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April 24, 2018

Is taking a seaplane from Seattle to Vancouver greener than driving?

This week Seattle’s Kenmore Air announced that they will be partnering with Vancouver’s Harbour Air to start a scheduled seaplane service directly between downtown Seattle and downtown Vancouver, BC. I was asked whether taking a seaplane for this trip would be more environmentally friendly than driving. As much as I love floatplanes, the answer is…

March 19, 2018

Are Uber’s autonomous vehicles safe?

This morning I learned of the tragic death of a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona last night, who was struck by an automated vehicle (AV) being tested by Uber. The obvious question this raises is whether AVs in general and Uber’s AVs in particular are more or less safe than conventional vehicles. The problem is that…

March 5, 2018

What would steel and aluminum tariffs mean for automobile costs, materials choice, and fuel economy?

Last week President Trump announced an intention to impose tariffs of 10% on imported aluminum and 25% on imported steel. Although this would drive up costs for automobile manufacturing in general, it could actually have the effect of reducing the cost premium of building more fuel efficient vehicles. The average domestic light-duty vehicle (LDV) was…

February 26, 2018

Does the Tesla Semi defy the laws of physics?

tl;dr – I find the numbers for Tesla’s Semi to be at least plausible, but I welcome comments on my assumptions. Tesla Motors’ Semi tractor-trailer concept has been met with both excitement and incredulity. Squarely in the latter camp is Daimler’s head of trucks, Martin Daum, who according to Bloomberg recently said that “If Tesla…

February 20, 2018

Call for Abstracts: Automated Vehicles Symposium 2018

Organizers of the 2018 Automated Vehicles Symposium (July 9-12 in San Francisco) are welcoming structured abstracts on topics related to the energy and emissions impacts of connected & automated vehicles (CAVs). Accepted speakers will be invited to present their work in a breakout session sponsored by the Transportation Research Board’s Standing Committee on Transportation Energy…

December 15, 2017

Are Private Free Float Systems the Death of Publicly Available Bike Share Data?

In my last blog post, I wrote about the new bike share systems that have taken over the city of Seattle. However, when writing this post, I left out one major detail, the data for the bike share companies is not publicly available like that of their predecessor. This issue has been brought back to…

November 16, 2017

What is a PhD student and how does the proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act apply

I chose to pursue a Ph.D. in Transportation Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle for a few reasons: I want to teach. I found a passion for it as a tutor and teaching assistant during my undergrad and I want to learn how to educate the next generation(s) of engineers. I want to…

TNCs and transit: frenemies? Again

Yanbo Ge A report that came out recently by researchers from the University of California Davis looks closely into the relationship between Transportation Network Companies (TNCs, also called ride-hailing services) and transit. The article sheds light on several interesting questions related to vehicle ownership and trip replacement of TNC users. By collecting data in several…

November 15, 2017

Minimum time for an electric Cannonball Run

  The advent of the automobile brought an unprecedented level of freedom for Americans: the promise of going anywhere at anytime. To push this ideal to the limits, people have taken this freedom even farther, driving across the country as fast as possible. This exercise is eloquently named the Cannonball Run after Edwin “Cannonball” Baker…

November 13, 2017

Seattle’s Newest Outdoor Activities: Bike Share and Bike Share Trolling

In March Seattle city council voted to remove its bike share program (Pronto) and redirect any proposed funding for future bike shares. At that point I wrote a blog post talking about how Seattle would be the perfect location for a private free float bike share company. I had little expectation that this would happen…

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