The routes and schedules of public transit, the presence or absence of sidewalks, the availability of different transportation options, and the design of highways that have divided cities—these are examples of aspects of transportation systems that can profoundly impact underserved communities’ access to basic needs like jobs, healthcare, education, and even food.
The next generation of electric vehicle batteries, with greater range and improved safety, could be emerging in the form of lithium metal, solid-state technology. But key questions about this promising power supply need to be answered before it can make the jump from the laboratory to manufacturing facilities, according to U-M researchers.
Despite widespread calls for a just transition to cleaner, more resilient energy systems, there isn’t a standardized measurement framework for evaluating the equity of clean energy programs. As a result, utility administrators, regulators, and energy advocates have been judging equity on an ad hoc basis. The Urban Energy Justice Lab at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability announced a new program aimed at addressing this gap.
There is much unknown about the impact of roads on pollinating insects such as bees and to what extent these structures disrupt insect pollination — essential to reproduction in many plant species.
U-M will achieve carbon neutrality across all greenhouse gas emission scopes, committing to geothermal heating and cooling projects, electric buses, the creation of a revolving fund for energy-efficiency projects and the appointment of a new executive-level leader, reporting to the president, focusing on carbon neutrality-related efforts.
Three projects have been selected to receive funding through the Graham Sustainability Institute’s catalyst grants, which provide support for small-scale, collaborative, interdisciplinary sustainability research. The projects seek to, respectively, improve urban stream quality in Washtenaw County and beyond, convert alleys in Detroit into net-zero community spaces, and protect nail salon workers from toxic exposure.
As the deadline approaches for Canadian oil company Enbridge to shut down a 4.5-mile section of the Line 5 pipeline that runs beneath Lake Michigan, U-M engineering researchers offered insights into how the company might go about doing that, and also how they might construct a tunnel under the lakebed for a replacement section of the line.
Thanks to focused conservation efforts, tiger numbers have rebounded in some parts of their range. In Nepal, for example, the wild tiger population has nearly doubled from 121 in 2009 to 235 in 2018. But a road-building boom in Asia could undo this progress.
As we move toward a cleaner transportation sector, a new $2 million project at U-M aims to develop easier and more cost-effective ways to make recyclable lightweight automotive sheet metals.
How will fluctuating water levels across the Great Lakes impact the growth of cities, people moving to the region, changes in water supply and the overall economy? Professor Drew Gronewold is working with researchers across U-M to answer those critical questions.
The Biden administration is proposing a massive infrastructure plan to replace the nation’s crumbling bridges, roads and other critical structures. But to make those investments pay off, the U.S. will need designs that can endure the changing climate.
Larissa Larsen, associate professor of urban and regional planning and director of the urban and regional planning doctoral program at Taubman College, faced a skeptical audience when she started sounding the alarm on climate change and particularly the issue of extreme heat in 2000. In 2006, she co-authored an article that was the first to document that lower-income and communities of color were disproportionately impacted by the urban heat island.
The President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality at the University of Michigan has submitted its final report, which contains recommendations to help the university achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The report includes 50 recommendations that U-M could take to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions across the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses.
As robots and autonomous systems are poised to become part of our everyday lives, the University of Michigan and Ford Motor Company are opening a one-of-a-kind facility where they’ll develop robots and roboticists that help make lives better, keep people safer and build a more equitable society.
The country that produces 10% of the world’s crops is now the world’s largest consumer of groundwater, and aquifers are rapidly becoming depleted across much of India.
The Carbon Neutrality Acceleration Program at U-M’s Graham Sustainability Institute has awarded research grants to seven projects aimed at reducing net carbon emissions. The first round of funding was awarded to projects that investigate groundbreaking energy-storage and carbon-capture technologies, innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions in agriculture, and new options for lowering the carbon footprint of U-M student diets.
