Transport - April 19
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Efficient Drivers Cut Emissions, but Stir Up Hot Air
Jeffrey Ball, Wall Street Journal
Eco-Motorists Slow Down, Coast, for Big Mileage Gains, but Their Strategies Might Drive Others on the Road Crazy
Cruising around this desert metropolis in her four-door pickup truck, Morgan Dresser doesn't look like an environmental trendsetter.
Recently, though, the 26-year-old did something revolutionary. She began "eco-driving" -- a technique that combines a racecar driver's skill with the proverbial grandmother's pace. By learning to drive all over again, Ms. Dresser estimates she has boosted her truck's fuel economy to 21 miles per gallon from 15, a jump of 40% that surpasses the mileage advertised by its manufacturer, Toyota Motor Corp. With that shift in behavior, she has done more to curb oil consumption than most people zooming around in the latest hybrid cars.
"Who would have thought a truck could get good gas mileage?" she says. "It's possible with any vehicle, big or small."
Even without futuristic technologies, drivers can achieve eye-popping fuel economy in their current cars with nothing fancier than their brains and some lighter feet. The idea is to maintain momentum much as on a leisurely bicycle ride: accelerating only gradually, coasting whenever possible and constantly adjusting speed to minimize the need to stop.
(17 April 2009)
Status symbol of The Great Downtown: Dutch bikes
David Colman, New York Times
THE Great Downturn may have its first real status symbol.
It has plenty in common with recent extravagances. Like the Range Rover or the Sub-Zero fridge, it has a solid frame designed for function. Like a Louis Vuitton trunk, it has a chic design and a patina of history stretching back to the 19th century. And like a bottle of San Pellegrino, it evokes that genteel way of life that Europeans are always going on about.
This new It object is the glossy black Dutch bicycle, its design unchanged since World War II. Increasingly imported to the United States and starting to be seen on the streets of New York (and in the windows of at least one clothing store), it appears to have everything a good craze needs. That includes a hefty price tag — usually between $1,000 and $2,000 — and a charming back story about how the bikes have been an indispensable part of the picturesque Dutch cityscape for decades.
But can New York revert to New Amsterdam? Can the bicycle, the urban answer to the wild mustang, slow down and put fenders on?
(15 April 2009)
Couple Making Downtown Freight Deliveries By Bike
Kristian Foden-Vencil, Oregon Public Broadcasting
... A husband and wife team are biking freight -- yes, that's right, heavy freight -- around downtown Portland, in an effort to replace trucks.
Kristian Foden-Vencil caught up with the couple at a neighborhood grocery store.
Kathryn Racine-Jones: “We have like 450 pounds in here this morning to the Little Green Grocers in the Pearl.”
Franklin Racine-Jones: “We’ve got apples, yams, greens. All sorts of things.”
Bike FreightDressed in spandex and helmets, Franklin and Kathryn Racine-Jones unload organic vegetables out of big insulated boxes on the backs of their tricycles.
It sounds pretty unremarkable really -- until you see the size of those trike boxes. They’re big enough to fit say … two-thirds of an upright piano. And each bike costs about $10,000.
Franklin Racine-Jones: “It has both front and rear brakes. The rear brakes are two disc brakes and the front is an hydraulic brake. We have a great bell here that not only let’s people know we're coming, but it’s fun and produces big smiles.”
Kristian: “And you have a big battery here to help you up the hills.”
(13 April 2009)
$1.7 billion Brisbane airport expansion deferred as tourist numbers fall
MORE than $1.7 billion worth of construction at Brisbane airport has been deferred due to a fall in tourist numbers.
Work on a $700 million domestic terminal expansion and a $1 billion parallel runway were due for completion by 2015 but are likely to be pushed back by several years.
Brisbane Airports Corporation (BAC) spokesman Jim Carden said the airport had experienced years of 17 per cent growth in visitor numbers, but arrivals had fallen to almost zero growth.
"There's been a softening of the market since, probably, two-thirds of the way through last year," Mr Carden said.
... "Whether we're going to do it is not an issue - it's going to happen, but what the last six months or so have shown is, there's been a softening of passenger numbers and as a result the demand, as in the need for new gates, new aerobridges, new runways, et cetera, gets pushed out proportionately.
"It'll be built when it's needed, but at the moment the market is saying it isn't," Mr Carden said.
(13 April 2009)
EB contributor Stuart McCarthy writes:
See The Oil Drum for a critique of the New Parallel Runway feasibility study by Cameron Leckie of ASPO-Australia, including the text of a 2007 letter to the Brisbane Airport corporation board of directors - http://anz.theoildrum.com/node/4391