Environmental Life-cycle Assessment of Passenger Transportation
An Evaluation of Automobles, Buses, Trains, Aircraft, and High Speed Rail
Project Background      Principal Investigators      Project Scope      Publications & Reports      Media

Project Background:

Mikhail Chester has been developing environmental life-cycle inventories of passenger transportation modes. These analyses are the first comprehensive environmental life-cycle assessments of automobiles, buses, trains, and aircraft. The studies inventory energy consumption and emissions (greenhouse gases and conventional air pollutants) for vehicle, infrastructure, and energy productions components, from material extraction and processing through use and maintenance (well-to-wheel).

Principal Investigators:

Dr. Chester is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University with a joint appointment between the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, and the School of Sustainability.

The foundation of this research was developed with Dr. Arpad Horvath (Professor, University of California, Berkeley).

Our metropolitan assessment and parking study was aided by Dr. Samer Madanat (Professor, University of California, Berkeley). The Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle external cost assessment was led by Dr. Jeremy Michalek (Associate Professor, Carnegie Mellon University). The metropolitan costs of congestion study was led by Yeganeh Mashayekh (doctoral student, Carnegie Mellon University) and Dr. Chris Hendrickson (Professor, Carnegie Mellon University).

In addition to this research, Chester evaluates the energy and environmental impacts of large systems. This includes sustainable communities, waste mangement and waste to energy infrastructure, and chemical use. His research often culminates with the assessment of policy and total costs of decisions. A comprehensive listing of his research projects is found at www.mikhailchester.com.

To contact the researchers, please send an email to mchester@asu.edu.

Project Scope:

A life-cycle inventory has been created for each of the following modes and includes vehicle, infrastructure, and fuel components (see table below):

 Automobiles: Gasoline Sedans, Diesel Sedans, Sport Utilitiy Vehicles, Gasoline Pickups, Diesel Pickups, 4-Cylinder Motorcycles, 2-Cylinder Motorcycles, Sport Motorcycles, Hybrid Electric Vehicles, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles.

 Buses: Urban Diesel, Electric, School, and Compressed Natural Gas.

 Metro Rail: California's San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Chicago Transit Authority's Metro, New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority's Metro, and New York/New Jersy PATH Metro.

 Heavy Rail: California's San Francisco Bay Area Caltrain and Intercity Amtrak, Chicago's Commuter Rail, and New York City's Commuter Rail.

 Light Rail: California's San Francisco Muni Metro, Massachusett's Boston Green Line, Newark New Jersey's LRT, and Los Angeles Metro's Gold Line LRT.

 High Speed Rail: California's proposed High-speed Rail including future scenario forecasts.

 Aircraft: Small, Midsize, and Large (international) Aircraft, in several geographic contexts. Future aircraft travel and vehicles (including fuel efficiency gains and lightweighting) are also inventoried.

The table below identifies the components inventoried in the life-cycle assessment:

