A Better Future for the Planet Earth
I. Birth - Childhood
I was born in 1951, the eldest of four children in the north of the State of New York. My father took over a small farm that my grandfather had started after emigrating from Eastern Europe. He worked 14 to 15 hours a day, and in my memory never took a day off. He expanded grandfather's small farm to a big operation, where he housed and raised as many as 40,000 chickens. I respect my father immensely, because he made such a huge success starting from almost nothing. My mother was also a hard worker and helped to expand the farm. My parents both valued education, and even though we were not affluent, they made sure we all got the best education. Currently, one of my brothers works for the U.S. government, the other is a lawyer specialized in immigration, and my sister works for Harvard University, developing educational programs. My parents taught us the importance of studying hard and being responsible.
I was a very shy child and had only a few friends. I didn't even know what to talk about until around five, but I liked reading and riding my bicycle. I learned chess from my uncle around six. I had a very different view of my future from other children at the time. Some might now say that I had foresight, but that's not really true. I simply thought about how to move in the right direction as a human being and a researcher. I never thought specifically about what I would like to be thirty years later. It was only because I was curious about learning and liked school that I ended up teaching at college.
II. As student -Cornell University (1969 - 1973) to University of California, Berkeley (1977 - 1981)
In 1969, I entered Cornell University to study systems analysis and urban planning, as advised by my high school counselor, who recommended that I study engineering because I was good at mathematics. I was interested in urban planning and systems analysis because those subjects covered engineering, technology, and human activities. Majoring in urban planning seemed to be the best choice since I wanted to study how roads, vehicles, and human activities had developed into their current styles. I had a strong interest in society, and wanted to study how engineering related to it. I think of a city as a mixture of a wide variety of things, including human beings, ideas, new technologies, and constant changes. I was strongly attracted to studying the city as a functioning system. It was interesting, too, because, although I was raised in a farming community, I was drawn to studying cities.
Cornell University is an excellent institution with a wide variety of programs taught by great teachers. I entered there at the height of the Vietnam War and learned things about different ethnic groups, politics, and environment that I had never thought before. All these experiences increased my intellectual curiosity and set me on the first steps to my future.
After graduating, I worked for three years. Then, I entered graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. I chose this school because I wanted to live in California and had a strong interest in developing countries. U.C. Berkeley exactly met my expectations since many students and professors from around the world gathered there. One of the professors was a specialist on transportation in developing countries and I wrote a paper on that theme with the professor, my first co-authored publication. Besides transportation engineering, I also studied economics, energy, and environment. For my doctoral dissertation, I picked the theme of alternative energy and alcohol fuel and carried out research, integrating energy, transportation and environmental policy. It was a challenging theme, and formed the foundation of my professional career. When I started my research, the theme attracted wide attention owing to the oil crisis triggered by the Iran-Iraq War. However, by the time my research was yielding results, the enthusiasm for alternative fuel had waned. For about ten years after that, almost no one did research in this area. That was lucky for me, in a way, because there was no one with whom I had to compete.
Besides studying, I got into various hobbies. I was crazy about motorcycle riding and made a three-month trip to Europe with my younger brother. We visited the Alps, Spain, and England. It was an enjoyable trip, except for a scary experience in Hungary and Yugoslavia where the Iron Curtain still existed. I was also committed to various sports such as tennis, squash and skiing, which I had been practicing since high school. I still enjoy them. There are some internationally famous ski resorts in California, such as the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and during winter I chose classes that would allow me to take a ski trip.
III. Ministry of Urban Affairs, Republic of Honduras (1973-1975) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1976 - 1977)
When I finished university, I was unsatisfied. I felt a keen sense that my experience was very limited, and I craved a broader perspective on the world; so I joined the Peace Corps of Honduras and studied Spanish to work outside the English-speaking world. I was also engaged in government work. Since Honduras was an extremely poor country, I faced serious problems and difficulties in working there. At the same time, I faced exciting challenges. My mission as an urban planner was to support urban planning and improvement, but I could not work out how to design an environmentally friendly urban transportation system that would satisfy citizens within the government's limited budget. At present, although drugs and violence flourish in Central America, Honduras was a very calm and peaceful country at that time. I hope I will be able to visit there in the near future.
