Transportation Assessment Toolkit
From Open Energy Information
- 2.1. Assess current country plans, policies, practices, and capacities
- 2.2. Compile lessons learned and good practices from ongoing and previous sustainable development efforts in the country
- 2.3. Assess public and private sector capacity to support initiatives
- 2.4. Assess and improve the national GHG inventory and other economic and resource data as needed for LEDS development
- Greenhouse Gas Inventory Development Toolkit
- 3a. Analytical Decision Making - Developing BAU Scenario
- 3b. Analytical Decision Making - Assessing Opportunities
- 3b.1. Assess technical potential for sector technologies
- Renewable Energy Technical Potential Toolkit
- Building Energy Assessment Toolkit
- Power System Screening and Design Toolkit
- Land Use Assessment Toolkit
- Bioenergy Assessment Toolkit
- Transportation Assessment Toolkit
- 3b.2. Assess economic and market potential of technologies and initiatives
- Clean Energy Market Analysis Toolkit
- 3b.3. Prioritize development options
- 3c. Analytical Decision Making - Developing and Assessing Low Emissions Development Scenarios
- 3c.1. Develop low emissions growth scenarios
- 3c.2. Assess institutional framework for LEDS
- Financing Initiatives Toolkit
- Policy and Program Design Toolkit
- 3c.3. Assess in-depth contributions of selected scenarios to goals across sectors
- Land-use Scenario Analysis Toolkit
- Energy System and Scenario Analysis Toolkit
- 3c.4. Perform multi-criteria impact analysis and assess stakeholder responses
- Clean Energy Impact Assessment Tool
- Sustainable Land-use Impact Assessment Toolkit
A Rationale and Vision for Clean, Efficient Transport
Transportation is the lifeblood of a country, moving individuals and goods to support a vibrant economy. Developing a transportation system that supports economic growth benefiting both rich and poor and limits GHG emissions requires that it be closely intertwined with a country’s broader low carbon growth policies. Further, a low-carbon transportation system is likely to be less dependent on oil and therefore should benefit national balance of payments and help insulate domestic markets from volatile swings in oil prices that can wreak economic havoc on developing countries’ aspirations.
Many developing countries will face significantly increasing demand for transport services in the near future and coming decades—moving freight within the country and internationally, and moving people over roads and by air and water. Countries have the opportunity to meet this demand while leapfrogging over a pathway that relies on building roads to one that focuses on avoiding the need for travel, shifting to more environmentally (as well as socially and economically) sustainable travel, and improving transportation technologies and fuels. The opportunity is significant, since in much of the developing world private car ownership—although steadily increasing—has not yet become the dominant mode of transport. Low carbon transportation systems not only support economic growth and development contributing to reducing poverty, but also reduce pressure on oil prices, which contribute to higher food prices. Clean transport reduces the impact on climate change, mitigating the impact on food security (chronic and transitory), health (heat related illness and disease) and more broadly across many aspects of economic development.
The purpose of this toolkit is to help national, regional, and local governments plan the development of economically and environmentally sustainable transport systems that underpin development. A myriad of resources exist on transportation systems, and the toolkit helps in identifying the data and information needed to evaluate the best options. The toolkit starts with a brief discussion on why transport planning is important and then proceeds through five steps: gathering data and information on the existing transport system, setting goals and objectives, evaluating and selecting options, creating a plan for implementing the selected options, and implementing the plan. These steps largely mirror those outlined in the overall LEDS Framework. The toolkit includes links to transport-related data, questionnaires and other tools for decision-making, case studies, research papers and other information.
Transportation is fundamental to economic development and growth
Transportation enables economic growth by impacting the ability to conduct trade, deliver goods and services, and access employment, education, and health services. Transport connects people to markets both domestically and internationally, and clean transport promotes healthier and more secure livelihoods. Connecting cities to the rest of the country is particularly important—per capita output of cities is significantly higher than in non-urban areas, and effective transport systems contribute to this economic vitality. From a climate perspective cities are important because they represent two-thirds of the world’s energy use, 70 percent of global carbon emission, and half the world’s population. Initial investments in transport infrastructure typically boost economic growth, but the relationship between transport and economic development is complex, so needs to be evaluated within the specific relevant context.
Well-designed transport systems enable economic development and growth by:
- Enabling mobility, which in turn enables production, employment (direct and indirect), and income
- Establishing networks between economic entities
- Increasing productivity by facilitating a broader array of inputs to production (raw materials, parts, labor, energy) and outputs (good and services)
- Saving time and costs for moving passengers and freight
- Expanding market size through improved economies of scale in production, distribution and consumption
- Improving security of energy supply by reducing energy demand
- Reducing traffic congestion
- Decreasing health effect by improved air quality and reduced traffic accidents
Rural transport is a key element of economic development and poverty alleviation by virtue of it providing access to jobs, health, education, social services, and markets. In urban areas the potential of transport to contribute to economic growth is constrained by rapidly increasing congestion, which reduces opportunities, increases the cost of economic activity, lowers standards of living, and is particularly challenging in areas where population growth exceeds economic growth. Public health benefits from reducing GHG emissions from the transport and other sectors were explored in this article in the medical journal The Lancet.
Developing and improving transport systems is a complex and challenging process involving many stakeholders. Transport planning often involves tradeoffs (beyond budgetary ones) between competing interests and benefits. For example, allocating street space for non-motorized transport tends to benefit the less affluent, who typically rely on walking, bicycles, and on-street public transit (such as cycle rickshaws) versus motorized transport (such as private cars). For additional discussion of the link between transportation and economic development see the Transportation Research Board’s Committee on Transportation and Economic Development.
Transportation impacts the quality of life
Transport services that provide access to jobs and services save time and strengthen and improve the livability of communities. Well-designed transport systems are affordable to all sectors of society and so broaden employment opportunities, reduce commuting times, provide access to health services and education, and are safer. In contrast, ill-functioning transport systems are characterized by traffic congestion that limits or reduces not only the economic health of a community but also leads to air pollution (ozone, black carbon), noise pollution, road accidents, higher stress levels, and water pollution, as well as contributing to higher costs of goods. Also, these impacts typically affect those at lower income levels disproportionately.