Grouping Onroad Modes Rail Modes Air Modes
  • Manufacturing
  • Operation - Running
  • Operation - Cold Start
  • Operation - Brake Wear
  • Operation - Tire Wear
  • Operation - Evaporative Losses
  • Maintenance
  • Tire Replacement
  • Insurance
  • Manufacturing
  • Operation - Propulsion
  • Operation - Idling
  • Operation - Auxiliaries
  • Maintenance
  • Cleaning
  • Flooring Replacement
  • Crew Health & Benefits Insurances
  • Train Liability Insurance
  • Aircraft Manufacturing
  • Engine Manufacturing
  • Operation - Startup
  • Operation - Taxi Out
  • Operation - Take Off
  • Operation - Climb Out
  • Operation - Cruise
  • Operation - Approach & Landing
  • Operation - Taxi In
  • Operation - Auxiliary Power Unit
  • Aircraft Maintenance
  • Engine Maintenance
  • Crew Health & Benefits Insurances
  • Aircraft Liability Insurance
  • Roadway Construction
  • Roadway Lighting
  • Herbicide Production & Spraying
  • Roadway Salting
  • Roadway Maintenance
  • Roadside, Surface Lot, and Garage Parking Construction & Maintenance
  • Station Construction
  • Track Construction
  • Station Parking Lot Construction
  • Station Lighting
  • Station Escalators
  • Train Control
  • Station Parking Lot Lighting
  • Miscellaneous Station Energy Consumption
  • Station Maintenance
  • Station Cleaning
  • Non-Crew Health & Benefits Insurances
  • Infrastructure Liability Insurance
  • Airport Construction
  • Runway, Taxiway, & Tarmac Construction
  • Airport Parking Lot Construction
  • Runway Lighting
  • Deicing Fluid Production
  • Ground Support Equipment Operation
  • Airport Maintenance
  • Runway, Taxiway, & Tarmac Maintenance
  • Airport Parking Lot Maintenance
  • Non-Crew Health & Benefits Insurances
  • Infrastructure Liability Insurance
  • Gasoline & Diesel Fuel Refining & Distribution
  • Train electricity generation
  • Train diesel fuel refining and distribution (Caltrain)
  • Train electricity transmission and distribution losses
  • Infrastructure electricity production
  • Infrastructure electricity transmission and distribution losses
  • Jet fuel refining and distribution
Table background image source: California High-speed Rail Authority, 2008 Business Plan, §2 Building a High-speed Train Network.

Publications, Reports, and Media:

May 2013 | Growth of the Los Angeles Roadway Network | Andrew Fraser and Mikhail Chester

Los Angeles is often presented as the epitome of post-automobile sprawling urban growth. There tends to be a somewhat unclear understanding of why the city has grown the way it has. We explore the deployment of infrastructure as an enabler of growth, for better or worse. Presented below is an animation of the deployment of the Los Angeles Roadway network, from 1990 to present. This is part of a research project that is exploring the cost, energy, and greenhouse gas impacts of transportation systems and how embedded infrastructure enable unsustainable emergent behaviors. Over the next few months, we will update this video as we finalize our cost, energy, and greenhouse gas results.

Policy Brief: Transit-oriented Development Infill in Phoenix Can Reduce Future Transportation and Land Use Life-cycle Environmental Impacts  

Mindy Kimball, Mikhail Chester, Christopher Gino, and Janet Reyna
Arizona State University's eRepository

Study Background: Researchers at ASU have determined that significant energy and environmental benefits are possible in the Phoenix metro area over the next 60 years from transit-oriented development along the current Valley Metro light rail line. The team evaluated infill densification outcomes when vacant lots and some dedicated surface parking lots are repurposed for residential development. Life cycle building (construction, use, and energy production) and transportation (manufacturing, operation, and energy production) changes were included and energy use and greenhouse gas emissions were evaluated in addition to the potential for respiratory impacts and smog formation. All light rail infill scenarios are compared against new single family home construction in outlying areas.

Overview of Results: In the most conservative scenario, the Phoenix area can place 2,200 homes near light rail and achieve 9-15% reductions in energy use and emissions. By allowing multi-family apartments to fill vacant lots, 12,000 new dwelling units can be infilled achieving a 28-42% reduction. When surface lots are developed in addition to vacant lots then multi-family apartment buildings around light rail can deliver 30-46% energy and environmental reductions. These reductions occur even after new trains are put into operation to meet the increased demand.

Publication in review at the Journal of Planning, Education, and Research.

Environmental Life-cycle Assessment of Los Angeles Metro’s Orange Bus Rapid Transit and Gold Light Rail Transit Lines March 2013

Mikhail Chester, Stephanie Pincetl, Zoe Elizabeth, William Eisenstein, and Juan Matute
Environmental Research Letters, 8(1), 015041, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/015041.

