UC San Diego Saves Millions with Realtime Management

UC San Diego Saves Millions with Realtime Management

UCSDBy John Addison (updated 4/3/09). Like all great universities, the University of California at San Diego, must either spend millions for car parking or spend millions for improved transportation. Using transportation demand management, UC San Diego is spending millions less in both areas.

27,500 students attend the university. “We encourage commuters to use alternate forms of transportation,” said Brian d’Autremont, TPS director. “Approximately 43 percent of UC San Diego commuters use some form of alternative transportation, including, bikes, buses, trains and vanpools.” In addition, last fall UC San Diego reduced the number of single occupancy vehicles on campus by 800 cars.

UC San Diego uses AlterNetRides as a platform, making it easy for staff and students to be matched with the van pool or carpool that best meets their destinations and schedules. Use of HOV lanes and access to preferred parking make shared rides considerably faster. Zipcar on campus makes cars available by the hour, helping students avoid the need for owning a car.

In 2006, UC San Diego doubled the number of people riding buses on campus. A key to this growth was establishing the best routes and schedules. UC San Diego uses realtime tracking and demand management software to do this. The University uses a hosted customized application from Syncromatics, which performs realtime tracking with GPS and cellular communication to determine the location and speed of each bus.

The system develops a database showing the number of passengers at any stop at anytime. By querying the database, routes and schedules can easily be adjusted. UC San Diego’s Director Brian d’Autremont summarized, “Syncromatics’ system has saved us over one million dollars in fiscal year 2006, after being installed for just a little over 6 months. We typically buy 5 buses each summer, this year we were able to increase the effectiveness of our system enough that we didn’t have to buy any. The system paid for itself several times over in bus, fuel and driver costs, while increasing our ridership and improving customer service ratings dramatically.

Another big payoff of UC San Diego’s alternative transportation is a reduction in needed parking spaces. Each spot in a parking structure costs the university $22,000 to $29,000.

More people will ride on transit if they know how to get to their destination and if long waits are not necessary. The Syncromatics realtime tracking system which integrates with Google Maps to show actual bus locations on an LCD in the student lounge, on arrival signage, on mobile devices, and even in text messages. Ridership continues to grow.Realtime Display

Information technology is becoming invaluable in making transportation efficient as well as appealing to more riders. Fleet managers can now implement custom applications and realtime services without investing in hardware, software, and hiring specialized technologists. Hosted applications such as Syncromatics and AlterNetRides are run by the service provider. Middleware such as XML and Java allow these applications to be integrated with databases, billing systems, and other fleet applications.

UC San Diego is supporting energy independence and climate solutions by encouraging clean transportation. The university fleet also is becoming more fuel efficient. Over time, the university’s 50-plus buses will be converted to hybrid CNG, reducing their emissions. UC San Diego Article The University is also purchasing 225 electric vehicles and 32 hybrid vehicles for its fleet.

The importance of climate solutions is integral to the institution. UC San Diego evolved from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography under the leadership of Roger Revelle, who with Charles Keeling first measured the growing atmospheric concentration of CO2. Revelle College is one of six of the university’s colleges. The National Academy of Sciences recognizes UC San Diego as one of the top ten science universities in the nation. Professors include Nobel Laureates Paul Crutzen and Mario Molina whose chemistry research with Sherwood Rowland lead to the discovery of the ozone hole and the Montreal Protocol.

The University of California has made a system-wide commitment to reduce carbon emissions, energy consumption and reliance on imported fossil fuels. The University supports and adheres to the UC Policy on Green Building Design, Clean Energy Standard, and Sustainable Transportation Practices.

Universities and Colleges are leading in many areas of transportation demand management. An encyclopedia of best practices is available at the Victoria Institute.

John Addison will speak at U.C. San Diego on April 14, 2009 at the UC San Diego Ride Clean Expo. John Addison’s new book – Save Gas, Save the Planet – is available at the UC San Diego Bookstore and other booksellers.

Oil Consumption Peaks for World’s #3 Consumer

Oil Consumption Peaks for World’s #3 Consumer

Traffic jam“Only the USA and China consume more oil than California,” observes Jim Boyd, Vice Chairman of the California Energy Commission. With oil prices soaring, California must reduce its dependency on oil to sustain prosperity and achieve energy security.

