Proposal for an Air Pollution Measuring Study Along the Hamburg-Munich Corridor of the Autobahn

 

Issued by EnviroTech Solutions, Inc. in response to a Request for Proposal by the German Autobahn Authority

 

 

 

 

 

EnviroTech Solutions, Inc.

EnviroTech Solutions is one of the foremost names in combating environmental problems. As the name of our corporation suggests, we combine the latest in technology in order to provide solutions for todayís pollution problems. EnviroTech also provides over 30 years of experience and expertise in the field of environmental technology and pollution abatement.

EnviroTech is based in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States. Our history began here in Pittsburgh where we helped reduce the amount of pollutants, most notably a 74% reduction in PM10 and a 37% reduction in SOx gasses within a period of 8 years, in the environment of previously, one of Americaís most polluted cities. Our success is evident across the nation as well as internationally. We designed one of the worldís most revolutionary pollution monitoring systems in California, which provided the state with enough information to produce feasible legislation. Our international accomplishments can be seen from Taiwan to Brazil to Indonesia, where we have alternatively helped provide solutions to industrial pollutants and provided consultation to environmental crises.

EnviroTech views each project as unique. We attempt to provide the most dynamic, cost effective, efficient, and accurate systems to our clients. We must note that we do not produce our own technologies. The research and development of these technologies are done by affiliated companies in which we have a vested interest. This technology is marketed and licensed under various trade names, but we have unlimited usage rights to these technologies, as we are part owners to these patents. Even though each of these technologies can be found on the market, we provide specialized software that integrate these technologies to meet our clients specific needs. We have strong ties with numerous international industrial leaders, many based in Germany, and can easily acquire the necessary manufacturing equipment. In addition to consulting, we often attempt to provide strategic solutions which in itself, may generate revenue and provide financing for large projects.

 

Objectives

Environmental technology has grown exponentially within the past two decades, as government studies begin to prove the dramatic effects of pollution. This technology, especially relating to automotive issues, has largely been on the side of pollution reduction. Recent advancements include: research towards a zero emissions engine, the electric car, the use of solar energy and the gradual use of natural gas over gasoline. We see these all as possible long term solutions. For the moment, as stipulated by in the request for proposal, we will focus on the monitoring of pollutants along the Hamburg - Munich corridor of the Autobahn.

 

From the GAA RFP, we identified these goals:

From our understanding, here are the following reasons for the resolution of these goals:

    1. The monitoring of current pollutants will give the GAA a basis for the making of future legislation.
    2. The identifying of specific vehicle types will allow the GAA to realize the main polluters and perhaps impose appropriate taxes to the correct vehicle classes.
    3. The differentiating between countries of origins of the vehicles will allow the GAA to place taxes on the particular vehicles, instead of having German drivers receive the brunt of the taxes.

 

Possible Remedies

The monitoring of pollutants can be accomplished using many technologies. Current technology runs from remote sensing devices that simply detects whether the emissions of a certain vehicle exceed certain levels to complex systems which monitor the levels and movements of certain gases using satellite technology. The most probable technology used will probably be simply a sensor that detects the levels of certain pollutants.

One of the requirements stipulated in the request for proposal were that the sources of pollutants be identified. This poses a more difficult question to answer. Using simple algorithms, it can be rather elementary to extrapolate the pollution from the estimated amounts and types of vehicles that travel on the Autobahn. This is the cheapest way to do it, although the numbers cannot be as reliable. Technologies available for vehicle detection range from Passive Acoustic Arrays (manufacturer: AT&T, model: SmartSonic TSS-1) to Narrow Beamwidth Microwave Radars (Electronic Integrated Systems, RTMS-X1) which detect the speed, number of vehicles, and the amount of occupants in the vehicle to Video Image Processors (Sumitomo, IDET-100) which can detect the number of vehicles, presence, occupancy, speed, classification based on length, as well as some traffic density functions. These technologies tend to have a rather high initial investment, but can provide continuous analyzing capabilities.