A study published by U-M researchers quantifies the air pollution that impacts Latinx communities in California due to beef production. The study focuses on Costco's beef supply chain in California and explores the environmental impacts of air pollution resulting from beef production in the San Joaquin Valley, a region that has some of the worst air quality in the United States.
One of the big contributors to climate change is right beneath your feet, and transforming it could be a powerful solution for keeping greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. Concrete is one of the most-used resources on Earth, with an estimated 26 billion tons produced annually worldwide.
General Motors announced Thursday, January 28, that it would eliminate gasoline and diesel powered engines in their passenger cars, vans, and SUVs by 2035. They also pledged to make their factories carbon neutral by 2040. In an interview, the U-M Ford School’s Barry Rabe commented on the gravity of GM’s decision, saying, “This is a very significant pivot (...) especially for such an iconic American institution.”
Professor Joan Nassauer is co-PI with U-M Environmental Engineering Professor Branko Kerkez on a $1.8 million NSF grant to develop “the internet of water.” They are part of a team of engineers, design and social scientists, computer scientists, and environmental experts working in tight collaboration with decision-makers and citizens across four communities in Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, and Virginia.
The Mcity OS software, which lets researchers create and execute complex, highly repeatable testing scenarios for vehicles that are connected, automated or both has been licensed by the U-M Office of Technology Transfer to the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti.
Robert Hampshire, associate professor at U-M's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, whose research and policy engagement focuses on understanding the societal, climate and equity implications of autonomous and connected vehicles and other innovative mobility services, has joined the Biden administration to work in the U.S. Transportation Department.
In the 2010s, global conditions including increasing temperatures, worsening income inequality, and insufficient access to social services catalyzed improved community building and localized solutions for climate-related challenges. This led to the conceptualization of resilience hubs—spaces that support residents and aid in distribution of resources before, during, and after a climate-related stressor.
Two U-M experts are investigating “informal green spaces” across Detroit. Such spaces, sometimes referred to pejoratively as ‘vacant lots,’ have emerged across the city in part because of cuts to public services. These areas now serve as homes for spontaneous vegetation, better known as weeds, which tend to thrive in such urban, resource-depleted environments.
Sarah Mills, senior project manager at the Center on Local, State, and Urban Policy, and Michael Craig, assistant professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability, have been selected for a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. The two will research how rural communities in the Great Lakes region learn about and decide whether to zone for utility-scale solar.
The President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality, charged with recommending scalable and transferable strategies for U-M to achieve net-zero emissions, has released its preliminary draft recommendations for public comment. The draft report includes a collection of steps that U-M could take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the Flint, Dearborn and Ann Arbor campuses, including Michigan Medicine.
Diverting urine away from municipal wastewater treatment plants and recycling the nutrient-rich liquid to make crop fertilizer would result in multiple environmental benefits when used at city scale, according to a new UM-led study. Researchers found that urine diversion and recycling led to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, freshwater consumption and the potential to fuel algal blooms in lakes and other water bodies.
Methane is the primary component of natural gas, a greenhouse gas with 34 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. More than one percent of methane in the U.S. supply chain escapes into the atmosphere, much of which is caused by degraded pipes and loose-fitting components during distribution of natural gas. Ford School professor Catherine Hausman’s research has been cited as the primary influence of a law that passed in Washington state to address the problem.
Some Detroiters spend up to 30% of their monthly income on home energy bills, a sky-high rate that places the city among the Top 10 nationally in a category that researchers call household energy burden. The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the situation, adding financial challenges that make it increasingly difficult for many low- and moderate-income residents to pay their utility bills.
Today’s automobiles rely heavily on the extraction of virgin raw materials for manufacturing and fossil fuels for vehicle operation. However, industry investment in vehicle electrification will lead to greater renewable energy use, and manufacturers are reducing reliance on virgin raw materials by increasing recycled content.
Bendable concrete makes infrastructure safer, extends its service life and reduces maintenance costs and resource use.