After two years, I returned home and joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, engaging with issues in transportation and environment. It was 1970, the agency had just been formed, and many idealistic youth worked there, but no one was really sure what to do yet. The United States at that time had more serious environmental issues than it has now. Since there had not been any appropriate environmental protections in place for a long time, serious water and air pollution problems had emerged. Flammable gases caught fire on waterways, and water and poisonous wastes were being dumped just about everywhere.
I joined a U.S. government project to discuss regulations on exhaust gases and clean water that had originated in Europe. I was mainly involved in water purification. Through this mission I became familiar with the extent of water pollution and I helped establish measures to reduce ongoing pollution. However, no one had high-level knowledge in this field then. This work made me keenly aware of my own ignorance, and I decided to further my studies at graduate school. In the 1970s, both Japan and the United States faced wide environmental degradation. They each faced difficult challenges and both countries moved toward protecting the environment.
In 1970, the U.S. Congress passed the Muskie Act which mandated exhaust emission levels for all vehicles in 1975 be set 90 percent lower than those manufactured five years earlier. While American car manufacturers initially protested on the grounds of technical difficulty or cost, Honda embraced the goal and announced their CVCC technology. This reduced harmful substances in exhaust gases significantly and efficiently. Honda proved that the goal was possible and taught us the important lesson that if a company commits to develop new technologies and environmentally friendly systems, the shift to new policies can be made with much less burden.
IV. University of California, Davis (1982 - Present)
Process to Professorship
I wanted to use the knowledge of energy, transportation and environment I acquired at graduate school for the betterment of society. Then, as luck would have it, I heard that the University of California, Davis was looking for a teacher in these subjects. I thought at once, "This is it! Davis has got my job!" I immediately applied for the position, and was hired. In those days, petroleum was inexpensive and there was no energy problem on the horizon. There were also a limited number of researchers in alternative fuel, and this worked in my favor. Although I had not thought of becoming an educator, the job offered pleasant prospects. So, I decided to be a teacher with the thought to change my occupation after two or three years. But as it happened, I found I was very fond of teaching and researching and that Davis was a wonderful university supporting its professors and promoting interdisciplinary research. I have been teaching now for more than 30 years.
Founded the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS)
I wanted to study the relationships between transportation, environment and energy, a topic that no one had thought of in the 1980s. Later, this field of study became established under the rubric "sustainable transportation," and is now taught as an independent subject at many universities. UC Davis was the first to launch research on this theme and, is still I think, the most excellent. I did not have a clear vision, but knew what direction we should take in moving forward. Since the energy problem was extremely important for California, the United States and the world, I thought we should be doing specific research in this field. Accordingly, in 1991, I proposed to establish the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis. It took four years however for Davis to approve the proposal. I was, I see now, a little naïve, as to how difficult it would be to make my proposal a reality.
Generally, university is very conservative. I think that the Catholic Church may be the only institution more conservative than universities. While university professors and faculty are very liberal, they don't like changes. Each department is like a small independent territory where everyone tries to protect their interest. We therefore built a system by which each department and all faculty members might benefit and the reputation of UC Davis raised. We also made efforts to support outside researchers and brought in new graduate students. As a result, the university finally approved our proposal.
I had to first become something of an entrepreneur in organizing the staff I needed. Since the university didn't have sufficient funds, I raised money from the petroleum and automobile industries, from foundations, and from the Transportation Department of the State of California. On a national level, I asked for financial aid from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Energy. All these organizations responded positively and supplied funds in exchange for the high values the ITS was offering. We also developed partnerships with governments, environmental groups and industries outside of the U.S. By the time supportive organizations throughout the world started recognizing the importance of our project, the ITS had already expanded to a significant size. When the world became interested in issues of energy, climate change and sustainable transportation, our activities drew a lot of attention.
