Posts Tagged ‘energy’

Energy Policy and Transportation

Monday, August 15th, 2011

In discussing the future of transportation, it is important to understand that large part of the U.S. transportation involves the movement of energy.  But it is in the use of that energy that we are able to enjoy “the American way of life”.   It is clear that the availability of energy will largely shape our economic future.

Here is a new video from the PACE Institute.  (I met with Lance Brown when he was filming this video in New Orleans and he spoke at the  ITTS Conference in Memphis.)   He raises the question that new energy policies should not ignore the costs to consumers when considering new options.  Such considerations are important, especially when considering new policies.

This does not necessary appear to be a contrast to the broader question about the future of energy, as highlighted or by Chris Martenson.  Mr. Martenson suggests we are past peak oil, and the future of energy will dramatically change over the next twenty years from increased competition and misaligned expectations regarding energy policies and availability.  (This was one of the four scenarios “One World Order” outlined in discussed at the AASHTO/Freight Partnership meeting.

These discussions about energy production and use suggest that a discussion on energy, ranging  consumer and business costs, cargoes carried and mode, to social costs (externalities) of transportation (emissions, noise, etc.) such as in GAO report 11-134,  and pipeline safety, are just as relevant when discussing energy policy as is the creation of the energy itself.




Lambert’s Lagniappe – June 2009

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

A few weeks ago I was asked to do a short presentation on Green Transportation at Southern Mississippi. (The presentation is available at http://www.ittsresearch. org/ITTS-Presentations.html). The presentation consisted of a very broad overview of logistics, economic development and the environment, which generated a lively debate.In discussing economic development, we are really talking about people development.

I agree with Thomas Friedman in “Hot Flat and Crowded” that we need to reinvest in the creation of energy here in the United States. The recent edition of Good Magazine was dedicated to transportation,
but while it discussed jet packs and electric cars, it did not discuss freight transportation. There remains a disconnect when we discuss freight transportation and the environment. On the negative side, the
debate on emissions, the detrimental effects of development/traffic (congestion) or the simple fact that we don’t live as we once did. In response, the real discussion that freight is critical to our standard of living evolves into simply discussions about more efficient engines for trucks, rail and barges.

This extends further to modal comparisons about tons moved per mile or emissions per mile (as highlighted by the Texas Transportation Institute Study for Marad. All of these discussions are important, both as we determine a long term strategy and short term steps to move towards a freight and mobility vision (as evidenced by yet another national report calling for an increased focus on transportation reform – The National Transportation Policy Project).

This weekend, I was struck by the irony of the timing of the presentation with its proximity to Fathers’ Day. When discussing the future of transportation, our children will face increased challenges on energy use and the environment. At the same time, we are discussing how to enhance America’s competitive position in world markets. Their future success will be shaped by our actions today, just as the legacy decisions of our fathers continue to shape our world. When considering how we choose to live, we must include all modes of transportation, including freight, that supports America’s long term growth.