How to improve New York’s Subway System? Simplify, simplify.

js5079 – Joshua Strake
Sustainability Topic: Waste (in terms of efficiency), Energy
Link: NYT

I like this article because it gets down to the basic principle of a ‘smart city’ – you use the measurable data of a city to identify where to make improvements, and you go out and make those improvements. You don’t need to improve the ridership of the MTA with some sort of cloud-based ridership benefits app that uses IoT technology to make your blender give you compliments each time you make a smoothie: you can simply fit more people on a subway by making more space. And to make more space you can remove seats. Summary below.

Summary

  • E trains had delay troubles, because of overcrowding on their trains. This manifested primarily in longer loading and unloading times at stations.
  • They determined they could ease the issue of overcrowding by removing some seats from certain E train cars.
    • The seats were removed from the door areas, so more people could fit as well as more easily enter and exit.
  • Each modified train has an increased capacity of around 100 riders.
  • Additional changes to the E line such as equipment replacements are also being accelerated to address the efficiency issues with the service.
  • A result of these changes is: the riders experience less delays, and more are served by the train.
    • Since time can be measured in terms of the opportunity cost of productivity, both of these changes should help the economy.
    • Since the train cars are moving more people per trip, they are increasing their energy efficiency.

Stakeholders:

The MTA

New Yorkers and visitors who use public transit

Businesses whose employees use public transit

Three Next Steps:

1 – Evaluate the impact of the changes. Is the issue of delays being addressed?

2 – Conduct an analysis of other train lines that have similar issues.

3 – Expand the seat removal pilot to these other lines.


Comment on another blog: “Larvae convert food waste”

A very neat idea – another impact the article discusses is that much of conventional fish feed comes from trawling the ocean, a habit that contributes to overfishing. These larvae would help mitigate that effect as well as the food waste.

Smart Tailoring

smart tailoring

Problem: Textile Waste

Textile waste is a major issue in the fashion industry, leading to increased waste material and cluttered landfills, not to mention wasted time, energy and money.

Technology: “10 awesome innovations changing the future of fashion” by Melissa Breyer

A new technology produced by Indian designer, Siddhartha Upadhyaya, called the Direct Panel on Loom (DPOL), also referred to as Smart Tailoring, is way to increase fabric efficiency by up to 15%. It can also reduce lead time by 50%. “By using a computer attached to a loom, data such as color, pattern and size related to the garment is entered, and the loom cranks out the exact pieces — which then just need to be constructed.” With this technology, weaving, fabric cutting, and patterning happen all at once. This process ends up minimizing fabric waste and saves energy and water by 70-80%.

Stakeholders:

Smart Tailoring tech engineers/designers

Technological partners

Investors

Fashion designers

Clothing retailers

Customers

Implementation:

In order to implement this technology on a large-scale, a number of investors need to be introduced

Smart Tailoring should start a campaign marketing the technology to both low-end and high-end textile suppliers, proving that the process could be cheaper in general, save the company money, time and energy

Fashion designers must begin to use the technology to introduce the innovation to the public and encourage its usage down the supply chain i.e. factories and low-end designers/retailers.

Sources:

http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-fashion/10-awesome-innovations-changing-future-fashion.html

http://www.treehugger.com/style/high-tech-meets-low-waste-in-new-computer-generated-eco-fashion.html

 

Dyneema High-tech fiber

 

dyneema

Sustainability Problems:

  1. Heavy airplanes use more fuels and thus emit more carbon dioxide.
  2. Weak cargo nets can break, shift cargo and cause accidents and death.
  3. Weak protection for workers in many industries cause injuries and fatalities.

Technology:

Dyneema is brand cargo nets made of fabric that is made from fibers of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), 15 times stronger than steel, has longer lifecycle but weighs half as much as polyester cargo net. It floats on water. It does not get heavier when wet so it is easy to handle and thus reduces accidents and injury among ramp workers. The use of Dyneema nets cuts the weight of commercial, cargo and military planes, reduces fuel consumption and reduces carbon dioxide emission by 2.5 tons per year per net. Dyneema working gloves are cut-resistant. Dyneema can stop bullets, pull oil tankers and harness the power of wind. Dyneema ropes and slings for fishing, maritime, mining and forestry industries are very strong and lightweight, and help in to work more efficiently and safely.

It is invisible to UV light and thermal imaging devices, can withstand extreme cold and hot temperatures and has high electrical resistance, is fire resistant and self-extinguishing. Dyneema products are costly. Dyneema has longer lifecycle than polyester nets but its cost is four times as more. Dyneema’s high cost hinders it from being used widely in the markets.

Sources:

The Economist, http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21584437-high-tech-fabrics-advances-seemingly-mundane-textile-technologies-promise

How Dyneema Works,  http://science.howstuffworks.com/dyneema.htm

Dyneema, http://www.dsm.com/products/dyneema/en_GB/home.html

 Stakeholders:

Airline companies , police and military workers, Industry workers, forestry, mining, marine industries, policymakers

Implementation:

–  Lobbyist and policymakers should try to lower the cost of this material so that more people can have a grip to this technology.  Although it is used by some industries, most people who would buy other much cheaper but weaker brands thus accidents due to breakage of weak ropes and nets could still occur.

– Governments  in developing countries should work with private investors so that poor people in developing countries can avail of the products thereby solving more energy and safety problems that this technology can address. Dyneema should partner with stakeholder industries and try ways to lower the cost of their products.

–  Further research on this product’s design and increased competition should be addressed to lessen the cost of Dyneema products.