Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Automobile


Ride-sharing services are transforming urban mobility by providing timely and convenient transportation to anybody, anywhere, and anytime. These services present enormous potential for positive societal impacts with respect to pollution, energy consumption, congestion, etc. Current mathematical models, however, do not fully address the potential of ride-sharing. Recently, a large-scale study highlighted some of the benefits of car pooling but was limited to static routes with two riders per vehicle (optimally) or three (with heuristics). We present a more general mathematical model for real-time high-capacity ride-sharing that (i) scales to large numbers of passengers and trips and (ii) dynamically generates optimal routes with respect to online demand and vehicle locations. The algorithm starts from a greedy assignment and improves it through a constrained optimization, quickly returning solutions of good quality and converging to the optimal assignment over time. We quantify experimentally the tradeoff between fleet size, capacity, waiting time, travel delay, and operational costs for low- to medium-capacity vehicles, such as taxis and van shuttles. The algorithm is validated with ∼3 million rides extracted from the New York City taxicab public dataset. Our experimental study considers ride-sharing with rider capacity of up to 10 simultaneous passengers per vehicle. The algorithm applies to fleets of autonomous vehicles and also incorporates rebalancing of idling vehicles to areas of high demand. This framework is general and can be used for many real-time multivehicle, multitask assignment problems.

Concepts: Mathematics, Engineering, Operations research, Transport, Optimization, Mathematical model, Automobile, Carpool


Carbonaceous particulate matter (PM), comprising black carbon (BC), primary organic aerosol (POA) and secondary organic aerosol (SOA, from atmospheric aging of precursors), is a highly toxic vehicle exhaust component. Therefore, understanding vehicle pollution requires knowledge of both primary emissions, and how these emissions age in the atmosphere. We provide a systematic examination of carbonaceous PM emissions and parameterisation of SOA formation from modern diesel and gasoline cars at different temperatures (22, -7 °C) during controlled laboratory experiments. Carbonaceous PM emission and SOA formation is markedly higher from gasoline than diesel particle filter (DPF) and catalyst-equipped diesel cars, more so at -7 °C, contrasting with nitrogen oxides (NOX). Higher SOA formation from gasoline cars and primary emission reductions for diesels implies gasoline cars will increasingly dominate vehicular total carbonaceous PM, though older non-DPF-equipped diesels will continue to dominate the primary fraction for some time. Supported by state-of-the-art source apportionment of ambient fossil fuel derived PM, our results show that whether gasoline or diesel cars are more polluting depends on the pollutant in question, i.e. that diesel cars are not necessarily worse polluters than gasoline cars.

Concepts: Gasoline, Catalytic converter, Carbon, Pollution, Air pollution, Automobile, Soot, Internal combustion engine


The use of automated, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to deliver commercial packages is poised to become a new industry, significantly shifting energy use in the freight sector. Here we find the current practical range of multi-copters to be about 4 km with current battery technology, requiring a new network of urban warehouses or waystations as support. We show that, although drones consume less energy per package-km than delivery trucks, the additional warehouse energy required and the longer distances traveled by drones per package greatly increase the life-cycle impacts. Still, in most cases examined, the impacts of package delivery by small drone are lower than ground-based delivery. Results suggest that, if carefully deployed, drone-based delivery could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use in the freight sector. To realize the environmental benefits of drone delivery, regulators and firms should focus on minimizing extra warehousing and limiting the size of drones.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Transport, Natural gas, Greenhouse gas, Automobile, Pallet, Unmanned aerial vehicle, Warehouse


Increasing walking and cycling, and reducing motorised transport, are health and environmental priorities. This paper examines levels and trends in the use of different commute modes in England and Wales, both overall and with respect to small-area deprivation. It also investigates whether commute modal share can serve as a proxy for travel behaviour more generally.

Concepts: United Kingdom, England, Wales, Scotland, English people, Welsh people, Automobile, England and Wales


Transportation by motorcycle and bicycle has become popular in Taiwan, this study was designed to investigate the protective effect of helmet use during motorcycle and bicycle accidents by using a propensity score-matched study based on trauma registry system data.

Concepts: Windows Registry, Automobile


Active commuting - walking and bicycling for travel to and/or from work or educational addresses - may facilitate daily, routine physical activity. Several studies have investigated the relationship between active commuting and commuting stress; however, there are no studies examining the relationship between solely bicycle commuting and perceived stress, or studies that account for environmental determinants of bicycle commuting and stress. The current study evaluated the relationship between bicycle commuting, among working or studying adults in a dense urban setting, and perceived stress.

