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Overcoming Barriers to Deployment of Plug-in Electric Vehicles (2015)

May 26, 2015 Comments off

Overcoming Barriers to Deployment of Plug-in Electric Vehicles (2015)
Source: Transportation Research Board/National Research Council

In the past few years, interest in plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) has grown. Advances in battery and other technologies, new federal standards for carbon-dioxide emissions and fuel economy, state zero-emission-vehicle requirements, and the current administration’s goal of putting millions of alternative-fuel vehicles on the road have all highlighted PEVs as a transportation alternative. Consumers are also beginning to recognize the advantages of PEVs over conventional vehicles, such as lower operating costs, smoother operation, and better acceleration; the ability to fuel up at home; and zero tailpipe emissions when the vehicle operates solely on its battery. There are, however, barriers to PEV deployment, including the vehicle cost, the short all-electric driving range, the long battery charging time, uncertainties about battery life, the few choices of vehicle models, and the need for a charging infrastructure to support PEVs. What should industry do to improve the performance of PEVs and make them more attractive to consumers?

At the request of Congress, Overcoming Barriers to Deployment of Plug-in Electric Vehicles identifies barriers to the introduction of electric vehicles and recommends ways to mitigate these barriers. This report examines the characteristics and capabilities of electric vehicle technologies, such as cost, performance, range, safety, and durability, and assesses how these factors might create barriers to widespread deployment. Overcoming Barriers to Deployment of Plug-in Electric Vehicles provides an overview of the current status of PEVs and makes recommendations to spur the industry and increase the attractiveness of this promising technology for consumers. Through consideration of consumer behaviors, tax incentives, business models, incentive programs, and infrastructure needs, this book studies the state of the industry and makes recommendations to further its development and acceptance.

American Driving Survey: Methodology and Year One Results, May 2013 – May 2014

May 22, 2015 Comments off

American Driving Survey: Methodology and Year One Results, May 2013 – May 2014
Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety/Urban Institute

On behalf of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the Urban Institute conducts a continuous survey to measure the driving behavior of the American public. The American Driving Survey is a national survey of persons 16 and over who drive of light vehicles (autos, SUVs, trucks) and reside in households with landline telephone service and/or cellular telephones. The survey commenced in May 2013 and is ongoing. The results of the first year’s data collection are presented in this report.

Current Unmanned Aircraft State Law Landscape

May 21, 2015 Comments off

Current Unmanned Aircraft State Law Landscape
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, have a host of applications including law enforcement, land surveillance, wildlife tracking, search and rescue operations, disaster response, border patrol and photography.

State legislatures across the country are debating if and how UAS technology should be regulated, taking into account the benefits of their use, privacy concerns and their potential economic impact. So far, 22 states have enacted laws addressing UAS issues. Common issues addressed in the legislation include defining what a UAS, UAV or drone is, how they can be used by law enforcement or other state agencies, how they can be used by the general public and regulations for their use in hunting game.

Roundup of Recent CRS Reports About Business, Economics and Trade

May 18, 2015 Comments off

CFR Backgrounder: Nicaragua’s Grand Canal

May 12, 2015 Comments off

CFR Backgrounder: Nicaragua’s Grand Canal
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

In December 2014, workers broke ground on the Nicaragua Grand Canal, a planned 175-mile-long canal through Nicaragua. Three times the length of the Panama Canal, engineers say Nicaragua’s canal could eventually serve 5 percent of the world’s cargo traffic. Proponents of the canal argue that it will bring much-needed jobs and commerce to the country. However, critics charge that few details of the deal have been made public and say that the environmental and social costs of constructing the canal could be catastrophic.

Release: Urban sprawl costs US economy more than $1 trillion per year

May 5, 2015 Comments off

Release: Urban sprawl costs US economy more than $1 trillion per year
Source: Global Commission on the Economy and Climate/Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Urban sprawl costs the American economy more than US$1 trillion annually, according to a new study by the New Climate Economy. These costs include greater spending on infrastructure, public service delivery and transportation. The study finds that Americans living in sprawled communities directly bear an astounding $625 billion in extra costs. In addition, all residents and businesses, regardless of where they are located, bear an extra $400 billion in external costs. Correcting this problem provides an opportunity to increase economic productivity, improve public health and protect the environment. The report identifies specific smarter growth policies that can lead to healthier, safer and wealthier communities in both developed and developing countries.

National Transportation Statistics Updated

May 5, 2015 Comments off

National Transportation Statistics Updated
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today updated National Transportation Statistics (NTS) – a web-only reference guide to national-level transportation data. NTS, updated quarterly, includes a wide range of national transportation information. NTS consists of more than 260 tables of national data on the transportation system, safety, the economy and energy and the environment, of which 66 were updated today. The next quarterly update is scheduled for July. NTS can be viewed on the BTS website.

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