The most unique feature of the ITS was its success in creating bonds among industries, government, and environmental groups. To solve energy and climate change issues, we had to develop partnerships and collaborative relationships with internal and external organizations with whom we could jointly address issues. In furtherance of this we launched a project in which all concerned parties participated. You could say I'm a serial academic entrepreneur. Most professors concentrate on researching projects and writing papers, but I tend to seek adventures, which may be a bit unusual in a university professor.
When the ITS was established, most of our staff were my students who had difficulty in finding jobs after obtaining their doctorates. They worked wonderfully. The ITS is a research institution that integrates students from all departments including economics and engineering. It also provides masters and doctoral programs and tailors them to respond to problems that the world faces.
Within individual departments, research is limited to that specific field of study; for example, the Economics Department researches only economics. The ITS, however, provides comprehensive programs that cover ethnology and environmental science derived from engineering. Currently, it has one hundred twenty students, half in the masters and the other half in the doctoral program, fifty professors, and thirty researchers. Although we started with a small fund, we now have an annual budget of 1.5 million U.S. dollars.
Nissan is a founding member and our valuable friend, providing a wide range of support. Also, immediately after establishment, Toyota, Honda, and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. became powerful industrial sponsors. Mr. Watanabe, President of Toyota, is a member of the Advisory Board Committee of ITS. It's easier to collaborate with Japanese automobile manufacturers than their U.S. counterparts since they locate their production headquarters in California and have less resistance to new technologies, policies and small-sized vehicles than U.S. car makers. Our collaboration with Japanese automakers has been further facilitated because they seek U.S. partners to develop markets and they have a strong interest in the environment.
In 1997, I visited Toyota City and realized that Toyota was strongly committed to working on energy and environmental issues. Japanese manufacturers receive a wide range of benefits from partnerships with the ITS as well. Toyota, for example, donated two fuel-cell vehicles to the ITS 11 years ago. We conducted a market survey on this vehicle and generated publicity by exhibiting it at high schools and events along with a technical explanation. We also surveyed the market and the behaviors of Nissan's electric vehicle consumers, and analyzed environmental impacts and technologies to be developed in the future.
Since founding the ITS in 1991, I have established many programs and centers. In 1997, I founded theUC Davis Transportation Technology and Policy Graduate Group. This was followed by a research program on alternative fuels called Sustainable Transportation Energy. Then, I founded the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center, the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center, and the China Center. Recently, I also established the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy. I instituted these because through my experience with policy and politics, I had noticed a wall between the government and universities. In spite that universities had a vast amount of specialized knowledge, universities and government did not interact at all, and the government utilized only a small part of that knowledge. I decided to become a bridge between the university and the government, and have been lobbying the government and congressmen to use the specialized advantages of the university to design better policies. In the future, I plan to work for governments not only in the U.S., but in Asia and Europe.
V. Research on Alternative Fuels and Sustainable Transportation System
Research on Alternative Fuels
When I was a graduate student at UC Berkeley, I became interested in alternative fuels. Petroleum prices rose suddenly due to the breakout of the Iran-Iraq War and although everyone was anxious about petroleum, there were only a limited number of researchers who addressed themselves to solutions. The 39th United States President, Jimmy Carter, proposed a system of synthetic fuel production that could convert charcoal and shale oil into liquid fuels. I also wrote my doctoral thesis on this subject. Since my major was civil engineering, I first approached the issue from an engineering perspective, then expanded my research step by step to economics, the impact on the environment, consumer behavior and possible technologies, and eventually covered all fields necessary for research.