Help citizens help themselves. That’s the intent behind neighborhood resilience, a planning initiative in which communities become climate resilient in order to more effectively respond to and rebound from natural or other disasters.
By using a biological system to capture phosphorus from agricultural runoff, U-M researchers have created a process that would allow treatment plants to remove it from wastewater in a concentrated form that can then be reused as fertilizer.
Most of the environmental impacts of many consumer products, including soft drinks, are tied to the products inside, not the packaging, according to U-M environmental engineer Shelie Miller.
A new study provides strong evidence that exposure to light pollution alters predator-prey dynamics between mule deer and cougars across the intermountain West, a rapidly growing region where nighttime skyglow is an increasing environmental disturbance.
Discussions of the growing plastic waste problem often focus on reducing the volume of single-use plastic packaging items such as bags, bottles, tubs and films. But a new U-M study shows that two-thirds of the plastic put into use in the U.S. in 2017 was used for other purposes, including electronics, furniture, building construction, automobiles and various consumer products.
U-M is a partner in a major mobility initiative Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced to develop a first-of-its-kind corridor for connected and autonomous vehicles. The first phase of the project is a feasibility assessment to test technology and explore the viability of a 40+-mile driverless vehicle corridor between Downtown Detroit and Ann Arbor.
The extent of Southeast Michigan’s tree canopy and its urban sprawl both increased between 1985 and 2015, according to a new U-M study that used aerial photos and satellite images to map individual buildings and small patches of street trees.
Pipelines that run beneath our feet, some as old as the cities they service, are often far past their intended lifespan and the need for replacing them looms as an expense most municipalities can’t afford.
The homes of wealthy Americans generate about 25% more greenhouse gases than residences in lower-income neighborhoods, mainly due to their larger size. In the nation’s most affluent suburbs, those emissions can be as much as 15 times higher than in nearby lower-income neighborhoods.
Concurrent failures of federal drinking water standards and Michigan’s emergency manager law reinforced and magnified each other, leading to the Flint water crisis, according to Sara Hughes, an assistant professor at U-M's School for Environment and Sustainability.
The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation at U-M recently awarded a combined $710,000 to eight high-tech, early-stage projects from a pool of applications received from Michigan universities this cycle. Projects aim to tackle market needs, offering ways to increase the efficiency, safety and sustainability of moving people and goods.
Heating and cooling is the largest consumer of energy in American homes and commercial buildings. A group of U-M researchers has developed a solution that could provide more efficient, more personalized comfort, completely doing away with the wall-mounted thermostats we’re accustomed to.
A new U-M Center for Sustainable Systems (CSS) study published in Transportation Research Part D examines the life cycle greenhouse gas impacts of a connected and automated SUV and van. Existing studies that evaluate the environmental impacts of CAV light-duty passenger cars or sedans and little is known about its impact on sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and vans.
Mcity has joined the International Alliance for Mobility Testing & Standardization (IAMTS). IAMTS is a global, membership-based alliance of stakeholders in the testing, standardization and certification of advanced mobility systems and services.
At a forum convened by the House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on June 1, Daniel Raimi, Ford School lecturer, testified about the feasibility of capping some 56-thousand such oil and gas wells.
China is the world’s largest emitter of climate-altering carbon dioxide gas, generated by the burning of fossil fuels. A new study details the links between China’s exports and its emissions by mapping the in-country sources of carbon dioxide emissions tied to products consumed overseas.
Nearly 15,000 miles of new Asian roads will be built in tiger habitat by mid-century, deepening the big cat’s extinction risk and highlighting the need for bold new conservation measures now, according to a new U-M study.
By 2021, 15 percent of Michigan’s energy will come from renewable sources, creating statewide economic impact of $6.3 billion. The wind turbines in the state have steadily grown since 2008, when the first turbine was set up. Michigan is now home to 1,100 wind turbines.