Transportation is a major contributor to climate change
Transportation currently represents about 13% of global GHG emissions and 23% of global CO2 from fuels combustion, but the impact will dramatically increase in the coming decades. Transport-related GHG emissions are projected to increase by 57% (2005-2030) and by over 80% by 2050. Much of this growth is anticipated to come from the developing world. Road transport (passengers and freight) is responsible for most (75%) of the transport GHG emissions, with smaller amounts from aviation and maritime sources (12% and 10%, respectively).
This LEDS transportation toolkit supports decision makers in developing a low carbon pathway. The toolkit contains resources that are effective in the inventory, planning, implementation, and tracking phases of low carbon development. The toolkit identifies steps for evaluating the existing transport system, developing the BAU (business as usual) scenario, assessing opportunities for low carbon transport growth, developing and assessing alternative scenarios, prioritizing and planning for implementing the best options, and implementing and monitoring that plan. These steps are analogous to the steps in the overall LEDS Framework, focused specifically on the transport sector.
Step 1: Evaluate the existing transport system→
The transport system of a country includes the roads, cars, buses, trains, rails, aircraft, airports, ships, boats, and marine facilities used to move people and goods both within the country and to and from the country, and the use and management of these systems. In addition to transport infrastructure this includes regulations and policies for planning and managing transport, available financing mechanisms, and consideration of how transport fits within the broader objectives of growth and development and climate change and the barriers to achieving those objectives. A comprehensive transport strategy addresses all of these elements. Assessing the country’s current transport system includes plans, policies, practices, strategies and programs, specific to transport and land use as well, since land use significantly impacts transportation. This step corresponds to stage 2 of the overall LEDS framework.
The first step in assessing the current transportation situation is to research and evaluate existing transportation information and data:
- Demand for transport services—geographic population distribution, household incomes (and correlation with location), private motorized vehicle ownership by type (cars, scooters, etc.), vehicle miles traveled per capita, non-motorized transport, travel patterns
- Supply of transport infrastructure and services—types, conditions, cost efficiency, performance, availability and location of existing systems including roads, rails, buses, trains, air, and marine
- Government institutions with jurisdiction over transport systems—in terms of regulatory, policy, and financial authority
Some countries will have much of this information available. Other countries may not have a comprehensive and current database on their current transportation systems and/or transportation situation in general. The following resources can help guide identification of specific data that will be valuable during the characterization process. Many of the sites listed include country-specific data. Other sites provide information for the U.S. or other country as examples of data types for future data-gathering efforts.
Demand for transport services
- The United Nations Population Information Network has population-related data and maps.
- The World Bank Indicators webpage includes land use statistics that can help estimate needed transport between regions.
- Maps of land-use zones, which indicate where people live and work, are not currently available on an international basis. Most countries have a ministry of land use planning that could provide these data and maps.
- The National Household Travel Survey is a comprehensive survey into the travel patterns of Americans, with reams of data and a handy search engine.
Supply of transport energy, infrastructure, and services
- Country profiles in the CIA World Factbook track the imports, exports, and use of multiple fuels (in the economy section), and also include an entire transportation section for each country.
- The International Road Federation publishes World Road Statistics every year that includes global statistics and country profiles for more than 185 countries.
- The Transportation Energy Data Book provides great detail on how the US transportation system utilizes various forms of energy.
- The World Bank Indicators webpage has statistics on infrastructure, energy, and urbanization on a country basis.
- The International Energy Agency has databases for a wide variety of countries and regions and numerous reports on special issues.
- U.S. Energy Information Administration has statistics on the production, consumption, and prices of transportation fuels.
- United Nations Transportation Statistics is a good source document to characterize country statistics with those in the broader international community to support comparison and measurement.
- Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development/Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry. Transport issues covered in the statistics section include maritime transport, road transport research, aviation, shipbuilding, and tourism.
- United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (annual bulletin of transport and road traffic accident statistics for Europe and North America); Eurostat (transportation statistics for European countries); and the Bureau of Transport Statistics (United States of America Department of Transportation) provide useful indicators for comparative analysis.
- The Victoria Transportation Policy Institute has collected many excellent data sources for tracking energy, transport, and services in multiple countries.
- The U.S. DOT Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse provides guidance to assess the GHG emissions from transportation systems.
- The fuel economy and other attributes of light-duty vehicles available in the U.S. and many other countries can be compared at Fueleconomy.gov.
- The International Transport Forum has a good statistics page that is timely and has many good cross-country comparisons including infrastructure, GHG emissions, and road taxes.
- The International Energy Agency has a good Glossary of Transport Statistics.
Government institutions with jurisdiction over transport systems
- The International Association of Public Transport has 3,400 members in 92 countries. The members classified as “Authority” from each country on the membership list likely have jurisdiction over that country’s transport system.
- The forms of transportation with the most international coordination are the aviation industry (through the International Air Transport Association (IATA)), and the shipping industry (through the International Maritime Law Institute).
Step 2: Develop the BAU scenario
In order to plan for a low carbon transport system, it is important to establish a baseline of transport demand, supply, carbon emissions, land use, and related factors projected out to 2050. The assumptions used in developing this transport scenario will build on and contribute to the broader BAU scenario developed in stage 3a of the country’s overall LEDS effort, including projections of the economy, population, development (e.g., income, health indicators) energy demand and supply, land use, and carbon emissions. Development of the transport BAU scenario should be a collaborative process involving national leaders and other stakeholders, including review of existing transport scenarios and data, leading to a consensus vision (transport system and GHG emissions) of “no action” out to 2050.
Some countries will have sector-specific inventories of GHG emissions including the transport sector. Others will need to estimate emissions for the current baseline as well as project transport emissions out to 2050 for the consensus “no action” vision. For a discussion of approaches, methodologies, and tools for developing GHG estimates and projections, see this section of the transportation toolkit here.