The most difficult issue to resolve is the differentiating between the countries of origins of the vehicles. Since a vehicle from Germany looks identical to a vehicle from France, the only practical way to differentiate between these vehicles is by visual identification. One other way to get around this problem is by marking every German vehicle, thus by noting vehicles that donít have this special identification, we would assume that the vehicle is not of German origin. The resolution of this problem leads us to the idea of a toll system. This system would not be a typical toll system, but would provide Germany one of the most centralized data banks of vehicular information in the world. This would provide a basis of which to charge each vehicle on the Autobahn, this will be discussed more in depth later in the proposal.

 

Feasible Solutions

Prior negotiations indicated that the GAA would like to avoid heavy construction and any radical change in existing legislature. Unfortunately, if we were to fulfill each of the three main objectives, some sacrifices will have to be made. Our principal, and recommended, solution revolves around a toll system. We recommend that this system be instituted in place of the current vehicular taxing system. Currently, every vehicle is taxed based on engine capacity, with exemptions and reduction available for motor vehicles conforming to clean air requirements. Under this system, the upkeep of the Autobahn is unfairly borne by German drivers, while foreign vehicles are free to drive and pollute. This system would include a method to monitor pollution, a method to survey most drivers for statistical data and a method for differentiating German vehicles from foreign vehicles. The institution of this system would require a large capital and time(in the form of construction) investment, however, the GAA might view the benefits as outweighing the costs. This is system would provide the most detailed numbers for analyzation.

If the GAA remains adamant regarding their prior stance, we propose a Video Image Processing (VIP) system. This system would include a way to monitor pollution and provide a general estimate of the types of vehicles causing the pollution. The one thing that cannot be accomplished using this system is differentiating German and foreign vehicles. This system requires very low capital and time investment, however, the data collected will not be as precise.

The decision is up to the GAA, of whether the data from the final objective of differentiating the countries of origins of each vehicle outweighs the inconveniences of the toll system.

 

Monitoring the Environment

Our solution to the first objective is independent of the solutions of the other two objectives. This allows the GAA to compare the various costs of the latter two objectives and to decide on an avenue without impacting the main objective, of monitoring the pollution along the Autobahn.

The most efficient and accurate way to monitor pollutants is by using ambient air analysis. This method uses monitors of various sorts which detect local pollutants, record the amounts and types of pollutants in a data logger, and transmits the information back to a central data processing center at set intervals of time (perhaps once a month). This technology of pollutant detection is not new and is available worldwide, but we are able to provide the most accurate data available.

Since the main source of pollution will be from car emissions, we will focus mainly on the following pollutants: Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Particulate Matter(PM10), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCís). The production of each monitor will be approximately $40,000. The general upkeep for each monitor has been estimated at approximately $240 per year. The confidence level of each detector could be modified for higher confidence readings, but would require an increase in initial price (approximately $5000 per detector) as well as an increase in costs for future maintenance (approximately $400 per year). The equipment is mounted in housings which resemble cement blocks, which provides protection from the elements, vandalism, as well as from minor car accidents. The equipment necessary for the logging of data as well as the transmission of the data to a central data processing center will cost approximately $6,000 per monitor. The data will be transmitted in the following manner:

-Each data logger will be connected by a telephone wire.

-The installation fees should be nominal since we can add on to the existing telephone hardware found on the Autobahn.

-A remote system will reach the data logger via modem and will request the information.

-The data will ultimately be archived in data banks within the central data processing center, and be available for analyzation anytime in the future.

The number of units necessary will depend on the specific terrain of the location. Since this will be a linear framework, it is estimated that each monitor can reliably detect pollutants for 50 miles along the Autobahn. The linear setup also allows an efficient system to collect data, all that is needed the existing network of telephone lines. The exact number would be determined after creating a geographical model of the area and observing the various climatic patterns.

