Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sustainable Route Optimization seeks to reduce energy use by finding the shortest route from A to B

by Jack Lundee

From algae-based fuel substitutes to solar energy, finding new ways to reduce our carbon footprint comes forms. Numerous 21st-century findings are aimed at long-term viability for increased efficiency, as to contend with oil companies.  For the moment however, who do we have looking into short-term energy challenges?

Municipal fleets, including city transportation (i.e. – buses), use a heavy amount of energy every year. Much like the military however, we’ve seen a steady decline in the rate at which they consume. Reasons for this may include any of the following:
  • Fewer people traveling
  • People living closer to work
  • Hybrid transportation
Nevertheless, I think most would argue that these slowly declining numbers are part of an attempt to increase fuel efficiency through the direct use of technology. One particular means involves fleet route optimization.

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a phlilanthropic organization created by Doug J. Band, is one instance of a large number of non-profits, corporations, political figures, and that are helping in the work of route optimization. Route optimization can be distinctly defined as an attempt to find the fastest route from point A to B.   (An easy comparison for the average consumer would be the algorithm found in most modern GPS systems.)

In a partnership with San Francisco, ESRI, and NAVTEQ, the CGI  provides a pledge to add in plans to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from fleets in the San Francisco Bay Area through Fleet Route Optimization Software.

This involves anything from buses to work force vehicles. NAVTEQ actually produces digital maps and content that drive navigation- and location-based services solutions worldwide, including:
  • Mobile navigation devices
  • Internet-based mapping applications
  • Government and business solutions
  • Auto navigation systems
Utilizing GIS mapping software, ESRI also helps the user interpret data, further aiding in transportation-based decision-making, reliant on the best information and analysis. Much of this is similar to what the average consumer finds on his/her portable GPS. Furthermore, it’s important to note that this technology has been around and is widely used.

Again, this is comparable to the “alternate routes” feature on most automobile GPS systems. Similarly, Google Maps can simulate different routes with times, distance, etc…

Both ESRI and NAVTEQ hope to provide powerful solutions for technology companies that enforce municipal transportation efforts. Once a seamless integration of communication and navigation has been implemented, transportation will become much more efficient. Again, this is something that has already taken effect and will continue to improve energy efficiency in regards to transportation fuel costs. As we technology progresses and becomes more affordable, individual consumers will begin seeing GPS as longer just an option, but rather a integral part of any vehicle.

  (Jack Lundee is follower of all things green and progressive. Jack has been an involved member of the Green Blogosphere for quite some time now, illustrating his ideas regarding green infrastructure, sustainability, conservation and more.)

No comments:

Post a Comment