic growth in the top 10 D.C. metro regions with downtown Washington as the greatest economic bread winner. It does not account for existing gross regional product (GRP) efficiencies in dense environs, GRP in the context of walkability, or housing density across the projected timespan of the study.

Australia In Need of Removing Barriers to Sustainable Transport

Researchers at the University of Melbourne, Australia, have produced a book, Institutional Barriers to Sustainable Transport, which chronicles the titular woes of integrating transport alternatives to private automobiles in North America, Europe and Australia.  The book analyzes multiple tiers of governance across these regions, focusing intently on the Australian cities of Perth and Melbourne as case studies. Access to the full book is available here  with an introduction available for download here

India Has Potential and Needs Work

As part of their Better Policies series, The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has compiled the report “India | Sustaining High and Inclusive Growth”. This report highlights both the prospects and problems of fast economic growth, such as growth in new paved roads and a growing rate of fatal road accidents. The report recommends both reforms in how roads and rails are financed and issuing road safety guidelines as a first step toward protecting both human and material assets.

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