Generally, alternative fuels are those which could be replaced by petroleum. From a long-term perspective, biofuel, electricity, natural gas and hydrogen fuel for fuel-cell vehicles are considered to be low-carbon sustainable fuels. Among these, biofuel, which is produced from food, food waste, agricultural residues, and wood, is regarded as most promising.
However, no one can accurately predict future fuels. I forecast that vehicles will run on fuel produced by combining biofuel, hydrogen, and electricity. I have studied alternative fuels more than anyone else, written 12 books and published hundreds of papers. However, I still cannot definitively figure out what would be the ideal alternative fuel. What I understand is that it is important to focus on fuel that is sustainable and promising. My mission is to encourage companies to invest in developing technologies, and governments to formulate policies that stimulate industry. In order to develop new technologies and to draw up policies, it is necessary to understand fuels and the vehicles that consumers require, and to reduce price. Automotive and fuel industries can't efficiently sell cars without understanding consumer needs.
We are pioneers in market surveying alternative fuel vehicles. For one year from 1991, we asked 240 citizens to be our test drivers for our market survey of electric, natural gas, and methanol vehicles project. The most valuable survey result was that consumers preferred electric vehicles most if the costs were reasonable because electric vehicles were quiet, comfortable to drive and did not pollute the air. On the other hand, the natural gas vehicle was not popular because it had to carry a big engine and fuel tank. The results of this survey hold true today. They were released to the general public and also provided to the California State Government. We also cooperated with the government in formulating policies that led to the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program and we collaborated with BMW and other automobile manufacturers. We analyzed BMW electric vehicles and conducted surveys to determine what type of vehicle was popular with users. The result showed that users preferred a small electric vehicle to the larger sedans, and this had a significant impact on BMW.
The ITS conducts research on the impact of water and air pollution, and climate change. It also implements lifecycle analysis, analysis and prediction of cost and develops new technologies such as exhaust gas measurement. Most of our research is based, not on experiment, but on desk analysis by computers. We sometimes carry out studies with scientists and developers of biofuel and fuel cell technology, but most of our research is based on desk analyses. Our program was instrumental in producing a green car.
I have published many books about alternative fuels as a coauthor. My first book was "New Transportation Fuels," published in 1988. This theme was not well known at that time, and the book sold only 2,000 copies. In it, I showed all the results of our studies including the selection of technology and lifecycle impact, which exerted a significant influence on society. Of course, both the petroleum and automobile industries showed strong resistance to alternative fuel. The book, however, consolidated my position as an alternative fuel expert and has already become a classic.
In Two Billion Cars: Driving Toward Sustainability published in 2009, we offered a roadmap to a more sustainable future covering alternative fuels, vehicles, consumer behaviors, and policies. We also devoted one chapter specifically to the State of California in which we explained the importance of leadership for consumers, local and national government, and industry. This book was published after my research had finally got on track and sold more than 20,000 copies.
When I started writing this book, neither industry nor government was making any effort, and consumers had low awareness of this topic. This made me angry, and caused me some stress. Around 2008 and 2009, however, remarkable changes occurred, like a hundred-and-eighty degree turn, in the automobile industry, with use of lighter materials, improvement of engines and transmissions, rapid progress of efficient technology, and investment in electric vehicles.
Although opinions were divided as to whether approaches to electric vehicles made by the automobile industry were moving quickly or slowly, there were still some problems that needed to be addressed. One was that the technology applied to electric vehicles is completely new and an unknown area for consumers. Since new technologies cost a lot, it requires a lot of money to streamline for mass production. This means that automobile manufacturers and consumers have shared challenges to address. Manufacturers need specialists who could produce low-cost vehicles, while, consumers, who tend to be conservative and avoid risk, need to be educated. I personally think that the current movement is too slow and that we should move forward more quickly.
