7

Infrastructure

The United States enjoys the world's most effective and extensive road transportation system. Over 175 million passenger cars and light trucks travel more than two billion miles annually on the 3.9 million miles of public roads in the United States (NHTSA 1995; FHWA 1994). About one in ten members of the U.S. workforce is engaged in some aspect of the road transportation sector (ETF, 1994). Manufacturing and service industries, and associated large and small businesses, have invested hundreds of billions of dollars to form a vast transportation-related infrastructure. This infrastructure encompasses activities associated with vehicle production, insurance, maintenance, repair, and recycling together with fuel production, distribution and retailing. The total highway transportation infrastructure encompasses these private investments and workforces as well as the entire public highway system with its support workforce and its environment.

Some extremely attractive technologies under consideration for PNGV have the potential to introduce large changes in the demands on the infrastructure, which will result in requirements for new capital, labor, and natural resources. The extent of these changes will vary widely, depending on the body and structural materials, the powerplant and the energy-storage system.

INFRASTRUCTURE IMPLICATIONS OF PNGV TECHNOLOGIES

The vehicle production infrastructure includes not only the OEMs but also a vast materials and parts supply base. PNGV technology could introduce profound changes in the vehicle-related industries. For example, a shift from steel to aluminum or composites would alter capital and labor needs among the materials production and forming industries. The maintenance, crash repair and recycling industries would require additional investments in capital equipment and training to handle new materials. Automobile insurance costs



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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES: SECOND REPORT 7 Infrastructure The United States enjoys the world's most effective and extensive road transportation system. Over 175 million passenger cars and light trucks travel more than two billion miles annually on the 3.9 million miles of public roads in the United States (NHTSA 1995; FHWA 1994). About one in ten members of the U.S. workforce is engaged in some aspect of the road transportation sector (ETF, 1994). Manufacturing and service industries, and associated large and small businesses, have invested hundreds of billions of dollars to form a vast transportation-related infrastructure. This infrastructure encompasses activities associated with vehicle production, insurance, maintenance, repair, and recycling together with fuel production, distribution and retailing. The total highway transportation infrastructure encompasses these private investments and workforces as well as the entire public highway system with its support workforce and its environment. Some extremely attractive technologies under consideration for PNGV have the potential to introduce large changes in the demands on the infrastructure, which will result in requirements for new capital, labor, and natural resources. The extent of these changes will vary widely, depending on the body and structural materials, the powerplant and the energy-storage system. INFRASTRUCTURE IMPLICATIONS OF PNGV TECHNOLOGIES The vehicle production infrastructure includes not only the OEMs but also a vast materials and parts supply base. PNGV technology could introduce profound changes in the vehicle-related industries. For example, a shift from steel to aluminum or composites would alter capital and labor needs among the materials production and forming industries. The maintenance, crash repair and recycling industries would require additional investments in capital equipment and training to handle new materials. Automobile insurance costs

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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES: SECOND REPORT are likely to be influenced by changes in these service industries and by the design and repairability of the PNGV vehicle. The adoption of alternative PNGV power plants that use fuels such as methanol, dimethyl ether or hydrogen would create immense demands on the entire fuel production, transportation, storage, and retail-distribution infrastructure. Significant new investments would be required both in the production and retail segments. Portions of existing facilities and equipment could become obsolete, resulting in the early writeoff of investments. The willingness of consumers to adapt to the use of alternative fuels will also have an important influence on the success of the PNGV program. The highway infrastructure includes the highway system, the vehicle and its operator, and the services associated with vehicle operation. The operation of vehicles produces the undesirable consequences of property damage, human casualties, and environmentally harmful emissions. A number of significant issues relating to PNGV arise from highway infrastructure considerations. Today's highway designs are predicated on existing interrelationships among the vehicles, the operators, the highway, and the operating environment and have evolved over a period of about 100 years. Any major change in the vehicle and its attributes requires an understanding of possible ramifications for existing relationships. Obvious examples include the compatibility of breakaway roadway sign supports and the crash characteristics of vehicles constructed with lightweight materials in support of occupant crash protection strategies. Similarly, new hazards from toxic substances, electrical discharges, and high momentum rotating devices will require special skills by emergency response personnel during crash rescue and when clearing and disposing of crash debris. There is a large base of knowledge and experience from owning and operating current vehicles. Any major change in the vehicle dynamic response or vehicle-operator interaction will require adaption by vehicle operators. Changes in vehicle dynamic response, vehicle maintenance, safety precautions, and fuel handling procedures all could require behavior modifications that may impact the operator's acceptance of a PNGV-type vehicle. The operating environment of the vehicle/highway system poses numerous issues to the PNGV. These issues include both regulated and unregulated emissions, road and vehicle noise, and highway runoff. Any changes that impact environmental quality need careful analysis. In reducing regulated highway emissions, due attention must be given to the total environmental impact, including in-use emissions and energy consumption in fuel production and distribution.

