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Exploring links between sustainable transportation and livable communities

(Phys.org)—Two research teams funded by the University of Michigan’s Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute will spend the next 15 months investigating how different transportation policies, technologies and consumer travel choices can impact the sustainability and livability of communities. Ads by Google SIEMENS – Even parked cars can move us forward. Learn how at Siemens USA. – usa.siemens.com/electromobility The first project, “Consumer uptake of seamless, multi-model mobility (the new mobility grid): Policy decisions and information & communication technology affecting behavior of users and decision makers” is led by Richard Gonzalez and David Chock of the U-M Institute for Social Research. With initial research being conducted in Portland, Ore., Santa Monica, Calif., and Los Angeles, this team is exploring how travel behavior choices among transportation users can impact greenhouse gas emissions, particularly under different policy strategies. “We really are leaving no stone unturned in terms of examining how different end-user behaviors, travel options, transportation policy changes and technology innovations can advance the sustainability and livability of communities,” Gonzalez said. The second project, “An integrated assessment of the potential for innovative, disruptive applications of technology in personal vehicles to advance livability and sustainability,” is led by Steve Underwood of the Connected Vehicle Proving Center and University of Michigan-Dearborn. This research team is examining how a new generation of technology-rich electric vehicles, in combination with transportation policy changes, can significantly affect the “three Es” of sustainability: environment, economics and equity. “There are several conspicuous problems associated with today’s reliance on automobiles, including air pollution, oil dependence, motor-vehicle fatalities and injuries, roadway congestion and more,” Underwood said. “We envision a personal urban mobility system that is free from these problems.” The Graham Institute provided each research team with $150,000 last month. The projects are to be completed by the end of 2013.

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