As 38 million Californians deploy a range of solutions to reducing oil usage, the world will learn valuable lessons. In 2006, California consumption of gasoline peaked, even though population continues on the path of doubling over a 30 year period.

In California, more people are driving fewer miles; importantly, fewer solo miles. More efficient vehicles are being used, often benefiting from hybrid-electric drive systems. As an alternative to oil, there is a growing use of biofuel, natural gas, hydrogen and renewable electricity.

Solutions to the state’s, the nation’s, and world’s transportation needs were presented at the WestStart-CALSTART Clean Heavy Vehicle Conference 2008. Conference Presentations

Many of the solutions were discussed by managers of large fleets. These people can save millions with improvements that passenger vehicle drivers often ignore, such as low-rolling resistance tires. Fleet managers can also install the infrastructure for their fleets; such as fast-charge stations, hydrogen fueling, and specific biofuel blends.

Fleets often pilot new technology years prior to commercialization. Large prototypes are later miniaturized for passenger vehicles. All successful fleets continually improve efficiency. In the transportation lifecycle, 80% of all energy is lost, estimates Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.

John Boesel, President of WestStart-CALSTART, observed that linked trips, public transit, hybrids, and improved mileage vehicles are all factors in peak oil demand in California. Mr. Boesel is in a good position to observe future transportation trends. His organization facilitates bringing together fleet managers, vehicle and fuel producers, researchers, and top government officials.

John Boesel discussed a number of reasons to be optimistic when we talked over lunch. Investment in cleantech and clean transportation is exploding. New lightweight materials are allowing vehicles to travel further with less fuel. There is ongoing innovation in materials. Hybrid-electric drive systems allow heavy mechanical components to be replaced with lighter ones. Engines are being made more efficient. Heavy vehicles that formerly burned fuel during the 40% of the time that they idle, now idle-off. Major corporations and venture capital backed startups are creating next generation biofuels and synthetic fuels.

WestStart-CALSTART encourages public policy makers to set performance standards and not attempt to pick technology winners. Government is also critical in early funding of new fuels and efficient vehicles. “There are many paths to the future,” noted John Boesel.

Biofuels will play a major role in reducing California’s oil dependency. By law, California AB 2076 requires 20% Alternative Fuels Use in 2020 and 30% alternative Fuels Use in 2030. The bulk of alt-fuels are likely to be biofuel. By law, 40% of that biofuel must be produced in California by 2020 and 75% by 2050. This creates a challenge and an opportunity. California is the nations leading agricultural state. Draughts and reduced snow accumulation are creating water scarcity for farmers. Corn ethanol and soy biodiesel generate tremendous greenhouse gases in their lifecycle of production and consumption.

New low-carbon fuels are being developed including next generation biofuels. In pilot production, gasoline and diesel are being made from synthetic fuels. Next Generation Biofuels

To keep California’s $1.5 trillion annual economy from running out of gas, the state is investing $200 million per year in clean transportation for the next 7.5 years. AB118 is the law that makes this possible. It was sponsored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The money is funded with vehicle fees.

CEC will fund $120 million/year for the commercialization of alternative fuels and efficient vehicle technologies. The California Air Resources Board will fund $80 million/year for enhanced fleet modernization and an air quality improvement program.

All these initiatives promise to create millions of jobs for a state that continues to grow. Despite a state budget crisis, no one is trying to remove AB118’s $200 million annual investment in the future.

With intermodal transportation solutions, integrated freight movement, light materials, hybrid-electric drive systems, efficient vehicles, and new fuels, California is leading the way to control its own destiny without being dependent on foreign oil.

John Addison publishes the Clean Fleet Report.

FedEx’s Absolutely, Positively, Cleaner Fleet

FedEx’s Absolutely, Positively, Cleaner Fleet

FedEx fleet


When something must absolutely, positively, arrive the next day, people increasingly turn to FedEx. Shipped is everything from million dollar loan documents to birthday presents. FedEx is also integral to the just-in-time supply chain that allows businesses to grow, even as they shrink inventory. FedEx generates over $35 billion annually.

FedEx uses 48,000 vehicles global to deliver our goods. Fed Ex probably utilizes another 30,000 vehicles at its airport operations. At the heart of FedEx operations is a hub-spoke private fleet of jets. Fed Ex has made Memphis, Tennessee, the busiest freight airport in the world.

