UN Report on Transportation in 2050

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UN Report on Transportation in 2050: Scenario Impacts: Energy and CO2 Emissions - 2014

The report  A Global High Shift Scenario:
Impacts And Potential For More Public Transport, Walking, And Cycling With Lower Car Use
is based on the prediction that projected emissions (megatons) annually  2010 vs 2050 will be:

bulletU.S. from 670 to ONLY 560

bulletChina 190 to 1,100

bulletIndia   70 to 540

There is no evidence that ANY of these numbers are remotely accurate, when there is a high likelihood that every
vehicle will be electric by 2050 and a significant amount, if not most, of that electricity generated by Renewables.

Page 21 of https://www.itdp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/A-Global-High-Shift-Scenario_WEB1.pdf

The study "has not focused on further actions to boost motor vehicle fuel economy"  and "road modes are dominated by petroleum"

The coming era of unlimited — FREE — clean Renewable Energy

Since all urban areas in the world are included in the analysis, energy use and CO2 emissions impacts can be reported at a global and regional level.
Energy use is a function of the vehicle travel and vehicle efficiency for each mode, calculated taking into account load factors and the number of vehicles and vehicle kilometers needed to move people the specified passenger-kms.

Energy efficiency of different types of vehicles (based on MoMo vehicle efficiency estimates, adjusted for urban in-use conditions) varies greatly, but not that much regionally.
It does improve significantly over time in the Baseline scenario, with identical improvements under the High Shift scenario.

Figure 14: Energy Efficiency by Passenger-Kilometer By Mode by Year and Scenario   --   OECD --   LDV = Cars ( light-duty vehicles)

Figure 15: Energy Use by Scenario, Region, and Mode

Apart from the levels of travel, the critical assumptions behind the energy use and CO2 numbers are the efficiency of the vehicles and the ridership on those vehicles.
For each region and mode, Figure 14 (p. 22) shows efficiency per passenger kilometer and Figure 15 (p. 22) shows total energy use.
Public transit modes are far more efficient than light-duty vehicles (LDV), so shifts to these modes cuts energy and CO2 per passenger-km significantly.
For transit vehicles, efficiency per passenger-km improves more in HS because ridership per vehicle trip is significantly higher than in the baseline, based on assumed improvements in system management, higher quality and more frequent services, and urban densification.
Cars also become more efficient, as mentioned above, due to fuel economy standards and higher average occupancy.

Figure 16: CO2 Equivalent Emissions from Urban Passenger Transport by Year and Scenario and Mode

The resulting CO2 emissions by mode are shown in Figure 16.
The dominance of light- duty vehicles (LDV) in current and baseline future energy use and CO2 emissions is evident, as is the reduction in energy and CO2 emissions in the High Shift scenario. Compared to the baseline, the High Shift scenario by 2050 would cut global urban passenger land transport CO2 emissions by 1.7 GT, or about 40 percent, from 4.4 GT in the Baseline to 2.7 GT in HS.
Specific fuel types are not shown but road modes are dominated by petroleum fuel while rail modes are almost entirely electrified, as are e-bikes.
 Electricity generation is decarbonized over time in line with the IEA 4° scenario. This is helpful but not critical for experiencing substantial reductions in CO2 from the High Shift scenario.

It is important to consider that there is significant further greenhouse gas mitigation potential if further fuel economy improvements are added to the mitigation potential of the High Shift scenario. One can and should consider the double counting effects, which are path dependent. Indeed, the mitigation potential estimated for “avoid-shift” vehicle activity focused strategies vs. technology focused “improve” strategies depends on which approach is assumed to be the initially applied strategy.

While this study has not focused on further actions to boost motor vehicle fuel economy, it takes into account existing policies that, in the IEA Baseline scenario, improve average new car fuel economy by 32% (less energy intensive) in the OECD and 23% in non-OECD countries. The High Shift scenario increases this to 36% and 27% respectively, due to improved in-use driving conditions and a slight shift to smaller vehicles.

However, the Global Fuel Economy Initiative ( www.globalfueleconomy.org ) calls for much more: a 50% reduction in fuel use per kilometer for light-duty vehicles (LDV) worldwide by 2030. Achieving the GEFI 2030 goal could reduce 700 megatons of CO2 annually beyond the 1,700 reduction possible from a High Shift scenario.

Taken together, achieving this fuel economy goal with better public transport, walking, and cycling could cut annual urban passenger transport CO2 emissions in 2050 by 55 percent from what they might otherwise be in 2050 and 10 percent below 2010 levels. Strong fuel economy programs for other types of vehicles (buses, trucks, 2-wheelers) could also help, as could vehicle electrification and other low-carbon fuels. These options will be investigated further in relation to High Shifts in the future.

Figure 17: CO2 Equivalent Emissions for Selected Countries

Figure 17 shows CO2 emissions results for HS for major world countries and regions. This shows that by 2050 there are tremendous CO2 savings in rapidly growing economies such as China and India from the High Shift strategy, while there are significant (and proportionately similar) savings in every country and region. In fact on a percentage basis, the biggest reduction in High Shift relative to both 2010 and to the Baseline in 2050 occurs in the United States. Apart from the modal shift effects, this result reflects the fact that the U.S. has the biggest reduction in overall travel in High Shift, about 30% lower than in 2050 Baseline. This “avoid” element is large and remains one of the questions this study raises that deserves further investigation.

https://www.itdp.org/a-global-high-shift-scenario/                                                 ENERGY SOLUTIONS




CRITIQUE of REPORT by Thomas Rubin

 From page 9, Methodology:”  “This analysis uses a somewhat simplified ‘what-if’ approach … “

 From page 10, “High Shift Scenario:”  “For private motorized modes, the ownership rates projected in the baseline that are related to income growth are over-ridden by assuming lower rates, along with lower travel per vehicle and somewhat higher occupancy rates.  All of these would need to be achieved through policy and pricing initiatives, since autonomous changes in lifestyle, that might affect car ownership, are already included in the baseline.”

