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NYSDOT, NYSERDA Promote Research to Reduce Transportation-Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Thirteen organizations receive total of $1.5 million to explore energy-efficient technology research and development

April 12, 2011

Thirteen organizations and municipalities are advancing their research on energy-saving technologies designed to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions in New York State, thanks to investments from the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

The NYSDOT has funded $1 million and NYSERDA $500,000 for these transportation-related initiatives, which leveraged an additional $1.6 million in recipient cost-sharing. The goal of the program is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in all facets of transportation in the state.

Organizations and municipalities receiving funding are working on projects that:

  • Create conferences to discuss car-sharing, alternative fuels and other issues.
  • Decrease the amount of energy used in roadway lighting while maintaining safety and visibility.
  • Reduce the number of trucks forced to idle during highway inspections.
  • Keep locomotive engine systems warm without idling.
  • Provide electric power and heat or air conditioning to truckers sleeping in their vehicles, thus avoiding unnecessary idling.

“NYSERDA is proud to join forces with the Department of Transportation to help make New York’s highways and railroads cleaner,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., NYSERDA’s President and CEO. “The technologies these companies are working to perfect can help the state reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and our impact on the environment.”

“These research projects are being used to explore and test technologies that could help expand the New York State Department of Transportation’s traffic management and clean air programs,” Acting NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald said. “We look forward to continuing to work with NYSERDA and other innovators to enhance traveler mobility, increase highway safety, encourage economic growth and protect air quality and the environment across New York State.”

This is the fifth joint research-and-development solicitation between NYSERDA and NYSDOT. The program this year focuses on transportation energy efficiency, transportation demand management and low carbon transportation fuels.

The transportation sector was responsible for 76 percent of petroleum consumption and 39 percent of GHG production in New York State in 2008, leading both categories that year and increasing since. That can be improved by lowering fuel use and emissions, which is the focus of these new contracts.

Project details follow:

New York City/Long Island

  • Nakanishi Research and ConsultingLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. of Rego Park, with KLD Associates of Hauppauge and VidSys of Vienna, Va., seeks to create intelligent transportation systems (ITS) that reduce emissions by integrating traffic signals, variable message signs, speed cameras, parking guidance, car navigation and other devices. This would make for more efficient travel and cut down on traffic idling time. Funding: $15,000.
  • TransCore ITS LLCLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. of Harrisburg, Pa., working with New York City, seeks to deploy and evaluate hardware and adaptive traffic signal software at seven White Plains intersections. It would create more efficient traffic flow throughout the city, improving local air quality in the process. Funding: $250,000.
  • Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and ManagementLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., located at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, plans a one-day conference for up to 400 people to discuss emission-reduction technologies, including electric cars, alternative fuels and dual-fuel vehicles. Funding: $15,000.
  • Regional Plan AssociationLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. of New York City is studying the use of mileage-based user fees in New York State in place of conventional gasoline taxes. The rationale is that, since car mileage is improving with the adoption of advanced, hybrid and electric vehicles, the federal government could see a drop in proceeds from the gasoline tax under the current system. Funding: $75,000.
  • University Transportation Research CenterLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. at the CUNY Institute for Transportation Systems at the City College of New York, seeks to expand the Roosevelt Island pneumatic waste collection system to accept garbage from street-level receptacles and receptacles in the subway. Funding: $75,000.

Capital Region

  • Capital District Transportation AuthorityLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. of Albany and Zone 5 seek to develop a “Transportation Demand Management Website” to host information on carpooling, buses and other transportation alternatives. The 2000 census showed that more than 80 percent of people in Albany drove single-occupancy vehicles in their daily commute, representing a high proportion of inefficient trips. Funding: $15,000.
  • City of AlbanyLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. with VHB Engineering of Albany seek to add electric vehicles to the city’s vehicle fleet. They will conduct a policy and siting study, along with evaluations of 15 charging stations currently slated for installation. Funding: $75,000.
  • Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. in Troy seeks to save energy and make roads safer by helping traffic engineers reduce nighttime lighting while maintaining safety and visibility. In New York State, an estimated 1.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity is used annually for roadway lighting. Funding: $15,000.
  • Intelligent Imaging Systems Inc.Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is installing advanced electronic screening (escreening) tools in the Albany area to reduce the number of trucks forced to idle during highway inspections and improve air quality in the Capital Region. The new equipment and software will complement an existing NYSDOT test facility, which is rated as the most advanced escreening site in North America. Using license plate-recognition technology, transponders and a safety-record database, the program would recognize trucks that are at risk of having inspection issues. Funding: $250,000.

Central New York

  • Shorepower TechnologiesLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. of Utica, with Cascade Sierra Solutions of Eugene, Ore., seeks to test off-board systems to reduce truck idling time. Shorepower will install 72 stations at three NYS truck stops that would provide truckers access to heat, a/c and electrical plugs instead of having to use the truck engine for these purposes. This could save an estimated 210,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year. A total of 24 million gallons of fuel could be saved annually if such a system were to go statewide. Funding: $250,000.
  • Ithaca CarshareLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. seeks to conduct a 1½-day regional conference on multimodal alternatives to traditional automobile usage, highlighting the successful and growing Ithaca Carshare program. Funding: $15,000.

Western New York

  • Larsen EngineersLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. of Rochester is testing anti-idling devices for police cars and municipal trucks. The devices use a 12-volt battery pack that would run the heat, air-conditioning, computers, radio and other automobile accessories. The device can run for more than four hours, saving fuel and engine wear. Police cars idle for as much as eight hours a day when in use, and this concept could save six gallons of fuel per vehicle per day -- or the equivalent of 280 miles of driving. Funding: $17,000.
  • Power Drives Inc.Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. of Buffalo, with New West Technologies of Utica, is working on a diesel warming system to keep locomotive engine systems warm without idling. The system drives a heater and coolant circulation pump and charges the locomotive’s batteries. A plug-in version is also available. Power Drives Inc. will conduct a demonstration on several short line railroads operating in New York State for cold field-tests from November to March. A typical locomotive uses three to six gallons of diesel fuel per hour during idling to keep the engines warm in cold months, creating an estimated 130 tons of CO2 per locomotive. Funding: $250,000.

Each of the projects were selected competitively through NYSERDA's Program Opportunity Notice process and are funded with federal and state DOT funding and NYSERDA Transportation R&D Funds. More information is available via Energy Efficient Transportation Systems (PON 1554). [PDF]

About NYSERDA

NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.

About the NYS DOT

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) was formed in 1967 to direct the state's complex multimodal transportation system. NYSDOT is responsible for the coordination, funding and development of New York’s comprehensive transportation policy; managing the State’s more than 113,000-mile state and local highway system; inspecting more than 17,400 bridges; supporting an extensive 4,600-mile rail network; as well as providing oversight for the state’s public and private aviation facilities, ports, waterways, and mass transit system. Consistent with its mission, “to ensure our customers - those who live, work and travel in New York State -- have a safe, efficient, balanced, and environmentally sound transportation system,” NYSDOT serves billions of annual users based on its values of excellence, integrity, partnership, respect and customer service that instill trust and confidence in New York’s infrastructure. For more information, please visit the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT)Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page..

Last Updated: 01/21/2014