Public transportation systems are often part of strategies to reduce urban environmental impacts from passenger transportation yet comprehensive energy and environmental life-cycle measures, including upfront infrastructure effects and indirect and supply chain processes, are rarely considered. Using the new bus rapid transit and light rail lines in Los Angeles, near-term and long-term life-cycle impact assessments are developed, including reduced automobile travel. Energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants are assessed, as well the potential for smog and respiratory impacts. Results show that life-cycle infrastructure, vehicle, and energy production components significantly increase the footprint of each mode (by 48-100% for energy and greenhouse gases, and up to 6200% for environmental impacts), and emerging technologies and renewable electricity standards will significantly reduce impacts. Life-cycle results are identified as either local (in Los Angeles) or remote and show how the decision to build and operate a transit system in a city produces environmental impacts far outside of geopolitical boundaries. Ensuring shifts of between 20-30% of transit riders from automobiles will result in passenger transportation greenhouse gas reductions for the city, and the larger the shift the quicker the payback, which should be considered for time-specific environmental goals.

Figures and Data:
Figure Data
Figure 1: Life-cycle per Passenger Mile Traveled Results for Average Occupancy Vehicles
Figure 2: Environmental Impact Schedules and Resulting Paybacks
Figure 3: Transit Energy and Environmental Payback Speed with Automobile Shifts
Figure 4: Life-cycle Door-to-door Greenhouse Gas Comparison

Media Coverage and Related Documents:
Environmental Research Web: Public-transit systems improve urban environment
Policy Brief
LA Metro's Blog The Source
ERL Perspective by Matt Eckelman: Life Cycle Assessment in Support of Sustainable Transportation

Getting the Most Out of Electric Vehicle Subsidies in Issues in Science and Technology Summer 2012

Jeremy Michalek, Mikhail Chester and Constantine Samaras
Issues in Science and Technology
The electrification of passenger vehicles has the potential to address three of the most critical challenges of our time: Plug-in vehicles may produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions when powered by electricity instead of gasoline, depending on the electricity source; reduce and displace tailpipe emissions, which affect people and the environment; and reduce gasoline consumption, helping to diminish dependence on imported oil and diversify transportation energy sources. When all costs are added up, we find thousands of dollars of damages per vehicle (gasoline or electric) that are paid by the overall population rather than only by those releasing the emissions and consuming the oil. These costs are substantial. But, importantly, the potential of plug-in vehicles to reduce these costs is modest: much lower than the $7,500 tax credit and small compared to ownership costs. This is because the damages caused over the life cycle of a vehicle are caused not only by gasoline consumption, which is reduced with plug-in vehicles, but also by emissions from battery and electricity production, which are increased with plug-in vehicles.
High-speed Rail with Emerging Automobiles and Aircraft Can Reduce Environmental Impacts in California's Future in Environmental Research Letters July 2012

Mikhail Chester and Arpad Horvath
Environmental Research Letters
Sustainable mobility policy for long-distance transportation services should consider emerging automobiles and aircraft as well as infrastructure and supply chain life-cycle effects in the assessment of new high-speed rail systems. Using the California corridor, future automobiles, high-speed rail and aircraft long-distance travel are evaluated, considering emerging fuel-efficient vehicles, new train designs and the possibility that the region will meet renewable electricity goals. An attributional per passenger-kilometer-traveled life-cycle inventory is first developed including vehicle, infrastructure and energy production components. A consequential life-cycle impact assessment is then established to evaluate existing infrastructure expansion against the construction of a new high-speed rail system. The results show that when using the life-cycle assessment framework, greenhouse gas footprints increase significantly and human health and environmental damage potentials may be dominated by indirect and supply chain components. The environmental payback is most sensitive to the number of automobile trip takers shifted to high-speed rail and for greenhouse gases is likely to occur in 20–30 years. A high-speed rail system that is deployed with state-of-the-art trains, electricity that has met renewable goals, and in a configuration that endorses high ridership will provide significant environmental benefits over existing modes. Opportunities exist for reducing the long-distance transportation footprint by incentivizing large automobile trip shifts, meeting clean electricity goals and reducing material production effects.