I valued talking with FedEx Chief Engineer of Hybrid & Alt-Fuel Fleet, Sam Snyder, after he presented at the WestStart Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicle Conference. He discussed a number of areas of fuel savings. The volume and weight of an average package is now less. People are shipping more iPods; less big stereos. This allows FedEx to expand its deployment of Sprinter Vans, and reduce its need for the larger 16,000 pound (GVWR) vans. Sam Snyder stated that FedEx uses, “The right truck for the right route, saving millions of gallons of fuel.”

With oil topping $100 per barrel, FedEx is evaluating alt-fuel, and electric vehicles while continuing its investment in hybrids. FedEx hybrids have accumulated more than 2,000,000 miles in revenue service.95 diesel hybrids are in service globally, primarily in the U.S; 77 more hybrids will be added in 2008. The hybrids are an excellent investment with a 42% improvement in fuel economy.

FedEx is making a bigger investment in hybrids than its major competitor UPS.

An indicator of the future is the 48 FedEx E700 Eaton hybrids in New York. In Milan, ten Iveco, a Fiat Group company, diesel hybrids will be used in a van similar in size to the Sprinter; a Bosch electric motor and Johnson Controls batteries are used.

In May 2008, 20 Azure gasoline parallel hybrids (Ford E450 chassis and Utilimaster body) will be placed in service in LA and Sacramento. WestStart is managing this program.

Also being hybridized are the traditional FedEx 16,000 pound vans with a cargo capacity of approximately 670 cubic feet. Eaton’s hybrid electric system has been placed in the standard white FedEx Express W700 delivery truck, which utilizes a Freightliner chassis and an Utilimaster body, and designated E700.

FedEx would like to move towards more fuel-efficient 4-cylinder diesel hybrids, but it may not see an EPA certification until 2010 or later. Until then, FedEx may forge ahead with the less fuel-efficient 6-cylinder diesels. EPA continues to certify based on engine emissions, rather than more efficient hybrid duty cycle.

Hybrids are just one way that FedEx is becoming less oil dependent. Currently, FedEx Freight is actively testing hydrogen fuel cell forklifts, hybrid electric Class 7 trucks, and alternative fuels.

FedEx Express and FedEx Freight are members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport Partnership with fuel efficiency strategies such as:

* Instituting policies and technologies to reduce or prevent vehicle idling
* Locating FedEx facilities in order to eliminate idling from overnight trips
* Installation of tractor/trailer/van aerodynamic packages
* Use of advanced, low-friction synthetic oils and lubricants
* Introducing automatic tire inflation devices to increase fuel economy
* Introducing wide-based tires to increase fuel economy through reduced road friction

As one of the world’s largest private air carriers, FedEx is a major user of oil-refined jet fuel and a major emitter of greenhouse gases. To improve its carbon footprint, FedEx Express is replacing the B727 model aircrafts in its fleet with the Boeing 757 model. It has 20% greater payload capacity, but it also uses 36 percent less fuel. FedEx Express also plans to acquire Boeing 777 model aircraft, with a greater payload capacity, and 18% reduction in fuel use.

FedEx also saves annually over 5.5 million gallons of aviation fuel by using in-gate aircraft auxiliary power units, eliminating more than one hour of fuel usage per flight throughout the fleet.

FedEx is also taking a leading role in using renewable energy at its facilities. At the FedEx hub in Oakland, California, 80% of the facility’s electricity and is provided by a 904 kilowatt Sharp solar rooftop system that over its 25-year life cycle this plant will offset 10,800 tons of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of removing 2,100 cars from the road. Another 550kW will be added at its Fontana and Whittier facilities.

FedEx Kinko’s, Inc. purchases renewable energy at more than 520 branches in 26 states, for an estimated 69 million kWh per year. FedEx Kinko’s, Inc. is procuring its power from a wide variety of sources, including wind, geothermal, landfill gas, solar, and small hydro.

This year, Fed Ex was recognized as #6 on FORTUNE’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies and #7 on FORTUNE’s list of America’s Most Admired Companies. For the seventh consecutive year, Fed Ex has been part of this prestigious list. Fed Ex’s leadership in clean transportation helps keep it at the top.