The Toll System

Overview

This system provides the most in-depth statistics that can be garnered. It is also one of the most flexible systems, with an ability to adapt to many circumstances. Booths would be installed at the entrances and exits of the Autobahn. The number installed would depend on the usage, which would be collected from existing data. Briefly, this is the function of the automated toll system:

    1. As the vehicle approaches the toll lane, a windshield-mounted "tag" sends a signal that identifies the vehicle.
    2. As the vehicle passes through the toll lane, and electronic reader communicates with the vehicleís tag. When entering the Autobahn, the toll plaza number is encoded onto the tag. When exiting the Autobahn, the entry toll plaza number is "read" from the tag, the toll is calculated and the information is relayed to a computer containing the customerís account information. The amount of the toll is then deducted from a prepaid account.
    3. If there is no tag on the car or the tag is not valid, then a video camera captures an image of the vehicleís rear license plate. This information is used to issue a violation notice.

 

This system would require the issuance of passes. These passes are basically radio transceivers with minor programmable calculation functions, the cost of production of these passes are minimal, estimated to be less than $10 per unit. Initial costs could either be deferred by charging a small fee for the usage of the unit or could be absorbed as an operating expense and capitalized as an asset for future services to be rendered. The cost for each reader would be approximately $10,000. The amount of readers that would be installed would depend on usage of the particular exit. It is estimated that there are approximately 200 exits along the corridor. After deducing a number from the usage of each exit and the number of total exits, it is estimated that 450 readers will have to be installed. The installation of a network for the system of readers would cost approximately $2,000,000, and require the usage of the current network of phone lines to transmit the data back to the central data processing center. The installation of human inhabited toll booths would run about $500,000 per toll booth. If usage warranted additional manned toll booths, each toll booth would cost about $300,000 on top of the $2,000,000 necessary to set up a network of air ducts, cables, and other necessities. Since there are approximately 200 exits, we will need two toll booths for each exit (one for entering the highway and one for exiting the highway), we estimate that about 450 toll booths will be required, as we assume that there will be a few heavily used exits that will require a toll plaza.

 

Usage and Functions

To encourage usage of this system, interested parties would be given discounts. Each driver who desires a tag will be required to fill out a survey which will ask various questions. The data could include basic information identifying the driver, the main reasons for commuting on the Autobahn, the type of car to be driven on the autobahn, a list of improvements made on the car since its purchase, as well as data regarding its last emissions test. The last piece of data could instead be gathered through an integration of existing data banks (from drivers license registration and emissions testing results). When identified, the appropriate amount would be deducted from the owners account. Passes can be obtained by German citizens as well as foreigners.

The price to be paid by the vehicle would depend on the size of the vehicle as well as the emissions levels of the vehicle. The larger the vehicle (logically, the more pollution the vehicle would produce) the more the vehicle would be charged, and the more pollutants that are emitted by the vehicle, the more the vehicle would be charged. Modeled after existing legislation, exemptions and reductions would be made to cars that meet or exceed current clean air requirements. Using this method, we can easily keep track of the amount of vehicles, the types of vehicles, as well as the origins of the vehicles traveling on the Autobahn. This also provides fair method of taxing users of the Autobahn based on their usage. This might require a change in current pollution taxing legislation, as it would be unfair to tax drivers twice. Those drivers that opt not to use the toll system will be charged a higher toll based on the size of their vehicles. A possible system of classification could be: Cars, Vans, Motorcycles, Buses, Light trucks and Heavy trucks (which would be charged based on the number of axles). They can either pay by having a toll booth to themselves where they are greeted by a clerk, or by having a machine which accepts special tokens. Obviously this would cause some vagueness imprecise readings and calculations, but we estimate (from prior experience) that these numbers will decrease exponentially after the adaptation of the system. Previous cases have shown that within a years time, 85% of travelers will have adapted to the tolling system.