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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES: SECOND REPORT SAFETY The influence of the PNGV on the safety of the vehicle/highway system is another issue that requires consideration. During the 1990s the marketing of vehicle safety equipment such as inflatable restraint systems (air bags) and anti-lock braking systems has heightened public awareness of highway safety. According to a 1992 study, “recent trends in consumer preference for passenger cars with air bags, and vehicles with good safety records, suggests a major shift in the public's concern for safety” (NRC, 1992). The safety issues associated with the PNGV go well beyond simply meeting today's Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. There is extensive public information that equates reduced vehicle weight to reduced safety (OTA, 1995). The large weight reduction achieved in the PNGV vehicle may foster the perception that occupant safety is significantly reduced and result in poor acceptance of PNGV-type vehicles by consumers, even though the minimum safety standards are met. PNGV ACTIVITIES The present statement of Goal 3 safety is as follows: “The target vehicles will meet the efficiency improvement goal while meeting present and future Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards ” (PNGV, 1995). The industry studies presented to the committee did not include any safety considerations beyond meeting present federal standards. The committee noted that the DOT has had minimum participation in the PNGV program and that no research has been identified to develop future standards to specifically address PNGV technology safety concerns. Further, the committee noted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also has had minimum participation in the PNGV program and has not identified research to develop future standards addressing emissions concerns for new PNGV technologies. The committee was briefed by the PNGV on a preliminary study entitled “Infrastructure and Capital Needs Assessment.” A research team from the Argonne National Laboratory and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory discussed first-order effects of PNGV technologies on fuel demand and capital requirements for manufacturing. Studies to assess fuel production and distribution impacts and to estimate fuel-cycle CO2 emissions were stated to be underway, but they were not presented to the committee. The researchers indicated that the general impacts of adopting alternative technologies are known by the PNGV team but that systems analysis is needed to provide additional insights and quantitative results. As discussed in chapter 8, no systems analysis or infrastructure modeling results are currently available.

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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES: SECOND REPORT The committee commends the PNGV on its preliminary infrastructure study and notes that the assessment of the total energy consumption and fuel-cycle CO2 emissions for each PNGV power system alternative will be valuable in comparing each technology on a total-energy-use basis. The Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) program at DOT is an important national initiative that presents an opportunity for enhancing PNGV safety. Several ITS systems are planned for active deployment within the PNGV timeframe. The committee believes that increased interaction between the PNGV and ITS programs would be beneficial. ISSUES The technologies under consideration for the PNGV have the potential to induce large transformations in the highway-vehicle-fuel supply infrastructure. Extensive shifts in requirements for capital labor and natural resources could result. In the absence of detailed analysis, it is not clear that all technology scenarios would lead to the objectives of increased competitiveness, reduced dependency of foreign sources of energy, and lower energy consumption and environmental pollution. The committee identified a need to address considerations associated with infrastructure as an integral part of the PNGV program, concurrent with decisions regarding technology selection. Issues include capital requirements, shifts in employment, global economics of energy and materials production, vehicle safety requirements, total cost of vehicle operation (including insurance and maintenance), and total environmental consequences. Some of the potential infrastructure changes induced by PNGV technology could adversely affect overall U.S. competitiveness, unless the broad resource and infrastructure issues are recognized and resolved. Continuing careful assessment of the infrastructure issues of alternative technologies is an essential part of the technology selection process for the PNGV. The application of PNGV technologies will introduce a myriad of safety and other issues dealing with lightweight materials, energy-storage and conversion systems, and alternative fuels. For example, new questions relating to recycling of materials or vehicle designs to provide PNGV owners the same safety level as the owners of competing conventional vehicles were not defined at the time of this review. The stark absence of active participation by DOT in addressing and resolving PNGV transportation policy and safety issues is of concern to the committee. Early involvement of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would be beneficial since future federal standards relating to Goal 3 vehicles may be anticipated.

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REVIEW OF THE RESEARCH PROGRAM OF THE PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES: SECOND REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS Recommendation. The PNGV must continue to address infrastructure issues as an integral part of its program. A careful assessment of infrastructure issues associated with alternative technologies should be an essential part of the technology selection process scheduled for 1997. Recommendation. The PNGV should immediately involve DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in addressing and resolving the safety issues raised by Goal 3 vehicles. REFERENCES ETF (Eno Transportation Foundation, Inc.). 1994. Transportation in America, 12th Edition. Lansdowne, Virginia: ETF. FHWA (Federal Highway Administration). 1994. Highway Statistics 1993. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). 1995. Registered Passenger Cars and Light Trucks. USDOT HS 808 235. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Transportation. NRC (National Research Council). 1992. Automotive Fuel Economy—How Far Should We Go? Energy Engineering Board, NRC. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. OTA (Office of Technology Assessment). 1995. Advanced Automotive Technology: Visions of a Super-efficient Family Car. OTA-ETI-638, U.S. Congress, OTA. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. PNGV (Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles). 1995. Program Plan (draft). Washington, D.C.: PNGV.