Media Coverage:
 Environmental Research Web
 Arizona State University Press Release and Engineering News
 University of California, Berkeley Press Release and Transportation News
Articles:  KPBS  -  Phys Org  -  KQED  -  R&D

Parking Infrastructure and the Environment in Access Magazine Fall 2011 Issue

Mikhail Chester, Arpad Horvath, and Samer Madanat
Access Magazine
Little is known about how parking infrastructure affects energy demand, the environment and the cost of vehicle travel. Passenger and freight movements are often the focus of energy and environmental assessments, but vehicles spend most of their lives parked. Abundant free parking encourages vehicle travel and is thus a major incentive to auto travel and urban congestion. Abundant free parking also discourages public transit, walking, and biking. The technique of transportation life-cycle assessment (LCA) allows us to understand the full costs of travel including the energy use and environmental effects of parking infrastructure. Past LCAs, however have focused on evaluating the resources used for travel and have ignored resources use for parking. This focus is understandable given the diversity of parking spaces and the lack of available data on parking infrastructure. For example, consider the great differences in energy use and emissions associated with a curb parking spaces, multi-story garages, and private home garages. Furthermore, because causality between parking supply and automobile travel flows occurs in both directions, determining the energy use and environmental effects of a specific automobile trip (say a strip mall) is not possible. We develop a range of estimates of the U.S. parking space inventory, determine construction and maintenance energy use and environmental effects, and evaluate these results in the life-cycle of automobile travel. We find that the for many vehicle trips the environmental effects of the parking infrastructure sometimes equal or exceed the environmental effects of the vehicles themselves.
(Note: this article focuses on the policy implications of our Environmental Research Letter's publication Parking Infrastructure: Energy, Emissions, and Automobile Life-cycle Environmental Accounting)
Are Plug-in Vehicles Worth the Cost? in PNAS October 2011

Jeremy Michalek, Mikhail Chester, Paulina Jaramillo, Constantine Samaras, Ching-Shin Norman Shiau, and Lester Lave
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
We assess the economic value of life cycle air emissions and oil consumption from conventional, hybrid-electric (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV), and battery electric vehicles in the U.S. We find that plug-in vehicles may reduce or increase externality costs relative to grid-independent HEVs, depending largely on greenhouse gas and SO2 emissions produced during vehicle charging and battery manufacturing. However, even if future marginal damages from emissions of battery and electricity production drop dramatically, the damage reduction potential of plug-in vehicles remains small compared to ownership cost. As such, to offer a socially efficient approach to emissions and oil consumption reduction, lifetime cost of plug-in vehicles must be competitive with HEVs. Current subsidies intended to encourage sales of plug-in vehicles with large capacity battery packs exceed our externality estimates considerably, and taxes that optimally correct for externality damages would not close the gap in ownership cost. In contrast, HEVs and PHEVs with small battery packs reduce externality damages at low (or no) additional cost over their lifetime. While large battery packs allow vehicles to travel longer distances using electricity instead of gasoline, large packs are more expensive, heavier, and more emissions-intensive to produce, with lower utilization factors, greater charging infrastructure requirements, and life cycle implications that are more sensitive to uncertain, time-sensitive, and location-specific factors. To reduce air emission and oil dependency impacts from passenger vehicles, strategies to promote adoption of HEVs and PHEVs with small battery packs offer more social benefits per dollar spent.

Media Coverage:
 Carnegie Mellon University Press Release   (Reprinted by the Sacramento Bee)
 Arizona State University Press Release
 Bloomberg: U.S. Battery, Plug-in Car Push Costs Exceed Rewards, New Study Says
 Vancouver Sun: Fully electric vehicles fall short compared to hybrids, research suggests
 Automotive News: U.S. green car subsidies aren't cost effective, study says

Costs of Automobile Air Emissions in U.S. Metropolitan Areas in TRR December 2011