Step 3: Assessing Opportunities→
This step involves identifying and assessing opportunities for low carbon transport and corresponds to stage 3b in the overall LEDS framework. Over the years the standard common approach to developing transportation systems has been to focus on transportation technologies and infrastructure—the roads, rails and vehicles needed to meet growing demand. This approach has revealed significant limitations—more roads lead to more vehicles, which lead to more roads and so on, with subsequent sprawl, traffic congestion, costs to public health from reduced local air quality and increased accidents, and direct and indirect costs of global climate change impacts. This strategy has also resulted in allocation of scarce land resources to roads to support private transport that moves fewer people than achievable with public transport.
A new approach called ASI for Avoid-Shift-Improve—brings the focus from technology to designing transport systems that more broadly consider the policies and behaviors behind the demand for transport. This approach helps focus on the objectives of the planned transport system—economic development and growth, as well as climate change objectives. Low carbon transport is best achieved by first seeking to avoid the need for transportation, secondly by shifting to less carbon-intensive modes, and lastly by implementing more efficient and cleaner technologies.
- Pedestrians. Pedestrian transport is an important mode in many countries and over time much of the street space historically used by pedestrians has been taken over by cars, taxis, and buses. This sector can be supported and expanded through investment in infrastructure (walkways), and traffic management to improve safety. Pedestrian transport is an efficient way to use road space and so help reduce congestion, and it promotes the local economy (through increasing shop profitability and land values), supports access to jobs, education and services to the poor, and promotes health through exercise as well as social cohesion. Safety is a particularly important consideration, considering that pedestrian deaths represent about 40-60% (and as much as 75%) of traffic fatalities in many developing countries according to the World Health Organization. A good discussion of creating pedestrian-friendly system can be found at Preserving and Expanding the Role of Non-Motorized Transport
- Bicycles. Bicycle travel is a common form of transport in many countries. This prevalence is giving way to motorized transport as car ownership expands and more street space is allocated for (or claimed by) motorized transport. Bicycle programs include allocation of street space for bicycles, safety enhancements, interconnection with other transport modes, and related issues. The International Bicycle Fund provides information and resources on bicycle planning and engineering, safety education, economic development assistance, and promoting international understanding, and has specific information on Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. Bike sharing programs, which provide networks of bicycles available for short-term rental (or for free) from unattended locations at various points around an urban area have become increasing popular with programs established in Latin America (Buenos Aires, Mexico City), Beijing, and many European cities. Successful bike sharing programs are linked to other forms of public transport (buses, metro, trains) and are linked to an overall multi-modal transport strategy (such as in Paris, with one of the largest bike-sharing programs). Bike-sharing providers have included governments, quasi-governmental transport agencies, universities, non-profits, advertising companies, and for-profits. For discussion of bike sharing programs see this recent article in the Journal of Public Transportation. Mechanisms for financing these schemes include using the bicycles for advertising, and using automobile parking fees to pay for the system. Another option is to establish small scale credit financing for bicycles. For implementation strategies see The World City Bike Collaborative, and this report on European bike sharing programs.
- Telecommuting/cyber-meetings. Where practical, telecommuting—working remotely using telecommunications to interact with the workplace--represents a cost effective solution for employers, employees, and the public to reducing pressure on the transport systems. Telecommuting eliminates time and associated stress involved with commuting on congested roadways. Telecommuting also supports access to trained professionals otherwise unavailable due to remote location or limited transport options. See the Telework Association’s website and handbook for additional information.
- Buses. Buses are the most common form of mass transit around the world. Statistics on bus use and operation in the United States can be found on the American Public Transportation Association's statistics page and the Federal Transit Association’s National Transit Database. A related resource is the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility’s Toolkit for Public-Private Partnerships in Roads and Highways, which is aimed at helping low and middle income countries implement policies and procedures to encourage private sector participation in financing road and highway projects.
- Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a hybrid between a bus and a train. It is essentially an elongated bus that travels on a designated BRT lane and picks up passengers in a BRT station. This allows the BRT to capitalize on the advantages of trains (independence from traffic, quick passenger-load times, and higher-class reputation) while having much less expensive infrastructure and operational costs and retaining more flexibility and expandability. The Guangzhou BRT, winner of the ITDP’s Sustainable Transport Award for 2011, is the largest BRT system in Asia, carrying more than 20,000 passengers per hour (one direction) and 900,000 per day. The system (which became fully operational in February 2010) links to two different underground metro lines and also includes continuous bike lanes along the corridor and 5,500 bike parking spaces. The Ahmadabad, India BRT system, the first in South Asia, carries more than 18,000 passengers a day, and incorporates both pedestrian facilities and bicycle lanes. A conference on BRT in India recently held in Delhi includes links to related organizations. The Bogota BRT, Transmilenio, is an extensive trunk and feeder BRT system that covers most of this city of 7 million. The system carries 1.3 million passengers per average weekday (42,000 passengers per hour—one direction--during peak) and includes both local and express service through two dedicated lines in each direction.
The FTA’s report Characteristics of BRT for Decision-Making provides a good overview of BRTs, while the Transportation Research Board’s Case Studies in BRT provides other examples of real projects around the world.
- Trains: Trains can be the most efficient form of passenger transport if the population density is sufficiently high. Density criteria have been established for the United States in the seminal work “An Exploration of Fixed-Gateway Transit Criteria”, which was written in 1982 and updated by the Transportation Research Board in 2010. Rail transport, although constrained by physiography, is an important option for moving freight. Rail transport offers the advantage of minimal space requirements (at least for the lines; space requirements for the terminal can be significant) and can be linked to road transportation. For information on the role that rail transport can play in addressing climate change and links to data and success stories, see this paper by the International Union of Railways and this review from a scholar at the University of Birmingham (U.K).
- Marine transport. Most marine transport is focused on freight including bulk cargo and break-bulk (packaged) cargo and is the cheapest per unit of all transport mode due to economies of scale (although up-front costs are high). Ferries are an extremely efficient way to transport passengers, and can preempt having to build very expensive bridges. For an understanding of maritime shipping, economics, services and networks, see this chapter in The Geography of Transport Systems. For a discussion of GHG mitigation potential and challenges in the marine sector, see this report by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
- Ride sharing. Sharing a ride via carpooling or ridesharing divides your personal fuel use by the number of people in the car. Key approaches and technologies are described in the VTPI Travel Demand Management Encyclopedia. The main technologies to encourage ridesharing are high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, road pricing, strategic parking, rideshare websites, and new rideshare applications for smart phones.
