Europe will undertake a further step to deepen the scientific underpinnings of CO2 emission estimation. AMITRAN a new project that started November 1st and running until April 2014 will develop a methodology to assess the impact of information and communication technologies (ICT) on CO2 emissions stemming from the transport sector. The overarching goal is to ensure accuracy and comparability between the assessment of ITS measures in terms of carbon implications.
Gerdien Klunder AMITRAN’s coordinator and a researcher working for TNO explains why the project was set up: “The ITS field is developing very rapidly. There are numerous technologies and applications under development and quite a few already on the market. Despite this fact there is no consistent methodology that allows scientists to estimate potential CO2 reductions arising from the deployment of such technologies. However that information would be critically important for decision makers – in the context for example of climate change agreements.”
The calculation of CO2 emissions arising from the transport sector is a complex task. The mobility system has numerous components (driver vehicle infrastructure traffic centre operator etc.) and stages (energy production vehicle operation maintenance etc.) each with an associated carbon footprint. Fuel consumption during vehicle operation for example contributes to around 60% of the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of a passenger car. Even electricity production for e-cars emits CO2 which in coal dependent countries such as Poland and Estonia can be quite significant. Pursuing a well-to-wheel approach is therefore the only way of accurately assessing the carbon footprint of different transport modes.
The AMITRAN project aims to “connect the dots” by developing a reference methodology to correctly estimate well-to-wheel emission reductions achieved by intelligent transport systems (ITS). Although there are several models already available these tools usually concentrate on specific components of the mobility system and are not able to provide the holistic picture required by AMITRAN. For example VISSIM is a microscopic multimodal traffic flow simulation model that can be used in conjunction with an emissions model to estimate CO2 emissions based on the characteristics of individual road users and vehicles. Although assembling the two models can yield very precise and fine grained emission estimations these tools are not suitable to model changes in human behaviour brought about by the deployment of intelligent transport systems. Other models would need to be added in order to achieve a comprehensive framework capable of addressing the whole chain of impacts. AMITRAN will develop interfaces between appropriate models allowing them to “communicate” with each other.
An encompassing multimodal framework
One of the innovations in AMITRAN is its encompassing scope. The CO2 assessment methodology for ITS will address both passenger transport and freight through a multimodal approach that includes road rail and ship transport (specifically short sea and inland navigation; long-haul maritime transport is excluded).
ICT may impact transport CO2 emissions through multiple pathways (see figure below).
Starting from the pre-trip phase ICT might influence destination choice route choice or even trip generation altogether. Mode choice is also subject to change as public transport for example usually becomes more appealing once passengers are aware of expected schedules fares and routes. During the on trip phase a driver with a navigation device might be prompted to adjust his or her route or might receive advice on how to adopt a more environmentally friendly driving style. Likewise a public transport user who loses a transport connection will be informed about the next departure or even be suggested to change to another line or mode if such strategy is time saving. Several ITS applications particularly those that link the infrastructure with vehicles and users also influence CO2 emissions. Green waves at intersections for example typically result in 5 to 10% emission reductions particularly if compact platoons are formed. For the freight sector factors such as vehicle choice load factor and more importantly the whole fleet management have a substantial effect on fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Lastly in the post-trip phase the user receives feedback about his or her performance andrecommendations on how to tackle driving inefficiencies.
Project work plan
AMITRAN’s work plan follows the system engineering V-model path. The project starts with the definition of user needs and use cases based on the active participation by relevant stakeholders. Then ITS applications will be grouped into categories according to the strength of their effect on CO2 emissions and according to the parameters through which their influence is exerted. Based on these results the next stage involves the definition of system boundaries system architecture and model requirements. Further developments include the methodological framework to assess CO2 emissions the interfaces between existing models and the identification of eventual gaps to be worked out. In addition a methodology to scale up local results to the European level is proposed. Validation tasks are carried out by comparing AMITRAN results with those from selected research projects dealing with ITS. Finally an impact assessment will be performed using the methodology developed to demonstrate the effects of ITS on CO2 emissions energy efficiency driver behaviour and traffic flow.
ERTICO – ITS Europe is responsible for the dissemination and exploitation of results. Jean-Charles Pandazis head of ERTICO’s EcoMobility sector explains that active participation of external partners will be sought: “Coordination and cooperation with the relevant players will be fundamental for the success of this project. We will invite organisations from sectors not currently represented in the consortium to have a seat at the Advisory Council and we’ll keep open communication channels with other ongoing projects in the field of ITS.”
The final deliverable of AMITRAN will be a checklist and a handbook to be used as a methodological reference by future projects when assessing ITS benefits. Guidelines on how to conduct cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses of ITS measures will also be published. These documents will be freely available online along with supporting materials.
Involving the stakeholders
ERTICO – ITS Europe is responsible for the dissemination and exploitation of results. Jean-Charles Pandazis head of ERTICO’s EcoMobility sector explains that active participation of external partners will be sought: “Coordination and cooperation with the relevant players will be fundamental for the success of this project. We invite all interested organisations to join our Forum so they can keep in tune with project news and participate in the workshops. I believe this cooperation strategy is mutually beneficial. We’ll also keep open communication channels with other ongoing projects in the field of ITS particularly in the field of greenhouse gas emissions.”
AMITRAN will run for 30 months until April 2014 and is co-funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission (DG INFSO). The total project budget amounts to € 26 million. Seven organisations will cooperate as part of AMITRAN’s consortium: TNO (coordinator the Netherlands) PTV – Planung Transport Verkehr (Germany) ERTICO – ITS Europe (Belgium) TECNALIA (Spain) DLR – Germany National Research Centre for Aeronautics and Space (Germany) ECORYS (the Netherlands) and TEAMNET (Romania).
Link to original Article
Original Publication Date: Fri 25 Nov 2011