Yeganeh Mashayekh, Paulina Jaramillo, Mikhail Chester, Chris Hendrickson, and Chris Weber
Transportation Research Record (TRR)
Automobile air emissions are a well recognized problem and have been subject to considerable regulation. An increasing concern for greenhouse gas emissions draws additional considerations to the externalities of personal vehicle travel. In this paper, we estimate automobile air emission costs for eighty-six U.S. metropolitan areas based on county-specific external air emission morbidity, mortality, and environmental costs. Total air emission costs in the urban areas are estimated to be $145 million/day, with Los Angeles and New York (each $23 million/day) having the highest totals. These external costs average $0.64/day/person and $0.03/vehicle mile traveled. Total air emission cost solely due to traffic congestion for the same eight-six U.S. metropolitan areas was also estimated to be $24 million/day. We compare our estimates with others found in the literature and find them to be generally consistent. These external automobile air emission costs are important for social benefit and cost assessment of transportation measures to reduce vehicle use. However, this study does not include any abatement costs associated with automobile emission controls or government investments to reduce emissions such as traffic signal setting.
Life-Cycle Environmental Assessment of California High Speed Rail in Access Magazine December 2010

Mikhail Chester and Arpad Horvath
Access Magazine

California is planning to spend $40 billion to build a high speed rail system from San Diego to Sacramento. Advocates argue that high speed rail will save money and improve the environment, while critics claim it will waste money and harm the environment. What accounts for these diametrically opposed views about a technology that has been operating in other countries for decades? And what can transportation analysts offer to inform the debate?

Disagreements about the cost and environmental impacts of high speed rail can arise when analysts examine only the most direct effects of the rail system, and compare those to only the direct effects of road and air travel—-the two transportation modes from which high speed rail will likely draw passengers. But transportation energy use and emissions result not only from the direct effects of operating the vehicles but also from indirect effects, such as building the infrastructure, producing the fuels, manufacturing the vehicles, maintaining the system, and disposing of materials at the end of their lives. The full range of emissions from automobile travel, for example, includes not only tailpipe emissions but also the emissions created by building roads and parking garages, manufacturing cars, extracting and refining petroleum, and, finally, wrecking yards and tire dumps. One approach to environmental and cost-benefit analysis that takes both these direct and indirect effects into account is life-cycle assessment. In this article we use life-cycle assessment to compare the energy use and pollution emissions of high speed rail and its competing modes.
(Note: this article focuses on the policy implications of our Environmental Research Letter's publication Life-cycle Assessment of High-Speed Rail: the Case of California)

Parking Infrastructure: Energy, Emissions, and Automobile Life-cycle Environmental Accounting at Environmental Research Letters July 2010

Mikhail Chester, Arpad Horvath, and Samer Madanat
Environmental Research Letters
The US parking infrastructure is vast and little is known about its scale and environmental impacts. The few parking space inventories that exist are typically regionalized and no known environmental assessment has been performed to determine the energy and emissions from providing this infrastructure. A better understanding of the scale of US parking is necessary to properly value the total costs of automobile travel. Energy and emissions from constructing and maintaining the parking infrastructure should be considered when assessing the total human health and environmental impacts of vehicle travel. We develop five parking space inventory scenarios and from these estimate the range of infrastructure provided in the US to be between 105 million and 2 billion spaces. Using these estimates, a life-cycle environmental inventory is performed to capture the energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases, CO, SO2, NOX, VOC (volatile organic compounds), and PM10 (PM: particulate matter) from raw material extraction, transport, asphalt and concrete production, and placement (including direct, indirect, and supply chain processes) of space construction and maintenance. The environmental assessment is then evaluated within the life-cycle performance of sedans, SUVs (sports utility vehicles), and pickups. Depending on the scenario and vehicle type, the inclusion of parking within the overall life-cycle inventory increases energy consumption from 3.1 to 4.8 MJ by 0.1–0.3 MJ and greenhouse gas emissions from 230 to 380 g CO2e by 6–23 g CO2e per passenger kilometer traveled. Life-cycle automobile SO2 and PM10 emissions show some of the largest increases, by as much as 24% and 89% from the baseline inventory. The environmental consequences of providing the parking spaces are discussed as well as the uncertainty in allocating paved area between parking and roadways.
Life-cycle Assessment of High-Speed Rail: the Case of California at Environmental Research Letters March 2010