Not all approaches are right for every situation and policy makers should focus on cost-effective and domestically available efficiency tools and alternative fuels. In addition, policy makers should explore strategies for creating a more fuel-efficient fleet by completing the UNEP’s Interactive Fuel Efficiency Questionnaire, which is designed to give policy makers an idea of current transportation efficiency measures and actions to support and/or implement these policy measures. The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities can also provide a framework to develop improved efficiency within the transportation sector. See this set of implementation guidelines for alternative fuels developed by APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation).
Use more efficient vehicles and use vehicles more efficiently
- Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). HEVs are powered by conventional or alternative fuels and include electric power stored in a battery thus combining the benefits of high fuel economy and low emissions with the power and range of conventional vehicles. A variety of HEVs are currently available; for a more thorough description including emissions, benefits and other characteristics see this U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) website. Although HEVs are often more expensive than similar conventional vehicles, some cost may be recovered through fuel savings, the implementation of an HEV tax credit, or other incentives. HEV incentive programs may be included in a larger technology incentive program to help spur consumer interest.
- Diesel-fueled vehicles. Advanced diesel-powered vehicles using ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel are among the most fuel-efficient vehicles available today. Most diesel vehicles also can run on biodiesel blends without engine modification. Further information on diesel vehicles, emissions and other characteristics are available at this U.S. DOE website.
- Downsizing. Downsizing or “right sizing” a fleet (such as government fleet) can be a cost-effective way to achieve efficiency goals. Downsizing starts with analyzing the tasks that the organization needs to accomplish and evaluating the minimum vehicle size required. In addition to reducing emissions, moving to smaller, more efficient vehicles typically reduces capital and operating costs. British Columbia’s Climate Action Toolkit provides a fuel efficient vehicle purchasing strategy, useful for informing this process to ensure that you buy the most fuel efficient and lowest life cycle cost vehicles possible. The City of San Jose in California has developed what may be the most comprehensive and effective green fleet vehicle purchasing policies in North America. The Dawson Creek green vehicle policy provides another good example of efficient fleet policies.
- Idle reduction. Worldwide, unnecessary vehicle idling uses several billion gallons of fuel and emits large quantities of air pollution and GHGs each year. Idle reduction is typically used to describe technologies and practices that reduce the amount of time heavy-duty trucks idle their engines. However, light- and medium-duty vehicles and school buses can benefit from idle reduction strategies as well. Reducing idle time saves fuel, engine wear, and money while reducing emissions and noise.
In some areas, trucks are required to limit noise at night, when they are typically idling. By reducing idle time, drivers can reduce engine idling noise and meet noise standards. Policy makers looking to reduce emissions and noise pollution can work to develop local or regional ordinances to prohibit excessive idling, as articulated in A Municipal Official’s Guide to Diesel Idling Reduction. While this study focuses on the greater New York region, the approaches, incentives, and planning processes included in this document are applicable to other urban areas. Diesel emissions resulting from commercial transport in developing countries are one of the largest sources of localized air pollution. Idle reduction strategies can reduce idling-related emissions of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and other harmful pollutants by up to 99%. They can also reduce emission of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by slashing fuel consumption. See this Analysis of Technology Options to Reduce the Fuel Consumption of Idling Trucks and Strategy and Recommendations for US-Mexico Border Diesel Emissions Reductions for information on idle reduction strategies in the commercial transport sector.
- Driver efficiency feedback/training. A vehicle’s fuel economy varies widely depending on how it is being driven. Drivers have been taught more efficient driving styles through driver feedback mechanisms and through driver training, as outlined in the Fiat eco:Drive project. Vehicle maintenance--such as engine tune ups, inflating tires to the proper pressure, using the correct grade of motor oil, and replacing oil filters--also significantly impacts fuel economy; additional information is available at this U.S. DOE website.
Use alternative fuels and vehicles
The final phase of the ASI process is to replace traditional transportation fuels with lower-carbon, more sustainable fuels. In order to fully assess the GHGs emitted by these fuels they need to be analyzed on a lifecycle basis to take into account the emissions from fuel production (including changes due to land use), through combustion in the car. The U.S. California Air Resources Board has conducted the best lifecycle GHG comparison of numerous fuels, as reflected in the charts below. This is specific for California vehicles, but with the exception of electricity (which is exceptionally clean in CA), can be generalized for other locations. (Note that CaRFG in the table below is a formulation of gasoline sold in California; it is formulated to burn cleaner and produce fewer smog-forming pollutants. See the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website for additional information on RFG.)
- Biodiesel. Biodiesel is a clean-burning, renewable substitute for petroleum diesel. Using biodiesel as a vehicle fuel increases energy security (if produced domestically), improves public health and the environment, and provides safety benefits. For more information, see the National Biodiesel Board's Benefits of Biodiesel and the European Association for Bioindustries fact sheet Biofuels and Developing Countries, which highlights the benefits of biofuels for rural areas in developing countries. Compared with using petroleum diesel, using biodiesel in a conventional diesel engine substantially reduces emissions of local pollutants and GHGs, with fewer emissions as the amount of biodiesel blended into diesel fuel increases. Using biodiesel reduces GHGs because carbon dioxide released from biodiesel combustion is offset by the carbon dioxide sequestered while growing the soybeans or other feedstock. B100 use reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 75% compared with petroleum diesel. Using B20 reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 15%. Operating a diesel vehicle on biodiesel requires a few specific methods of operation and maintenance as articulated in this biodiesel handbook.
- As with other biofuels (such as ethanol) there are land use impacts of producing biofuels, including competition with food production, and indirect land use impacts caused by shifting land use patterns to bring lands into production that were previously forested or in other use which produced less carbon. For a good explanation of indirect land use change from biofuels, see this video by the International Council on Clean Transportation. The Union of Concerned Scientists’ website includes an explanation of the issues and a set of principles for biofuels development.