Meanwhile, awareness throughout the petroleum industry remains low, and most in the industry are still against the trend. In spite of the fact that there are some room for technical improvement in the petroleum industry and many opportunities, their investment in biofuel and hydrogen fuel is minimal. Our next mission is to change the attitude of the petroleum industry toward alternative fuels. As a new approach, we established an institution, with which automobile and petroleum industries and government are able to engage in joint research funded by each organization. The ITS decides the agenda to discuss, carries out market surveys on lifecycle impact, shares results with its partners, and publishes results to the general public.
Research on Sustainable Transportation System
I came to be interested in transportation's impact on the environment when I studied at Cornell University. My graduate thesis was about how to improve air pollution reducing vehicle equipment. At first, I focused on the vehicle, but gradually became more interested in fuels and land use. The essential requirements of a sustainable transportation system are that it be economically and environmentally rational, that it allows users fair access to high quality, diverse modes of transportation, and that it provides for government control. One example is a type of electric car named the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV), which drives only within fixed neighborhoods and several automobile manufacturers have already begun to trial.
Another idea is a mobile solution in which information and communication technologies for transportation are installed. Existing buses and railways are functional in heavily populated urban areas like Tokyo; however, they don't work well in most cities. I believe future transportation will require different types of services such as car sharing. I also co-authored a chapter about transportation for the 4th IPCC Assessment Report, for which I was honored to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Regarding technology and consumer behaviors, I wrote about methods to reduce greenhouse gases and changes needed to achieve goals. The eighty-page chapter was designed to show the rationale behind the United Nation's environmental advocacy for countries aiming to achieve greenhouse gas reduction.
Research on Transportation Systems in Developing Countries
My experience working for the Government of Honduras sparked my interest in transportation system in developing countries, which became my lifework. So far, I have examined transportation system in about ten countries, including Costa Rica, Brazil, India, Venezuela, South Africa, and China. The first book I authored on a national transportation plan concerned a survey requested by the Government of Venezuela. Most developing countries import vehicles and fuels, which creates a significant financial burden for their government. Therefore, cost reduction is an important issue for them. They are, for example, interested in simple and convenient vehicles often seen in farming villages in China.
My interest in Chinese vehicles dates back to the 1990s, when I knew that a certain automobile manufacturer was considering an investment in a small-sized vehicle that had become popular in farming villages in China. I started researching this country since it has been drastically changing, and the phenomena occurring in a vast country like China seemed important for the rest of the world.
However, we discovered that almost no data or research information existed in China, and the Chinese government rarely collaborated with universities outside the country. In 2001, we sent two students, one from the U.S. and the other from China, to conduct a survey on small-sized farmers' vehicles used in villages. These students conducted interviews with many farmers and users as well as automobile manufacturers. Their survey revealed that there was a local auto industry, of which the Chinese government was unaware. The village car maker was secretly producing extremely utilitarian vehicles utilizing simple technology. Some of them were illegal, so the government was looking at regulating them. The Chinese government encourages production of vehicles that can be exported, but are apathetic about locally-produced vehicles they see as unfit for export. However, as a matter of fact, there is demand for such vehicles around the world. So, we proposed incentive measures to the government and many locally-manufactured vehicles have now come to be exported.
These small-sized vehicles are desirable for farming households that can't afford large trucks, and they are useful for transporting harvest or construction materials to neighboring markets and construction sites. Transportation is an essential element of economic development. What is convenient for farming villages in China will be equally useful for other developing countries. We place a priority on providing information to publicize the need for such vehicles. Our concern is air pollution emitted by old engines, and how to improve technologies is our challenge in the future. Rich states like California have circumstance by which they can utilize high technologies and expertise; however, conditions are different in developing countries. They need to have appropriate technologies that meet their specific requirements for users, problems, and conditions.
