tively. Efficiency improvements in these transport modes are also discussed. Transport modes such as mass transit and intercity rail have important roles in bringing about more energy-efficient passenger and freight transportation, particularly if they shift traffic to modes that can be more energy-efficient. However, they are not treated in detail here.
Section 3.2 outlines energy use for U.S. transportation overall. Passenger and freight transport are covered in Sections 3.3 and 3.4, respectively. Section 3.5 briefly discusses the effects of alternative fuels on the efficiency of highway vehicles.
Much of the discussion in this chapter is “vehicle-centric” in the sense that it focuses on opportunities for boosting energy efficiency through the engineering of highway vehicles (and aircraft) and their subsystems and equipment (e.g., engines, transmissions, body designs, and tires). Indeed, a great deal of R&D attention has been given to vehicle engineering for energy efficiency.
The energy required for transportation, however, is greatly influenced by the performance of the systems in which these vehicles operate. “Systems” refer to the physical networks of infrastructure through which vehicles move, as well as the underlying logistic, institutional, commercial, and economic considerations that influence the mix of vehicles used, how they are used, and how the infrastructure itself performs. For example, congestion management that allows vehicles to operate at more constant speeds, with fewer starts and stops and less idling, could increase overall transportation efficiency. System energy efficiency can also be improved through the more direct routing of trucks and aircraft, the optimization of operating speeds, more intense use of infrastructure, and changes in land-use density and patterns. Similarly, energy use in air transportation is influenced by air-traffic-management requirements. The degree to which the underlying systems operate effectively, therefore, can foster—or in some cases, hinder—energy efficiency. Some of these system-level issues are discussed briefly in Section 3.6.
Energy use in transportation is also influenced by factors that give rise to the demand for travel and that affect the amount or type of travel. Change in these areas, however, is a complex topic that can only be touched on in this chapter. The demand for transportation comes from individuals and businesses pursuing social and economic activities. Reducing these activities may save energy, but may or may not be otherwise desirable. The panel did not examine possibilities for saving energy by reducing the activities that spur demand for transport. It focused instead on the use of more energy-efficient modes of transportation as a means of achieving energy savings (for example, using mass transit or freight rail in place of