Mikhail Chester and Arpad Horvath
Environmental Research Letters
The state of California is expected to have significant population growth in the next half-century resulting in additional passenger transportation demand. Planning for a high-speed rail system connecting San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento as well as many population centers between is now underway. The considerable investment in California high-speed rail has been debated for some time and now includes the energy and environmental tradeoffs. The per-trip energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and other emissions are often compared against the alternatives (automobiles, heavy rail, and aircraft), but typically only considering vehicle operation. An environmental life-cycle assessment of the four modes was created to compare both direct effects of vehicle operation and indirect effects from vehicle, infrastructure, and fuel components. Energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and SO2, CO, NOX, VOC, and PM10 emissions were evaluated. The energy and emission intensities of each mode were normalized per passenger kilometer traveled by using high and low occupancies to illustrate the range in modal environmental performance at potential ridership levels. While high-speed rail has the potential to be the lowest energy consumer and greenhouse gas emitter, appropriate planning and continued investment would be needed to ensure sustained high occupancy. The time to environmental payback is discussed highlighting the ridership conditions where high-speed rail will or will not produce fewer environmental burdens than existing modes. Furthermore, environmental tradeoffs may occur. High-speed rail may lower energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions per trip but can create more SO2 emissions (given the current electricity mix) leading to environmental acidification and human health issues. The significance of life-cycle inventorying is discussed as well as the potential of increasing occupancy on mass transit modes.
(Note: the high-speed rail results of this study supplant those presented in "Life-cycle Environmental Inventory of Passenger Transportation Modes in the United States" as well as vwp-2008-2 and vwp-2007-7.)
Comparison of Life-cycle Energy and Emissions Footprints of Passenger Transportation in Metropolitan Regions at Atmospheric Environment March 2010

Mikhail Chester, Arpad Horvath, and Samer Madanat
Atmospheric Environment
A comparative life-cycle energy and emissions (greenhouse gas, CO, NOX, SO2, PM10, and VOCs) inventory is created for three U.S. metropolitan regions (San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City). The inventory captures both vehicle operation (direct fuel or electricity consumption) and non-operation components (e.g., vehicle manufacturing, roadway maintenance, infrastructure operation, and material production among others). While urban transportation inventories have been continually improved, little information exists identifying the particular characteristics of metropolitan passenger transportation and why one region may differ from the next. Using travel surveys and recently developed transportation life-cycle inventories, metropolitan inventories are constructed and compared. Automobiles dominate total regional performance accounting for 86–96% of energy consumption and emissions. Comparing system-wide averages, New York City shows the lowest end-use energy and greenhouse gas footprint compared to San Francisco and Chicago and is influenced by the larger share of transit ridership. While automobile fuel combustion is a large component of emissions, diesel rail, electric rail, and ferry service can also have strong contributions. Additionally, the inclusion of life-cycle processes necessary for any transportation mode results in significant increases (as large as 20 times that of vehicle operation) for the region. In particular, emissions of CO2 from cement production used in concrete throughout infrastructure, SO2 from electricity generation in non-operational components (vehicle manufacturing, electricity for infrastructure materials, and fuel refining), PM10 in fugitive dust releases in roadway construction, and VOCs from asphalt result in significant additional inventory. Private and public transportation are disaggregated as well as off-peak and peak travel times. Furthermore, emissions are joined with healthcare and greenhouse gas monetized externalities to evaluate the societal costs of passenger transportation in each region. Results are validated against existing studies. The dominating contribution of automobile end-use energy consumption and emissions is discussed and strategies for improving regional performance given private travel's disproportionate share are identified.
Environmental Assessment of Passenger Transportation Should Include Infrastructure and Supply Chains at Environmental Research Letters June 2009

