Posts Tagged ‘air quality’

TRB e-circular “Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment” published

Friday, April 18th, 2014

By Mary Ellen Eagan

TRB recently published Circular E-C184: “Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment.” The following summarizes the content of the e-circular.

“Critical Issues in Aviation and the Environment 2014” consists of twelve individually authored sections, representing the authoring experts’ opinions on issues that address the major environmental components affected by aviation activities, sustainable solutions that have evolved and continue to be developed to minimize environmental impacts, and the key processes that link aviation and the environment.

Readers of prior e-circulars in this series may notice that we no longer include a stand-alone section on “sustainability”.  This is because the Committee believes that sustainability is a cross-cutting issue that affects all topics in the environment – it is a way of operating, not an “issue”.  We have added several new topics to this volume:

  1. Natural resource management:  Airports are challenged to address natural resource management issues related to wildlife hazards, natural resource revenue generation (e.g., timber, minerals, energy), and water conservation.
  2. Renewable energy:  this section addresses major issues airports should consider when identifying and developing renewable energy alternatives.
  3. Public Health:  an emerging issue that several airports are facing is the need to develop health impact assessments and health risk assessments to respond to community concerns regarding the impact of airports on communities.

The individually authored sections of this e-circular represent the viewpoints of the attributed authors.  Members and friends of the TRB Environmental Impacts of Aviation Committee have also reviewed and contributed comments to these sections.

Many thanks go to the authors (listed below, by paper):

Environmental Impacts of Aviation on Human and Natural Resources  

  • Noise: Natalia Sizov (Federal Aviation Administration), Brad Rolf (Mead & Hunt), Mary Ellen Eagan (Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc.)
  • Air Quality: John Pehrson (CDM), Warren Gillette (Federal Aviation Administration), Brian Kim (Wyle), Prem Lobo (Missouri University of Science and Technology)
  • Climate Change: Judith Patterson (Science College, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada ), Mohan Gupta (Federal Aviation Administration), Rangasayi Halthore (Federal Aviation Administration), Anuja Mahashabde (The MITRE Corporation, McLean, VA)
  • Water Quality: Dean Mericas (Mead & Hunt), John Lengel (Gresham Smith & Partners), Richard Davis (Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.)

Sustainable Solutions to Address Environmental Challenges

  • Climate Change Adaptation Planning and Preparedness: John Lengel (Gresham, Smith and Partners), Kristin Lemaster (CDM Smith), Judith Patterson (Concordia University), Andrea Schwartz Freeburg (Federal Aviation Administration)
  • Natural Resource Management: Dean Mericas (Mead & Hunt), Sarah Brammell (Environmental Resource Solutions)
  • Renewable Energy: Steve Barrett (Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc.), Bruno Miller (Metron Aviation), Phil Ralston (Port of Portland)
  • Aviation Alternative Fuels Development And Deployment:  Bruno Miller (Metron Aviation), Steve Csonka (CAAFI), Kristin Lewis (Volpe Center/RITA, Jim Hileman (FAA), Mark Rumizen (FAA), Nancy Young (Airlines for America), and John Heimlich (Airlines for America)

Processes and Tools for Implementing Sustainable Solutions

  • Environmental Review under NEPA:  Mary Vigilante (Synergy Consultants), Brad Rolf (Mead & Hunt), John Putnam (Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell), Donald Scata (FAA), Betsy Delaney (First Environment), Barbara Thomson (First Environment)
  • Environmental Management Systems And Sustainability Measurement: Mary Vigilante (Synergy Consultants), Brad Rolf (Mead & Hunt), John Putnam (Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell), Donald Scata (FAA), Betsy Delaney (First Environment), Barbara Thomson (First Environment)
  • Aviation Environmental Modeling Tool Suite:  James Hileman (Federal Aviation Administration), Christopher Roof (USDOT RITA)
  • Research Needs in Public Health In Aviation:  Burr Stewart (Burrst), Andrew Dannenberg (CDC), Brian Kim (Wyle), Daniel Jacob (Federal Aviation Administration)

 

Throwback Thursday (TBT) – HMMH Offices Through the Years

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

by Mary Ellen Eagan

We’ve just gone through a renovation here at HMMH’s world headquarters (the major remaining punch list item is installation of a dart board for our Thursday afternoon beer crowd).  Here’s a look at HMMH’s Boston-area offices since the beginning.

