route E - National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Team Members 
Principal Investigator: Jacob Holden
Entrepreneurial Lead: Clement Rames
Industry Mentor: Joshua Foss

Technology Description

Mobility apps such as Google Maps provide navigation based on traffic conditions, aiming to minimize travel time at the individual and system levels. Green Routing would co-optimize travel time and energy use bringing both economic (fuel savings) and environmental (emissions reductions) benefits to their users. Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Lyft or Uber could present a more compelling value proposition to the cities they serve if they systematically adopted green routes. With their very high annual mileage, green routing would lead to significant fuel savings for TNC drivers. Finally, electric vehicle (EV) adoption has been hindered by “range anxiety”. An accurate estimate of the energy required for a given trip would alleviate range anxiety, improving the experience of EV drivers. EV-specific green routing could also incorporate public charging stations in the itinerary. Choosing routes requiring the least energy could significantly reduce the overall energy use of the transportation sector. A study of a large travel survey dataset revealed that 31% of routes driven could be more energy-efficient. Ongoing validation work at NREL shows that choosing a greener alternative to these routes would yield a 12% fuel saving, while being faster than those actually driven 2/3rd of the time.