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 of a transportation system; as a result the University of Michigan team was engaged by The Kohala Center to examine and analyze the public transit system of Hawai`i Island for potential improvements. 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. Our team completed initial research to gain a background on Hawai`i and its energy and transit challenges, completed data collection and analysis through a research trip to Hawai`i, and designed a set of recommendations for optimizing the current system, as well as potential alternatives that include the establishment of carpooling and ride-‐sharing networks that would employ new business models to help solve some additional transit issues.
CSS Publication Number:
Epstein, Jonas, Maite Madrazo, Trevor McManamon, Daphne Medina and Xiaofei Wen. (2014) “Expanding Transportation Opportunities on Hawai`i Island.” Master's Project, University of Michigan: Ann Arbor 1-139.