HMMH’s First Office (1981-1983): Lexington, MA

HMMH’s First Boston-Area Office (1981-1983): Lexington, MA

HMMH’s Second Boston-Area Office (1983-1993): Lexington, MA

HMMH’s Second Boston-Area Office (1983-1993): Lexington, MA 

HMMH’s Third Boston-Area Office (1993-2005): Burlington, MA

HMMH’s Third Boston-Area Office (1993-2005): Burlington, MA

HMMH’s Current Headquarters (2005-present): Burlington, MA

HMMH’s Current Headquarters (2005-present): Burlington, MA

 

 

Report from UC Davis Noise and Air Quality Symposium

Friday, February 28th, 2014

First, congratulations to Dan Frazee, 2014 winner of the Walt Gillfillan Award!  Until very recently, Dan was Director of Airport Noise Mitigation at San Diego International Airport where his department oversaw an award-winning residential sound attenuation program, conducted noise data management and led the community Noise Information and Education Program. Previously, he served as Noise Abatement Officer and Airport Operations Officer for the Sacramento County Airport System. He holds an FAA Airline Transport Pilot rating and is an FAA Certified Instrument Flight Instructor. He is also a retired USAF pilot and Army aviator with over 8,000 hours in rotary and fixed wing aircraft and previous work as a military Air Traffic Controller. He holds a BS in Education from The University of North Texas, a MS in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin, and is a Certified Member AAAE, and served as Chair of the Aircraft Noise working Group on the Environmental Services Committee for ACI. More importantly, he is one of the nicest human beings you will ever meet, and a good friend to many of us at HMMH.  We wish Dan all the best in his “retirement”, which promises to be busy. 

Frazee

This year’s symposium featured several new concepts, including a double-track (admittedly, not new, but something that hadn’t been done for a while), and a “Vendor Showcase” for folks to learn about new product offerings.  Session titles included the following:

  • Performance-Based Navigation: An Overview and Experiences
  • NextGen and NEPA
  • Recent Noise Research
  • Fuel Advances and Emissions Reductions
  • Helicopter Noise Issues
  • Noise Office Responses to Air Quality Inquiries
  • Sound Insulation: The Community View
  • A Decade of Research
  • Upcoming Significant Revisions to FAA Order 1050.1E
  • Health Effects of Aviation

I moderated this last one, and want especially to thank Dr. Anna Hansell of Imperial College London, who spoke about her work on the Aircraft Noise and Cardiovascular Disease near Heathrow, and Dr. Sarav Arunachalam of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who talked about his work on health impacts from aviation emissions.  This is a topic we should all monitor closely.

Got PBN?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

by Mary Ellen Eagan

Apologies for the somewhat belated post, but here’s a quick recap of the recent UC Davis Noise and Air Quality Symposium: Navigating NextGen, held March 4-6 in Palm Springs, CA.

The focus of much of the discussion at this year’s symposium was implementation of the FAA’s NextGen Program, the early phases of which are now being rolled out across the country.  This blog has discussed NextGen issues before, but I think this was the first conference I’ve attended that attendees were uniformly focused on finding ways to make implementation a success.

The symposium keynote was delivered by Dennis Roberts of the FAA’s ATO. Dennis is responsible for managing FAA’s Optimization of Airspace and Procedures in the Metroplex (OAPM) “metroplex” projects, a systematic, integrated, and accelerated program to implement satellite based navigation in the aviation system.   HMMH is involved in several of the metroplex projects, including the Houston Metroplex, which is on the President’s Federal Infrastructure Dashboard, which was initiated to monitor the pace of DOT efforts to accelerate major infrastructure projects by improving permitting and environmental review processes, and to improve the accountability, transparency, and efficiency of Federal actions. 

Other sessions focused on providing an overview of NextGen technologies and Performance Based Navigation (PBN) terminology, as well as airport experiences implementing and collaborating with FAA on the implementation of procedures at their airports.  The takeaway message from the entire symposium is that there is an urgent need for airports to get involved with NextGen airspace planning – airports understand local issues and provide a critical link between communities and the FAA.  Many airports have also spent years developing noise abatement programs and must be at the table to ensure that airspace planners understand both the spirit and substance of noise abatement.  As active participants in several of these projects, we at HMMH believe that this collaborative approach will be critical to early success of NextGen.