A new U-M-led survey of West African lions—believed to be the largest wildlife camera survey ever undertaken in West Africa and the first carried out within WAP Complex national parks and hunting concessions—found that lions show no statistically significant preference between parks and trophy-hunting areas.
Households that are unable to meet their energy needs—such as heating, cooling, and electric—are known as “energy poor.” But despite the prevalence of energy poor households in the U.S, energy poverty is not recognized as a distinct problem on the federal level. This results in limited responses—and little assistance—to households in need.
Most of the cities in Michigan will be dealing with harsh consequences of climate change, and vulnerable groups who are disproportionately affected by it will continue to do so now and into the future, according to a new U-M study.
The University of Michigan Solar Car team took third place at this year’s Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia, the only American team to cross the finish line among more than 40 contenders.
In what is believed to be the first comprehensive study of unofficial footpaths in a large urban area, U-M's Joshua Newell and colleague Alec Foster of Illinois State University mapped 5,680 unofficial footpaths in the city of Detroit—that's 157 linear miles of trails—visible from space.
Using an instrumented airplane, a team of researchers led by U-M has found unexpectedly large emissions over five major cities along the East Coast—twice the EPA’s estimate for methane and almost 10 times the estimate for natural gas.
Deploying a fleet of electric autonomous taxis in a city could result in an 87 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional vehicular travel, according to a new UM-led study.
Although shrinking cities exist across the U.S., they are concentrated in the American Rust Belt and the Northeast. Urban shrinkage can be bad for drinking water in two ways: through aging infrastructure and reduced water demand.
Research led by the U-M Water Center explores nutrient loading sources and promising best management practices that can improve water quality in the St. Clair-Detroit River System, and ultimately Lake Erie.
Flying cars would be especially valuable in congested cities, or in places where there are geographical constraints, as part of a ride-share taxi service, according to researchers from U-M’s Center for Sustainable Systems and from Ford Motor Company’s Research and Advanced Engineering team.
Wild bees are indispensable pollinators, supporting both agricultural productivity and the diversity of flowering plants worldwide. But wild bees are experiencing widespread declines resulting from multiple interacting factors. A new U-M led study suggests that the effects of one of those factors—urbanization—may have been underestimated.
Smart stormwater controls using water quantity and quality data from agricultural or urban runoff, coupled to weather forecasts, can manage drainage and discharge in receiving waters, thus reducing the need for expensive grey infrastructure systems.
A community armed with that real-time data could move more quickly to prevent flash-flooding or sewage overflows, which represent a rising threat to property, infrastructure and the environment. Coupled with “smart” stormwater systems, municipalities could potentially take in data from connected vehicles to predict and prevent flooding.
Augmented reality technology can accelerate testing of connected and automated vehicles by 1,000 to 100,000 times, and reduce additional testing costs — beyond the price of physical vehicles — to almost zero, according to a new white paper published by Mcity.
Anya Sirota, an associate professor of architecture at the U-M Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, has been working more than four years to help make the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm self-sufficient and sustainable.
The Global CO2 Initiative aims to reduce the equivalent of 10 percent of current atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions annually by 2030. That’s roughly 4 gigatons that could potentially be converted into concrete and other construction materials, fuels, and carbon fiber for use in lightweight vehicles and fabrics.
The day when cars can talk to each other – and to traffic lights, stop signs, guardrails and even pavement markings – is rapidly approaching. Driven by the promise of reducing traffic congestion and avoiding crashes, these systems are already rolling out on roads around the U.S.
Autonomous “smart” technologies for aging stormwater systems are being developed at U-M to lessen the impacts of flooding — potentially saving lives and billions of dollars in property damage.
On the former sites of vacant Detroit homes, U-M researchers and their partners have built innovative gardens that help manage stormwater, while removing neighborhood blight. The four new “bioretention gardens” are designed to capture and hold stormwater in a subsurface layer of gravel, while beautifying the Cody Rouge area on Detroit’s west side.