Transition Engineering of Urban Transportation for Resilience to Peak Oil Risks
Oil resources are finite and production decline is a fact for this century. The question is, why there has been so little policy action? This paper proposes that dealing with the complex changes involved in the transition to oil supply contraction requires new kinds of engineering modeling and analysis. There are no miracle technologies that will mitigate the need for major policy, economic, infrastructure and land use changes. Researchers have the responsibility to develop new methods and tools necessary for policy makers and planners to manage this change in direction. Without the right tools, the policy choice is between denying the problem and hoping for miracles. With the right Transition Engineering tools, the policy choices involve changes in land use, incentives, taxes and investments that efficiently reduce vulnerability and risk, increase adaptive capacity and build resilience. For more than a decade, the research and development program at the Advanced Energy and Material Systems Lab (AEMSLab) has focused on Transition Engineering. The first Transition Engineering project assesses vulnerability and risk to essential activities from oil supply contraction in the near and long term. The risk assessment method employs a probabilistic model of future fuel availability and an impact model of travel behavior adaptation to meet the probable fuel constraint. The second project is to assess travel adaptive capacity of current travel behavior and of the current urban forms using a new kind of travel survey, and to develop adaptation models for different urban development scenarios. Another important analysis is the active mode accessibility of the current urban form. The model uses GIS data and an activity model based on the demographic profile. Future urban form development, technology and infrastructure investments and behavior change are modeled using the strategic analysis method.