- Ethanol. Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from various plant materials, which collectively are called "biomass." While typically used as low-level blends (E10, E15), ethanol is also increasingly available in E85, an alternative fuel used in flexible fuel vehicles.
- Several steps are required to make ethanol available as a vehicle fuel—as shown in the supply chain diagram below. Biomass feedstocks are grown, and then various logistical systems are used to collect and transport them to ethanol production facilities. After ethanol is produced at the facilities, a distribution network supplies ethanol-gasoline blends to fueling stations for use by drivers.Ethanol production can be used to create jobs in rural areas where employment opportunities are needed. For additional information on the economic benefits of ethanol, see Fueling Brazil: The Effects of the Ethanol Cluster in the Local Community or the International Food Policy Research Institute’s report The Promises of Biofuels for the Poor in Developing Countries.
- Ethanol can be produced using the starch in corn grain, as in the United States, or other materials, such as sugar cane in Brazil. Some studies have suggested that corn-based ethanol has a negative energy balance. However, a preponderance of recent studies using updated data about corn production methods demonstrates a positive energy balance for corn ethanol. In addition, once the technology to produce cellulosic ethanol becomes widely available, the energy lifecycle balance of ethanol will improve. That is because it will be produced using less fossil fuel and more energy-efficient feedstocks, such as fast-growing trees, corn stover, grain straw, switch grass, forest product residues, and municipal waste. Cellulosic ethanol also produces lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Learn how Ethanol's Lifecycle Energy Balance relates to emissions. For more information on the energy balance of ethanol, see Ethanol Myths and Facts.
- Propane. Propane, also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or LP-gas), or autogas in Europe. Stored under pressure inside a tank, propane turns into a colorless, odorless liquid. As pressure is released, the liquid propane vaporizes and turns into gas that is used for combustion. Propane has a high octane rating and excellent properties for spark-ignited internal combustion engines. It is non-toxic and produced as a by-product of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. Uses include home and water heating, cooking and refrigerating food, clothes drying, powering farm and industrial equipment, and drying corn. Rural areas that do not have natural gas service commonly rely on propane.Propane is the most used alternative transportation fuel in the world, based primarily on its availability and clean-burning properties. Propane vehicle technology is well established, and propane-fueling stations are widely available in some regions and/or countries. Propane has one of the highest energy densities of all alternative fuels, so propane vehicles go farther on a tank of fuel. It is also an exceptionally safe fuel: propane tanks are 20 times more puncture resistant than gasoline tanks, and propane has the lowest flammability range of all alternative fuels. More information on the worldwide use of propane, including information on how propane use can support sustainable development, can be found by visiting the World LP Gas Association. In particular, the association highlights the benefits (economic and environmental) being realized through the expanded use of propane as a vehicle fuel in India.
- Natural Gas. Natural gas is predominantly methane (CH4) and has a high octane rating and excellent properties for spark-ignited internal combustion engines. It is non-toxic, non-corrosive, and non-carcinogenic. It presents no threat to soil, surface water, or groundwater. Most natural gas is extracted from gas and oil wells. Much smaller amounts are derived from supplemental sources such as synthetic gas, landfill gas, and other biogas resources. These renewable sources have very low GHG emissions, as outlined in this Renewable Natural Gas discussion paper. The interest in natural gas as an alternative transportation fuel stems mainly from its clean-burning qualities, its domestic resource base, and its commercial availability. Because of the gaseous nature of this fuel, it must be stored onboard a vehicle in either a compressed gaseous (compressed natural gas, CNG) or liquefied (liquefied natural gas, LNG) state.
- Compared with vehicles fueled by conventional diesel and gasoline, natural gas vehicles can produce significantly lower amounts of harmful emissions such as nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and toxic and carcinogenic pollutants, as well as the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
- The graphs below from the International Association for Natural Gas Vehicles indicate the role natural gas vehicles play in economic development and low carbon growth.
- Electricity. Electricity can be used to power all-electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) directly from the power grid. Vehicles that run on electricity produce no tailpipe emissions. The only emissions that can be attributed to electricity are those generated in the production process at the power plant. Electricity is easily accessible for short-range driving, and home recharging of EVs is as simple as plugging into an electric outlet.
- The challenge of this option is the expense and availability of electric vehicles and in particular electric vehicle charging infrastructure. EVs and PHEVs are currently significantly more expensive than other options and have limited supply. Communities have begun to plan for accelerated deployment of electric vehicles; for example Project Get Ready works with cities to prepare for the infrastructure needed for plug-in electric vehicles. Also, cities and other local leaders are working to speed the process to install home-based electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) for PHEVs and EVs. Some U.S. cities are cutting the time needed to install and permit home charging stations down to one or two days. These case studies focus on activities in four leading U.S. cities to enable the EVSE permitting and installation process. In addition, a case study for Rotterdam, Netherlands was developed to explore the potential of electric-drive vehicles for goods transportation. Policy makers interested in pursuing electric drive vehicles and infrastructure should understand the effects economics and time of use concerns related to EVs, as discussed here by one of the leading utilities in the U.S.
Step 4: Develop Alternative Scenarios→
As a first step in developing alternative scenarios for low carbon transport, it is useful to establish objectives of the transport system, which will vary depending on the specific application—national, regional or local. Transport planning includes explicit consideration of problems with the existing systems (and future systems reflecting increased demand) from the perspectives of the consumers (travelers, shippers) of the existing system and consideration of the infrastructure and transport policies relevant to maintaining, regulating, and managing the system.
Assessing how well the existing system meets the needs of travelers and shippers requires measuring technical factors such as public transport and road operating speeds, public transport waiting times, reliability, pavement condition, etc. It is also important to understand how well the existing transport system functions from the perspective of travelers and shippers, information typically generated through surveys and analysis. In many developing countries the required data and information for many of these factors may not be available and will need to be estimated or qualitatively assessed. It is also important to understand potential vulnerabilities to the transport system in terms of natural disasters and climate change.