Concepts: Cycling, Automobile, Sustainable transport, Bicycle, Bicycle helmet, Utility cycling, Commuting, Human-powered transport


To examine associations of time spent sitting in cars with markers of cardio-metabolic risk in Australian adults.

Concepts: Automobile, Happy Feet


The design of suburban communities encourages car dependency and discourages walking, characteristics that have been implicated in the rise of obesity. Walkability measures have been developed to capture these features of urban built environments. Our objective was to examine the individual and combined associations of residential density and the presence of walkable destinations, two of the most commonly used and potentially modifiable components of walkability measures, with transportation, overweight, obesity, and diabetes. We examined associations between a previously published walkability measure and transportation behaviors and health outcomes in Toronto, Canada, a city of 2.6 million people in 2011. Data sources included the Canada census, a transportation survey, a national health survey and a validated administrative diabetes database. We depicted interactions between residential density and the availability of walkable destinations graphically and examined them statistically using general linear modeling. Individuals living in more walkable areas were more than twice as likely to walk, bicycle or use public transit and were significantly less likely to drive or own a vehicle compared with those living in less walkable areas. Individuals in less walkable areas were up to one-third more likely to be obese or to have diabetes. Residential density and the availability of walkable destinations were each significantly associated with transportation and health outcomes. The combination of high levels of both measures was associated with the highest levels of walking or bicycling (p<0.0001) and public transit use (p<0.0026) and the lowest levels of automobile trips (p<0.0001), and diabetes prevalence (p<0.0001). We conclude that both residential density and the availability of walkable destinations are good measures of urban walkability and can be recommended for use by policy-makers, planners and public health officials. In our setting, the combination of both factors provided additional explanatory power.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, Childhood obesity, Walking, Automobile, Pedestrian, Sustainable transport, Urban design


Many global challenges, including obesity, health care costs, and climate change, could be addressed in part by increasing the use of bicycles for transportation. Concern about the safety of bicycling on roadways is frequently cited as a deterrent to increasing bicycle use in the USA. The use of effective signage along roadways might help alleviate these concerns by increasing knowledge about the rights and duties of bicyclists and motorists, ideally reducing crashes. We administered a web-based survey, using Twitter for recruitment, to examine how well three US traffic control devices communicated the message that bicyclists are permitted in the center of the travel lane and do not have to “get out of the way” to allow motorists to pass without changing lanes: “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” and “Share the Road” signage, and Shared Lane Markings on the pavement. Each was compared to an unsigned roadway. We also asked respondents whether it was safe for a bicyclist to occupy the center of the travel lane. “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signage was the most consistently comprehended device for communicating the message that bicyclists may occupy the travel lane and also increased perceptions of safety. “Share the Road” signage did not increase comprehension or perceptions of safety. Shared Lane Markings fell somewhere between. “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signage showed notable increases in comprehension among novice bicyclists and private motor vehicle commuters, critical target audiences for efforts to promote bicycling in the USA. Although limited in scope, our survey results are indicative and suggest that Departments of Transportation consider replacing “Share the Road” with “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signage, possibly combined with Shared Lane Markings, if the intent is to increase awareness of roadway rights and responsibilities. Further evaluation through virtual reality simulations and on-road experiments is merited.

Concepts: Cycling, Communication, Road, Traffic, Automobile, Lane, Bicycle, Central reservation


Objectives. We compared cycling injury risks of 14 route types and other route infrastructure features. Methods. We recruited 690 city residents injured while cycling in Toronto or Vancouver, Canada. A case-crossover design compared route infrastructure at each injury site to that of a randomly selected control site from the same trip. Results. Of 14 route types, cycle tracks had the lowest risk (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.11; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.02, 0.54), about one ninth the risk of the reference: major streets with parked cars and no bike infrastructure. Risks on major streets were lower without parked cars (adjusted OR = 0.63; 95% CI = 0.41, 0.96) and with bike lanes (adjusted OR = 0.54; 95% CI = 0.29, 1.01). Local streets also had lower risks (adjusted OR = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.31, 0.84). Other infrastructure characteristics were associated with increased risks: streetcar or train tracks (adjusted OR = 3.0; 95% CI = 1.8, 5.1), downhill grades (adjusted OR = 2.3; 95% CI = 1.7, 3.1), and construction (adjusted OR = 1.9; 95% CI = 1.3, 2.9). Conclusions. The lower risks on quiet streets and with bike-specific infrastructure along busy streets support the route-design approach used in many northern European countries. Transportation infrastructure with lower bicycling injury risks merits public health support to reduce injuries and promote cycling.

Concepts: Injury, Cycling, Physical trauma, Automobile, Sustainable transport, Northern Europe, Bicycle, Segregated cycle facilities