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NREL Study Predicts Fuel and Emissions Impact of Automated Mobility District

Jan. 21, 2016

With emerging technologies, travel behavior may shift from personal vehicles to automated transit systems. An NREL study shows that a campus-sized -- ranging from four to 10 square miles -- automated mobility district (AMD) has the potential to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 4% to 14% depending on various operating and ridership factors.

"These fuel and emissions benefits hinge on several key factors, including the relative efficiency of the vehicles, the occupancy of vehicles within the district, and the ratio of supplanted vehicle miles traveled," said Yuche Chen of NREL's Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center.

While the study predicted that an AMD would lead to additional passenger travel within the system, it also concluded that this additional travel could be more than offset by opportunities for higher vehicle efficiency and occupancy, resulting in a net decrease in system fuel consumption and emissions.

To estimate the number of personal vehicle miles traveled that an AMD could displace, NREL leveraged the results of a previous case study focused on implementing an automated public transit system at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

To learn more, refer to the report: Estimate of Fuel Consumption and GHG Emission Impact from an Automated Mobility District.

—Julia Thomas