Presenters: Jonas Epstein, MS, Environmental Policy and Planning; Trevor McManamon, MS, Sustainable Systems; Maite Madrazo, MS, Sustainable Systems/MBA; Daphne Medina, MS, Environmental Policy and Planning/MBA; Xiaofei (Jeff) Wen, MS, Environmental Informatics
Client: The Kohala Center
Advisers: Jeremiah Johnson and John DeCicco
Residents of Hawai’i Island pay some of the highest rates for electricity and petroleum products among residents of the United States. Moreover, the islands of the Hawaiian archipelago rely almost entirely on imported petroleum fuels for both transportation and energy generation. Though Hawai’i Island has integrated more renewable energy onto its electrical grid than anywhere else in the U.S., the reliance on fossil fuel remains high because more than half the energy demand of the island can be attributed to transportation. Traditionally mass transit systems can be used to increase energy efficiency, as well as energy sustainability; as a result we have designed this project to assess the need for improvements to this system. We will develop suggestions for optimizing the current system, as well as potential alternatives that include the establishment of carpooling and ride-sharing networks that would decrease the number of private vehicles used and thus fuel consumption.
The University of Michigan team was engaged by The Kohala Center to examine and analyze the public transit system of Hawai’i Island. The primary objective of the project is to develop a set of recommendations for the County of Hawai’i focused on high-impact solutions to reduce fossil fuel use in the island’s ground transportation system, while improving accessibility and lowering travel times for commuters.