Another important factor to understand is why problems originated and have not yet been addressed. In many circumstances this is due to rapidly increased demand (resulting from massive urban migration for example), resource constraints, and also to underlying policies, regulations, and investment programs. Also, challenges in relationships between government (national, state, local) and other stakeholders are frequently a contributing factor.
The World Bank’s Transport Business Strategy for 2008-2012 offers transportation data and links to the Bank’s approach to addressing typical problems across air, water, rail, roadways, urban and rural transport, and related areas. Other helpful resources across the transport spectrum include:
- The Global Transport Knowledge Resource Centre provides information on road infrastructure and transport, including case studies, research papers, publications, reports, and presentations.
- The International Council on Clean Transportation identifies best practices, emerging issues, technological advancements, and opportunities to guide transportation policy developments around the world.
Objectives of a country’s transport plan may include:
- Enhance national and international trade. A key goal may be to improve the country’s ability to move goods to markets outside its borders. To help understand the bottlenecks and approaches to facilitating trade transport in your country, see this World Bank toolkit focused on trade and transport facilitation and this toolkit focused on air freight.
- Improve roads and highways. Improving the country’s roads and highways to facilitate the movement of people and goods is another objective that may be considered given the fact that roads carry most of the passenger traffic and often a significant (if not majority) of the goods transported in a country. The World Bank’s Road and Highways portal includes toolkits, guides and other information and on trends in the road sector and frequent issues. To shed light on determinants of mobility patterns in developing countries, see this case study of Chennai India.
- Improve the functioning of cities. Well-functioning urban transport systems enable cities to support both economic growth and development in a sustainable manner. Many countries recognize the need to improve these systems for cities plagued with congestion, poor safety, noise, pollution, and increased urban migration. The World Bank’s urban transport guidance document identifies a number of issues to include when setting the policy framework for urban transport systems. These include consideration of allocation of street space between different transport modes that serve different sectors of society (e.g., expanding street space for pedestrians and non-motorized transport and some forms of public transit to serve the poor), role of the public sector in providing and regulating transport services, and other considerations. Improving GHG emissions in cities needs to be part of a broader effort across the urban spectrum; a good resource is the Clinton Climate Initiative’s C40 Cities, a group of large cities committed to tackling climate change.
- Improve rural transport. Resources and organizations on rural sustainable transport include the Forum for Rural Transport and Development, a network of individuals and organizations working to improve access, mobility and economic opportunities for poor communities in developing countries. For recently updated information on rural transportation management, see this compendium by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute and Transport Canada’s website on sustainable transport in small and rural communities. Another source of relevant information is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development strategies.
- Reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector. Automobile transport is the primary contributor to carbon emissions, and vehicles are nearly completely (98%) fueled by petroleum oil fuels, so efforts to reduce carbon emissions will also contribute to reduced demand for typically imported petroleum. Historically economic growth has been linked to increased GHG emissions, but particularly in the freight sector improvements in efficiency (and logistics) have resulted in a decoupling of emissions and growth. For a more complete discussion of GHG emissions from the transport sector, see this report from the International Transport Forum of the OECD. The Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport, an organization with over 50 members including multilateral development banks, UN organizations, technical institutions, universities and others, promotes low carbon land transport in developing countries.
Within the context of the transport plan objectives and the transport options available and best suited for application in your country, the next step is to identify a few transport scenarios for potential implementation. This step builds on the alternative projections of broader socioeconomic indicators developed in [Stage 3c: Developing and Assessing Low Emissions Development Scenarios stage 3c of the LEDS framework]. Select transport options may be identified using a collaborative process involving government and other stakeholders. The result of this process is several transport scenarios for consideration and inclusion in an integrated economy-wide analysis.
Step 5: Prioritize and Plan
Once issues are understood, goals have been established, and transport scenarios identified for potential application, the next step is to prioritize those scenarios and develop a transport plan. Proposed transport scenarios should be evaluated and prioritized in terms of:
- benefits and costs
- economic development impacts
- GHG emissions
- technical, institutional and regulatory capacity
- market acceptance
- barriers to successful deployment—economic, financial, infrastructure, legal
- applicability of international policy best practices and lessons learned
Well-designed transport policies and systems offer a variety of benefits including employment, income, enhanced mobility, expanded market access, improved health and safety, reduced congestion among others. Transport benefits are typically estimated based on reduced transport costs, for example improved safety results in reduced costs associated with accidents. Well-planned transport policies and programs support economic development, and research indicates that improving producer transport (freight, service delivery and business travel) adds more to economic development than do improvements to personal transport. For a detailed analysis of the economic development impacts of transport policies and programs, see this study by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Identifying and measuring economic, environmental and social benefits need to be considered together in order to identify the best policies.
For information on benefit-cost analysis of transport systems see these resources provided by the Economic Development Research Group, this report prepared for the TRB, and this Benefits.pdf IDTP paper on the social costs and benefits of road projects.
Assessing the GHG emissions of transport options
Key factors in evaluating and choosing transport options and scenarios are the implications for GHG emissions. Calculating GHG emissions from transportation is conceptually simple: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary GHG emission by the transport sector and is emitted in amounts roughly proportional to the amount of fuel consumed (for each fuel type). GHG emissions from transport can therefore be estimated based on the amounts of each fuel consumed in the sector. This may serve as a basis for national level estimates of GHG emissions, and also for a rough estimate of emissions from specific projects and programs.
For estimating GHG emissions on a more granular project-level basis, a good approach is the ASIF methodology developed by Schipper et. al and explained in this paper on Measuring the Carbon Dioxide Impacts of Urban Transport Projects in Developing Countries. The ASIF methodology estimates GHGs as the relationship between a number of factors, as follows:
- A: total activity (passenger or freight miles)
- S: share of total travel by mode (%)
- I: modal energy intensity (fuel and emissions per passenger –km)
- F: the carbon content of the fuel (s)
Source: Schipper, Lee, Maria Cordeiro, Wei-Shiuen NG., “Measuring the Carbon Dioxide Impacts of Urban Transport Projects in Developing Countries, World Resources Institute, 2007.