Mikhail Chester and Arpad Horvath
Environmental Research Letters
To appropriately mitigate environmental impacts from transportation, it is necessary for decision makers to consider the life-cycle energy use and emissions. Most current decision-making relies on analysis at the tailpipe, ignoring vehicle production, infrastructure provision, and fuel production required for support. We present results of a comprehensive life-cycle energy, greenhouse gas emissions, and selected criteria air pollutant emissions inventory for automobiles, buses, trains, and airplanes in the US, including vehicles, infrastructure, fuel production, and supply chains. We find that total life-cycle energy inputs and greenhouse gas emissions contribute an additional 63% for onroad, 155% for rail, and 31% for air systems over vehicle tailpipe operation. Inventorying criteria air pollutants shows that vehicle non-operational components often dominate total emissions. Life-cycle criteria air pollutant emissions are between 1.1 and 800 times larger than vehicle operation. Ranges in passenger occupancy can easily change the relative performance of modes. (Note: the results of this study supplant those presented in "Life-cycle Environmental Inventory of Passenger Transportation Modes in the United States" as well as vwp-2008-2 and vwp-2007-7.)
University of California, Berkeley, Volvo Working Paper May 2009

Supplemental data are presented for motorcycles, diesel automobiles, school buses, electric buses, Chicago rail, and New York City rail.
University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Transportation Studies Disseratation August 2008

Final methodology and results published as Mikhail Chester's doctoral dissertation.
(Note: the high-speed rail results in this study are supplanted by those presented in "Life-cycle Assessment of High-speed Rail: the Case of California." The results of this study supplant those presented in vwp-2008-2 and vwp-2007-7.)


January 2011

The results of our high-speed rail study including updated findings will be presented in a high-speed rail environmental panel in Washington, DC in January 23, 2011.
San Francisco Business Times: Looking for a parking space? Ask Heisenberg September 2010

The San Francisco Business Times writes a discussion of our U.S. parking space inventory estimate from our parking study.
ITS Researchers Tally the Environmental Cost of Parking September 2010

"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot (as the song goes), but until now nobody has assessed the environmental costs of providing parking spaces, surface parking lots, parking garage structures, and roadside parking areas in the U.S."
Environmentalresearchweb Press Release August 2010

Environmentalresearchweb, the online environmental magazine for the Institute of Physics, publishes a press release for our parking study.
Berkeley Transportation Letter June 2010

In the inaugural issue of the Berkeley Transportation Letter, the results of our California High-speed rail environmental assessment are discussed.

New York Times August 2009

The NY Times Green Inc blog discusses our results in the context of recent debate around high speed rail.

UC Berkeley Releases Pollution Study June 2009

The German magazine Der Spiegel presents findings from our study focusing on rail infrastructure considerations..

UC Berkeley Releases Pollution Study June 2009

ABC KGO 7 does a 3 minute report discussing the contributions of our study.

BBC News: Fuel emissions focus too narrow June 2009

BBC News discusses our results in conjunction with our ERL publication.

More than just the tailpipe June 2009

The IOP released a press release ahead of our ERL publication.

Progressive Radio Network's show Paradise Parking Lot June 2009

Steve Barnett interviews Mikhail Chester regarding the ERL publication.

June 2009
CBC Radio Interview
Mikhail Chester is interviewed on the Canadian Broadcasting Centre Radio and discusses the results from the ERL publication.

June 2009

Environmentalresearch web discusses our results in conjunction with our ERL publication.

June 2009
BBC World Service Radio
Mikhail Chester is interviewed on the BBC's World Service Radio and discusses the results from the ERL publication.

June 2009

Christian Science Monitor discusses our results in conjunction with our ERL publication.

June 2009

Green Car Congress discusses our results in conjunction with our ERL publication.

Popular Science: How Green is Your Travel? May 2009

Popular Science magazine discusses the study in the piece "How Green is Your Travel?" within the article "Planes, Trains, and Supersonic Spaceships."

Slate Magazine: Trains vs. Planes vs. Automobiles November 25, 2008

Slate magazine discusses the study's final results and what that means for the average commuter.

University of California, Berkeley, Transportation Program Publication October 17, 2008

UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation's NewsBITS semesterly publication features study's final results.

University of California, Berkeley, Transportation Program Seminar Presentation August 29, 2008

Presented to the University's Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering's Transportation Group's Friday Seminar series.

Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine July, 2008

Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine features study's preliminary results.