Research Recap, November 8: Global Oil Demand, Cost of Crashes, Predicting Walkability

China's oil demand will increase by roughly 60 percent before peaking in 2027. Photo by Mariana.

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

Global Oil Demand

Global demand for oil may peak before 2020 and fall back to 2010 levels by 2035, according to a new study. Completed as a multi-client project with participation from various global energy and technology companies, the study’s main findings are that peak oil demand may occur before 2020 at a level no greater than 4 percent above 2010 levels, and subsequently decrease to a level of 3 percent below 2010 levels by 2035. The study identifies the major contributors of this future scenario to be new technologies, global energy security policies, changes to geographic distributions of demand, and changes to the mix of refined energy products demanded by the market. Points of interest included in the study’s future scenario are China’s oil demand increasing by roughly 60 percent before peaking in 2027, and the world’s vehicle fleet increasing by 80 percent between 2010 and 2035.

The Cost of Crashes

The American Automotive Association (AAA) recently ran a study examining the financial costs of personal vehicle crashes. The study calculated that across the United States the cost of traffic crashes totals almost $300 billion. This is roughly three times AAA’s calculated cost of traffic congestion ($98 billion.) The study examined 2009 data collected from 99 U.S. metropolitan areas and adopted the Federal Highway Administration’s crash cost formula, which incorporates the costs of emergency and medical care, lost earnings and household productivity, property damage, lost quality of life, among other factors. In all the 99 metropolitan areas examined, it was found that the cost of crashes exceed the cost of traffic congestion. In the Baltimore, Md. region, for example, the calculated per capita cost of crashes is $1,627 and the per capita cost of traffic congestion is $810.

Predicting Walkability

A new report by Dr. S. Turner and S. Abley, “Predicting Walkability,” outlines new methodology for measuring the quality of pedestrian environments. The new guidelines were conceived by combining two preexisting methodologies: collecting people’s perceptions on walking environments found in NZTA’s Guide to Undertaking Community Street Reviews, and systematically assessing physical and operational street variables found in Walkability Research Tools – Variables Collection Methodology. The principle methodological products offered in the report are formulas to determine the quality of a walking environment when walking alongside that road and when crossing that road. As indicated in the Executive Summary of the report, the researchers’ motivations for the project were to fill in the measurability gaps for this under-examined transport mode.

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