This approach is helpful for both assessing the GHG emissions of existing transport systems and planned programs and projects. In this context, GHGs may be mitigated by reducing overall sector activity (A); increasing the fraction of a sector’s share to a lower emitting one (S); improving vehicle efficiency to reduce energy intensity (I); switching to biofuels or other no-carbon or low-carbon fuels to reduce carbon intensity (F).
Other approaches and models may be helpful in inventorying existing GHG emissions from the transport sector and inventorying future emissions. A good list of available models is available on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse. Also on this website are links to analyses of available emission measurement methods and analysis tools. For example, this report, completed for the Transportation Research Board analyzes 17 tools or methods for assessing GHG analysis techniques for transportation projects. This DOT study compares the emissions from land-side and water-side alternatives for freight transportation; this U.S. Environmental Protection Agency site includes fact sheets on tools, analysis and publications on emissions from transport sources. For information specific to aviation emissions, see this IPCC report on aviation and the global atmosphere. Additional information regarding GHG emissions from aviation and marine sources is available in this report from the PEW Center on Global Climate Change.
Several methodologies and approaches are highlighted below. The websites for each provide information about the model’s uses, data requirements and limitations, which may help in determining applicability to individual country situations.
- TEEMP This Transportation Emissions Evaluation Model for Projects methodology was developed by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) to calculate GHG reductions from GEF projects. Eleven models are available for the different types of transportation projects, including bike sharing, bikeways, bus rapid transit, employer-based commute strategies, eco-driving, expressways, metro, “pay as you drive”, walkability improvement, parking and railway. A key strength of this approach is that little local data is required (with conservative default values) which allows for use in the many countries where data is either of poor quality or unavailable.
- Urban Transportation Emission Calculator Developed for Transport Canada, the Urban Transport Emissions Calculator (UTEC) is a user- friendly tool for estimating annual emissions from personal, commercial, and public vehicles. It estimates GHG and local air pollutant emissions from the operation of vehicles. It also estimates upstream GHG emissions from the production, refining and transport of transportation fuels, as well as from the production of electricity used by electric vehicles. The primary input to the tool is vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT) for road vehicles and passenger kilometers traveled (PKT) for rail vehicles. Modifying default values for other inputs, such as growth factors, fleet composition to suit your local conditions although not required to run the tool will improve accuracy of the model results.
- MOVES2010 MOVES2010 (Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator) is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) modeling tool for estimating emissions from mobile sources. (EPA plans in future to expand the model to include off-road vehicles, rail, and marine transport.) The tool is primarily aimed at estimating criteria (local) pollutants (not GHG emissions) and is therefore quite complex. In its recent upgrade, MOVES2010 was designed to support multiple scale analysis, from the project level to emission inventories at the regional or national level. Given this modal approach, MOVES2010 provides scope for customizing for international application, although the model was designed for application in the U.S. This recent EPA paper explores three tiers for applying the model internationally, depending on needs, data availability and resources.
- GREET Primarily a research tool, GREET (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation) is a full life-cycle model developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. It allows researchers and analysts to evaluate various vehicle and fuel combinations, or scenarios, on a full fuel-cycle/vehicle-cycle basis. GREET facilitates comprehensive evaluations of total energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and criteria pollutant emissions for more than 100 fuel production pathways and 70 vehicle technologies/fuel systems. For a given vehicle and fuel system, GREET separately calculates the consumption of total energy (energy in non-renewable and renewable sources), emissions of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases - primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O); and emissions of six criteria pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxide (NOx), particulate matter with size smaller than 10 micrometer (PM10]), particulate matter with size smaller than 2.5 micrometer (PM2.5),and sulfur oxides (SOx).
- Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) is an international accounting tool developed to help government and business leaders understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. The GHG Protocol was created by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to provide a standardized methodology for GHG accounting. The GHG protocol includes sector-specific toolsets as well as crosscutting tools, including a tool for estimating emissions from transport or mobile sources.
- EPA NONROAD Model The NONROAD emissions model projects greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria pollutant emissions for non-road equipment such as agricultural, construction, industrial, marine as well as for aircraft. The U.S. EPA developed this model to assess the significant and growing contribution to the mobile source inventory of non-road vehicle emissions.
Step 6: Implement and monitor
Four types of instruments are used to implement low carbon transport systems—planning, regulatory, economic, and informational. A good source of information on the variety of approaches to designing clean transport systems is available in the GTZ’s Sustainable Transport: A Sourcebook for Policy-Makers in Developing Countries.
- Land use planning. Land use decisions affect transportation and transport decisions affect land use planning, so integrating planning for both is one of the key facets of smart growth and sustainable development. For an understanding of how land use planning affects transport, see this study by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute. See the Journal of Transport and Land Use on the interactions between transport and land use, including engineering, planning, modeling, behavior, economics, geography, regional science, sociology, architecture and design, network science, and complex systems.
- Support market competition through deregulation of public sector monopolies and addressing monopoly violations in the private sector. Free market competition should require the market to reduce fuel expenditures (which are the largest expenditures of most transportation companies) and therefore petroleum use and GHG emissions. An example of the virtues of market competition is the flourishing of the bargain bus lines in the northeastern United States—an area that was previously dominated by monopolies and therefore much more expensive.
- Regulate the informal public transit sector. Despite the virtues of deregulation, proper regulations are needed to keep the public transit sector operating safely, efficiently, and equitably. In their absence more people will gravitate towards personal vehicles that emit more on a per passenger basis.
- Implement traffic, parking, speed, and idling laws. These laws, when well enforced, all lead to reduced petroleum use. Proper parking management can encourage alternative forms of transportation and reduce congestion (which leads to more efficient drive-cycles). Speed limits can encourage cars to operate at their most efficient speeds (approximately 55 mph). Idling laws are ubiquitous in the United States, as can be viewed in the American Transportation Research Institute’s Compendium of Idling Regulations. These laws save approximately 1 gallon of diesel fuel for every hour that an 18-wheeler avoids idling.