Construction of the toll system could be modified so that disruption to traffic is minimal. Depending on the size of the exit, construction time would vary. For a small exit, construction can be accomplished in 2-4 days, for larger toll plazas, construction can take up to a month. Although construction may take a month, it might not be necessary for the exit to close for a month, since we can just close part of the exit, or divert traffic to a temporary exit. The installation of new toll booths would require the installation of a network of ducts and cables.

 

The Video Image Processing System

Overview

The VIP system integrates the use of digitized video clips and software that does the necessary analyzation required. This equipment detects vehicles running on the road and calculates traffic flow parameters executing image processing on video signal from ITV cameras installed high on road sides. The calculated traffic flow parameter can be transmitted back to the data processing center using a similar system of communications as noted before (via modem). The VIP system can count the amount of passing vehicles, the occupancy of the vehicles, the speed of the vehicles, classification of the vehicle based on its length, as well as provide some calculations of traffic flow.

Vehicle detection is processed at high speed by the adoption of standard luminance difference method which recognizes a vehicle by difference between road surface standard luminance at the measurement sample point and the luminance of an input image. This system can also detect such an abnormal vehicle that runs spanning across two adjacent lanes since the measurement sample point can be set arbitrarily in the measuring area specified on the image. Another benefit of this system is that it requires no road closure for its installation or maintenance since the ITV camera is placed on the side of the read. This allows easy introduction of the equipment into the Autobahn.

 

Function Specifications

 

Vehicle Detection Function

The system initially sets a point within the sample space for measurement. The system then detects a vehicle by three-value processing with luminance difference at measuring the sample point between the road surface standard and the input image so as to extract the car features. The standard road surface luminance is changed depending on environmental conditions such as weather and time of the day. In nighttime, such bright points as tail lamps or headlights are used as features for vehicle detection.

 

Traffic Parameter Measuring Functions

The following can be determined from the results of the vehicle detection function:

 

    1. Traffic volume objects recognized as cars more than twice in the measuring area are counted to constitute the running traffic volume.
    2. Vehicle velocity is calculated from distance between the two measuring points detected in the measuring area (the maximum distance if the measuring point is more than two) and the vehicleís passing time at that point.

 

Central Output Functions

The system will issue a renewed output of measurement result of the traffic parameters every five minutes to the remote monitor controller. Output on the performance conditions is issued at the time of occurrence of abnormality. Substances of the output include:

    1. Traffic volume (the latest five minutes value)
    2. Velocity (the average velocity in the latest five minutes)
    3. Performance conditions (either the system is normal or abnormal)

 

Abnormality Processing Functions

The system shall detect occurrence of either of the abnormalities listed below:

    1. Stop of image signal input from the ITV camera
    2. Stop of measuring processing
    3. Abnormality of power supply

 

Initial setting function

The system shall be provided with initial setting function of system constant parameters necessary for measurement of traffic parameters by connection of maintenance equipment to this system.

 

Constant parameters setting function

The system shall set such constant parameters as those for the measuring area from conditions in the front panel or maintenance equipment.

 

Monitor display function

The system shall display the following on the measuring unit:

    1. Sensing monitor Vehicle sensing shall be indicted with a lamp for each lane.
    2. Speed monitor The system displays vehicle velocity in three integral figure (km/h) when it is measured in the predetermined lane.
    3. Abnormality monitor The System shall light the lamp when there is some abnormality in such things as performance of the measuring unit or image signal from the camera.

 

Other functions

    1. The system shall be provided with function displaying measuring area, picture processing screen, etc. by connection of the monitor TV.
    2. The system shall be provided with function for collection of the newest results of intermediate processing, error information , etc., by connection maintenance equipment.