Page 13, “Passenger Travel Assumptions and Results:”  “The analysis underlying the High Shift scenario suggests that urban travel needs, in most parts of the world, can, in principle, be met with a combination of travel modes that cut urban light-duty vehicle (LDV) kilometers by half.  The required extent and use of mass transit and non-motorized modes in all areas in 2050 does not exceed the use in certain areas of the world today.”

Page 16, “Urban Buses:  Assumptions and Results:”  “Ridership per bus is based on MoMo ( International Energy Agency’s Mobility Model) country data, and increases from a 2010 range of 6-47 (from the lowest to the highest country average, US and Eastern Europe, respectively) to a range of 20-50 in 2050.  This average accounts for all bus travel, so peak times may have far higher averages, but offset by low volume periods and backhaul trips.  In contrast, in the baseline scenario, load factors generally decline.”

I’m going to get into this in a bit of detail, mainly because it is one of the few things in the entire paper with much in the way of actual numbers that can be analyzed.

While the paper does not explicitly define “ridership per bus,” the context, particularly the last line, and the data points make me believe that what is being discussed is average passenger load, which is calculated as (passenger-miles)/(vehicle revenue miles) – or, the average number of passengers on a bus, annual average for all service.  (The only real alternative metric would be boardings per hour, which is [unlinked passenger trip]/[vehicle revenue hours], but the values of 6-47 and 20-50 are significantly lower than the current averages for many major U.S. urban transit bus systems, let alone individual bus lines.  However, the value of six, evidently average passenger load, for the U.S. transit system as a whole, is far too low – for the 2011 National Transit Database reporting year, the average passenger load for conventional transit bus was 10, and, for bus rapid transit, 12.  The value of six for the U.S. urban bus service is not understood – no matter what this value is supposed to represent.

In order to fully understand the impacts of these values, it must be understood that urban buses, unlike commercial airline flights from Los Angeles to New York City, stop every block, two blocks, or mile to drop off and pick up passengers.  Because of this, the ratio of passengers to seats, or to total capacity, will shift very significantly by point on the route, and by time of day, and between routes.  A very small portion of U.S. transit bus service is operated as long-haul commuter expresses, such as lines from suburbs 20 or 40 miles from the central city operated non-stop from a park-and-ride to, for example the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City – and even this extremely successful service does not approach average passenger loads of 25.

I served as CFO of the old Southern California Rapid Transit in Los Angeles (prior to the forced merger that produced the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority), which, from its 1983 to 1985 fiscal years, saw its fares cut from $.85 to $.50, its service (vehicle revenue miles) expanded only 1.5%, and saw what had previously been the highest average passenger loads in the transit industry reach heights never reported previously to U.S. DOT, and certainly not matched since, of over 23. 

The huge passenger loads produced huge problems, including buses continually breaking down from the high loads, extreme delays in boarding and deboarding, major schedule non-adherence, and frequent pass-bys due to lack of space.  Average bus passenger loads approaching 20 have not occurred on a system-wide basis since the end of the 50¢ fare.

It is simply not possible to get conventional urban bus service average with 40-foot buses with average passenger loads in the ranges discussed above.  Running 60-foot buses on dedicated bus rapid transit lines, such load factors may be possible on selected bus lines, but, for system-wide averages, simply impossible – baring major governmental action to make huge changes to the U.S. lifestyle and, even then, it is highly questionable if such average passenger loads

The cost data, to say the least, is very sketchy (as is all the other data).  As to the headline below – “We could save $100 Trillion if We Ditched Private Car Ownership by 2050” – there is little more detail than a very summary graph, and the following quote, on page 26:  “overall the total costs of the Baseline between 2010-2050 are roughly $500 trillion ($200T in OECD and $300T in non-OECD), whereas the costs in the HS scenario are about $400 trillion ($160T in OECD and $240T in non-EOCD). 

The HS,  High Shift scenario, would trim cumulative costs by approximately $110 trillion or 22 percent. 
The graph is very hard to get anything remotely close to detail out of, but the incredibly huge shift of travel to transit appears to need only miniscule increases in the total costs of transportation for the suggested scenario.

I would say that the range of error in the estimates is likely best measured in orders of magnitude.

I could go on, but I will simply close by stating that this is one of the worst examples of “wishing-will-make-it-so” planning I have ever seen.  There is almost nothing as to how this incredible shift of everything we know about transportation will be accomplished world-wide.  There is almost no details presented for assumptions that are, quite literally, of global importance.

This should be recognized for what it is – a plan based on, a gee-I-have-a-wonderful-idea, with assumptions from outer space and data obtained by the time-honored anal-extraction methodology, and if no one really looks very close, this will all come out just like I say it will, and, even if it doesn’t, it is intention and thinking good thoughts and wanting the world to get better that really mattrers, so let’s all get together and have everyone in the world sing kumbaya and get along with doing this.

I see no way in the world that this could ever occur baring a combination of a world government that somehow manages to combine extreme authoritarian rule and complete idiocy on the part of the ruling class.  It would never be implemented due to the collapse of the world economy long before it gets anywhere remotely close to implemention.

 I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.

 Tom Rubin