- Establish fuel economy and emissions standards for vehicles. Higher fuels economy standards result in lower emissions per kilometer driven. The fuel economy standards of major automobile markets can be seen in the figure below.
for policymakers. For additional information on the variety of economic instruments available, see this module from the GTZ Sustainable Transport Sourcebook. The most popular economic instruments include:
- Fuel taxes. Most countries in the world have an excise tax on motor fuels. The popularity of such taxes (in comparison to GHG emissions taxes) is largely due to their ease of implementation. The details of such taxes can be viewed for OECD countries in the OECD Energy Prices & Taxes Quarterly Statistics and can be viewed for the United States in Table EN1 of EIA’s Petroleum Marketing Annual.
Figure 6.2 shows that fuel taxes (which constitute the primary difference between fuel prices) lead to countries using less fuel per vehicle-mile traveled, demonstrating their effectiveness in reducing petroleum consumption.
- Vehicle taxes. Most countries also have vehicle registration taxes, as described in the U.S. Department of Commerce Compilation of Foreign Motor Vehicle Import Requirements. Vehicle taxes reduce the number of vehicles purchased and therefore the petroleum used. Many of these taxes are based on vehicle weight, engine size, or fuel economy, and therefore reduce petroleum use even more by encouraging the purchase of a more efficient vehicle. The policy most effective at promoting vehicle efficiency is a feebate, and has been very successful at reducing petroleum use and GHGs in France. For more information see this feebate summary and description from the Rocky Mountain Institute and this Transportation Research Board study on the impacts of feebates and fuel economy standards on U.S. fuel use and GHGs.
- Carbon markets put a value on atmospheric carbon for emitters to pay and offer payments for reducing or sequestering carbon. There are numerous carbon markets in the world, some mandatory and some voluntary. Carbon markets have been better accepted politically (and are therefore prevalent) than a carbon tax. Mandatory markets are best summarized in the World Bank’s State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2010, and the voluntary markets are best summarized by the Ecosystem Marketplace in State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2010.
- Congestion pricing is the practice of charging more for road use during high-traffic periods, resulting in reduced congestion by shifting travel times and by discouraging driving on those roads. A summary article Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Road Pricing? is a good introduction to the subject. The best case studies of congestion pricing are London, Stockholm, and Singapore.
- Transit subsidies enable mass transit riders to pay a fare that is lower than would be needed to pay for the infrastructure, operation, and maintenance of the mass transit system. They are well explained in this Mass Transit Finance article of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Most publicly-run transit systems around the world receive transit subsidies from any or all levels of government (local, regional, and national). Transit subsidies are recognized as supporting citizen equity, congestion management, improved air quality, and reduced petroleum use and GHG emissions.
- Public awareness campaigns are effective tools to educate a large and diverse population about the programs and projects that have been put in place. Environmental education and awareness raising can include any of the following types of activities:
- Reorienting current education and awareness programs to include environmental dimensions;
- Basic education and awareness programs (e.g., in schools);
- Adult and community education and awareness programs; and
- Education, training, and awareness programs for professional, technical, and vocational personnel
For background on the potential of public awareness, see this document from the United Nations Environment Programme.
- Websites and GPS instruments for reducing VMT. Reducing vehicle miles travelled (VMT) through online ridesharing and route planning can help reduce congestion due to daily commuting patterns. Both public and private sectors can influence daily commuting patterns by providing information, tools, and incentives. The following links are examples of ridesharing and other VMT-reducing tools that can be easily replicated.
- Nuride – Provides incentives for private business to promote ridesharing
- University Ride Board – Provides an efficient way for students to carpool to school
- Fuel Economy.gov - The official U.S. government source for fuel economy information
- Department of Transportation: Climate Change Policies and VMT Reduction
- Review of U.S. and European Regional Modeling Studies of Policies Intended to Reduce Motorized Travel, Fuel Use, and Emissions
- Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool - The Petroleum Reduction Planning tool helps fleets, consumers, and business owners create a strategy to reduce conventional fuel use in fleet and personal vehicles. This interactive tool allows users to evaluate and calculate petroleum reductions by choosing a combination methods, including VMT reduction and improved fuel economy.
- Publications and websites. Information, such as that identified in this toolkit can be helpful in crafting petroleum reduction, localized air pollution reduction, and greenhouse gas emission reduction policies. In addition, there are many case studies that can provide relevant information on how developing countries can increase public awareness to effectively balance economic growth with environmental protection. Developing countries are taking a stronger role in educating their citizens on the importance of climate change mitigation, as discussed by One World South Asia. Resources and information and effective communication methods are available at:
- The Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities
- sustainable_urban_transport_project.pdf Raising Public Awareness about Sustainable Urban Transport
- Sustainable Transport: A Sourcebook for Policy-makers in Developing Cities
- UNESCO Declaration for and Increased Public Awareness of Climate Change
- Clean Cities TV – Provides education and training videos on alternative fuels and other clean transportation projects.
- Clean Cities Now - Clean Cities Now is the official biannual publication of Clean Cities, an initiative designed to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector by advancing the use of alternative fuel vehicles, idle reduction technologies, hybrid electric vehicles, fuel blends, and fuel economy.
- Fleet Experiences - Learning from other fleet experiences can be helpful when implementing alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles in your fleet. This compilation of fleet experiences tells how other fleets are using alternative fuel vehicles, dealing with infrastructure issues, obtaining funding, and more.
- US Department of Energy Publications Search – Search to find up-to-date case studies and other clean transportation project reports.
- Vehicle labeling. The United States and many other countries have mandated that the fuel economy must be labeled on all vehicles that are for sale. This allows the purchaser to estimate fuel costs when considering the upfront and operational costs of vehicles.
Additional resources useful for implementing clean transport systems include:
- The World Resource Institute’s EMBARQ Center for Sustainable Transport works to identify and implement sustainable transport solutions for cities around the world.
- The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) works with cities worldwide to bring about sustainable transport solutions that cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of urban life.
- Our Cities Ourselves is an ITDP campaign to improve the quality of urban life through transport solutions and identifies 10 principles towards that objective.
- The United Nations Institute for Training and Research offers training programs in Sustainable Urban Mobility in Developing Countries.
- ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability provides technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level.
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