Presentations for the symposium can be found here (click on the presenter’s name).  Next year’s symposium will be held in Orange County, CA.  Please let me know if you have suggestions for topics for discussion.

Environmental Smackdown – Aviation v. High Speed Rail

Monday, February 14th, 2011

by Mary Ellen Eagan

I’m inspired by a few recent events to pontificate on this subject; those events are:  (1) Joe Biden’s recent remarks on high speed rail (HSR) in the US, (2) Greg Principato’s response, and (3) a recent session at the TRB Annual Meeting: “Environmental Tradeoffs of Aviation and High Speed Rail”.

First, let me be clear:  I do not think that one mode of transportation is “better” than another.  In fact, I’m quite sure that we have a need for both and our focus should be on complementarity, not competition.  That said, high speed rail advocates in the U.S. are making statements that unequivocally claim that high speed rail is “better for the environment”.  But let’s check the facts, as far as I’ve gathered them (admittedly, a somewhat cursory review):

  • Capacity:  Matt Coogan and others have prepared a comprehensive case study of the impact of high speed rail on aviation capacity in ACRP 31:  Innovative Approaches to Addressing Aviation Capacity Issues in Coastal Mega-regions.  They conclude that while introduction of Acela Amtrak service between Boston and New York has reduced passenger traffic by about 1/3, the number of flights between the two cities has dropped by only about six percent – shuttle operators have just adapted by substituting smaller aircraft on those routes to meet the schedule demand.
  • Noise:  Noise assessments for aviation and high speed rail both rely on Day Night Average Sound Level, but the similarities end there.  The FRA’s HSR Guidance Manual determines impact on noise sensitive communities by comparing project levels to existing noise levels to determine two categories of impact (moderate and severe), while the FAA’s Order 1050.1E determines impact by identifying noise-sensitive land uses that are projected to experience an increase in noise of 1.5 dB or more in those areas already exceeding DNL 65.  To make matters even more complicated, people appear to respond differently to aircraft noise than rail noise (they are more annoyed by it); on the other hand, if the rail vehicle in question is moving fast enough to cause startle (i.e., HSR), it’s not clear whether annoyance reaction is more like aircraft than rail.  Ruth Mazer and I gave a presentation at TRB comparing aviation and HSR in the Boston-New York Acela corridor, using both the FRA methodology and the FAA’s Integrated Noise Model.  We estimated that the number of people exposed to Sound Exposure Levels (SELs) from aircraft flying BOS-NYC high enough to cause speech disturbance (85 dB) ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 (depending on runway, flight path, aircraft type, and airport); whereas the number of people exposed to the same level on the BOS-NYC route is 12,000.  On the other hand, there are close to 30 shuttle flights per day in each direction and only 10 trainsets.  Is it better to expose the same 1,000 people to excessive noise 60 times per day or twelve times as many people only 20 times per day? 
Source: EU Position Paper On Dose Response Relationships Between Transportation Noise And Annoyance, 2002

Source: EU Position Paper On Dose Response Relationships Between Transportation Noise And Annoyance, 2002: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/noise/pdf/noise_expert_network.pdf

  • Air Quality:  Mikhail Chester from UC Berkeley also gave a presentation at TRB entitled, “Life-Cycle Assessment of High Speed Rail:  Total Environmental Accounting”, in which he compared the total air quality outputs from automobiles, aviation, and HSR.  LCA includes not just the operation and maintenance of the vehicles, but the infrastructure development and energy production.  Two interesting figures are presented below, which demonstrate that although emissions per passenger kilometer traveled (PKT) is highly dependent on vehicle loading, HSR consistently produces less CO2 than aviation only when it is assumed that the HSR uses “clean” fuel, and is not a clear “winner” over aviation when comparing NOx.  More detail on Mikhail’s research is here.
Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Source: Mikhail Chester, 2011

Lifecycle NOx Emissions, Source: Mikhail Chester, 2011

 

Lifecycle NOx Emissions, Source: Mikhail Chester, 2011

Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Source: Mikhail Chester, 2011

I look forward to your responses, and to seeing some real data – especially noise – on this subject.