Transportation Systems

Transportation is by definition the movement of goods and people over space and time. Both the logistics of distribution and our daily mobility patterns require huge amounts of energy. In fact, transportation is the single largest consumer of oil in the world, and the second largest consumer of nonrenewable fossil fuels. As a result, transportation is the second largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in the US after the electricity sector. 
 
Cornell researchers work on understanding the links among transportation supply (networks), demand, and energy consumption, and on finding a path for conversion to sustainable energy sources. One of the specific areas of our research is concerned with private transportation by light vehicles, focusing on correctly determining the private and social costs of driving, including the externalities generated by decisions of users of the transportation system, as well as on analyzing the cost-efficiency of and consumer response to environmental policy, such as those promoting gains in fuel economy.
 
Because internal combustion engines are highly inefficient, with a tank-to-wheel energy efficiency of only about 15%, an important step toward improved energy efficiency and decarbonization will be the development and successful commercialization of alternative fuels and ultra-low emission vehicles. To encourage faster adoption of energy-efficient transportation technologies, our research group is exploring specific practical aspects of the transition to electrification in transportation. For example, our group is developing models and technologies for smart grid integration as well as for new ways of vehicle charging through dynamic pricing. Estimating willingness-to-pay for renewable energy, modeling the production of electric batteries with improved driving range, and forecasting consumers' response to environmentally-friendly energy sources also figure in the research activities at the Institute.

 

Faculty: Antonio Bento, Ricardo Daziano, Oliver Gao, Shanjun Li, Lang Tong, Max Zhang