 

Usage

The VIP system mainly outputs the average amounts of the measurements, thus it is not necessary to use too many sensors. Statistically, the more detectors that are used, the more accurate the data will be. We estimate that placing a camera approximately every 20 miles will ensure precise numbers. Each camera costs approximately $25,000. Each camera can cover up to 4 lanes. Calculating one every 20 miles, and one in each direction, gives us a total estimated usage of 40 cameras. Annual maintenance of the equipment will cost about $200 per camera. The information can likewise be communicated to central data processing via modem.

 

Conditions on the Use of our Technology and Technology Transfer

We grant the GAA authority to apply our technology only under our approbation. There will be no licensing fee, since that will be included within our consulting fees. The technology granted into the use of the GAA shall remain confidential, as to prevent exploitation of trade-secrets and prevent the compromise of the technology from its protected status. The GAA must keep the licensed technology confidential for a period of two years during which it must maintain confidentiality which will be comparable to the useful life of the trade secret. Additionally we request that the German government restrict the usage of the application of our technology to strictly environmental purposes. If in any case, the German government attempts to replicate similar technology in which it will profit, the licensing period may be terminated short of the normal license period. Moreover, we ask the as the licensor, we may seek a right to use the new technology without compensation in exchange for the rights of building off of our technology. Infringement of this agreement will be brought under the judgment of the GATT Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) and will be considered under GATT in a way similar to violations of other trade agreements. We reserve that any controversy or claim that shall arise out of this agreement or breach thereof would be referred to arbitration before the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

 

Consultation and Compensation

The use of toll booths on exits and entrances to the Autobahn will allow the collection of revenue that can be used in the future to solve pollution problems within the highway system and elsewhere. Toll booths can be produced rather cheaply and quickly, hence decreasing the time for exit congestion needed for the installation of the booths.

Furthermore, in the long run, after statistical analysis, particular vehicles can be charged according to how much pollution they produce. Removing the current Pollution Tax and changing the system to charging the toll according to the negative eternality, due to the pollution to the community, will improve the societies economical efficiency because each car driver will pay according to their willingness-to-pay for the pollution they cause. Therefore, only those who really need to use the Autobahn will use it and pay for it, whereas those who do not need it will not pay as they do not pollute. This toll charging concept will allow a fairer and just society, where those who do not pollute are not charged, while those who do are charged according to the cost of pollution to the community. It is clear that the exact pricing of the toll cannot be implemented in the short run, as extensive statistical analysis must first be made in order to separate automobiles that create different levels of pollution. The system will enable firms and civilians that use land transportation extensively via the Autobahn replace, in their self-interest, highly polluting vehicles with environmentally-friendly ones in order to reduce operating costs that have incurred after the implementation of the selective toll charging system.

We feel that for the needs of the GAA, the best solution is the toll system. This system would provide the most feasible way to accomplish the above objectives. As with all products, quality comes at a premium cost. If selected, we will request a $500,000 principal payment which would cover all costs incurred until the start of the contract. Subsequent compensation will be pro-rated at $10,000 per hour of consultation. We estimate that after the initial setting up, we will provide 10 to 20 hours of consultation per month. The initial setup would include the manufacturing of necessary equipment, installation of monitoring equipment, building of a data processing center, as well as the networking of the equipment. This will require approximately eight months, with constant consultation (estimated at 50 hours a week). The consultation would include training a staff for the data processing center, the provision of comprehensive reference manuals based on the equipment, the analyzing of data, recommendations for solutions, as well as anything else the GAA requests of EnviroTech.

We hope that the GAA finds EnviroTech sufficiently qualified for the task. With the talents and resources available from EnviroTech, we are confident that you will be impressed by our services. Please feel free to contact us at the following addresses regarding any questions or clarifications:

 

Norman Mok, Chief Strategic Officer, mok+@andrew.cmu.edu

Manhee Jina Kim, Legal Consultant, mjkim+@andrew.cmu.edu

Mirika Nakayama, Engineering Consultant, mirika+@andrew.cmu.edu

Alonzo Lee, Engineering Consultant, apl+@andrew.cmu.edu