As for different projects, a certain international organization requested us to conduct a survey on greenhouse gases in developing countries. Over one to two years, we conducted surveys in South Africa, Chile, Delhi, and Shanghai. In Delhi and Shanghai, greenhouse gas will increase seven times unless they take necessary measures, while it will increase two times if they take active steps. Since developing countries can't halt their economic growth, it's hard for them to avoid increases in greenhouse gas emissions. However, the survey revealed that it is possible to reduce emissions through policies, and, therefore, policies shoulder an important role. Students are also engaged in other projects. For example, they are developing a simple solar power generation system for the poor in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and are now exploring its commercialization potential with local companies. Currently, residents depend on candles and kerosene for lighting. Introducing this clean, safe, and low-cost solar power system will improve their lives and allow them to study at night.
VI. Formulation of Low-carbon Fuel Standards
As Officer of California Air Resources Board
In 2007, requested by the 38th Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, I became an officer of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that handled air pollution and climate policies. My role was to examine energy and climate change from the viewpoint of transportation, specifically from automobiles, fuel, and consumers. Here, again, I encountered the wall between government and university, and realized how important and difficult it was to adopt good policy.
The resolutions of the Board have a strong influence which can affect not only the whole U.S. but also Japan and the world. It is a great honor to have served this position. The CARB was a pioneer in implementing the Zero-Emissions Vehicle Program in 1990, and dealt with many difficult issues. I also participated in designing the regulations. After my appointment as an officer of the board, I became engaged in policy making, the most important of which was creating the low-carbon fuel standard.
Formulation of Low-carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS)
California is the only state to mandate a ten percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. In 2007, the Governor asked UC Berkeley Professor Alex Farrel and me to conduct research and development of a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS). We organized a team consisting of professors and 20 students from both universities and carried out hearings with petroleum, automobile, and electric industries as well as ecologists and the government agency. We conducted many in-depth discussions, and formulated the standard based on science, justice and the law.
Petroleum companies cooperated positively with us. I believe that they thought the LCFS must be the best choice for them if they had to make an effort to reduce carbon emissions, though they were still upset in the end. After two years, the standard was adopted by the CARB almost unchanged from the original draft, and came into effect in 2011. This was a revolutionary standard that changed the petroleum industry. It mandates the petroleum industry to reduce carbon contained in petroleum by ten percent by 2020. The system allows companies, in the event that they do not or cannot comply with the regulations or they fail to achieve the goal, to purchase credits from other companies that would exempt them from the obligation. The standard promotes economic activity since it uses credits, which can be freely traded, thereby utilizing market power.
Eighty percent of the price of petroleum goes to the government of the country of origin. However, producing fuel inside the country can generate economic values by creating employment. This standard was established to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the precise percentage of fuels that should be shifted to alternatives is left to related industries and consumers. Notwithstanding, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent by 2020, we have to increase the ratio of alternative fuels to thirty percent. It's been two years since the LCFS was enacted. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions has been insufficient, but petroleum companies have become more aware of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
For example, when they discuss investment in large projects, they immediately examine the quantity of exhaust, and consider how to reduce it. They also invest in biofuel and natural gas, and strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in producing oil sand. In addition, some NPOs asked me to apply the LCFS throughout the nation, so we asked universities and researchers outside of California for formal proposals to implement the LCFS. We instigated various activities; we held briefings on different occasions, including to the U.S. Congress, explained the LCFS to congressmen and environmental groups, and published newsletters on the situation in California after the enactment of the regulations. However, our goal is not to publicise the LCFS throughout the nation because promoting the LCFS implementation too aggressively would cause oppositions resulting in the erosion of trust. The most important thing for us is to be trusted by all interest groups. Therefore, we limit our activities to dissemination of information. I personally think that the LCFS will become the benchmark throughout the nation within three to seven years. The EU and British Colombia in Canada have also adopted almost the same standards, and we have been promoting the implementation of these standards in China as well. We continue to lobby the petroleum industry to change their direction and hope these standards will be adopted throughout the world to reduce exhaust gas emissions.
Through work, I became aware of how much knowledge we needed to achieve our goal. When I started working on the creation of the standards, I had already written many books about alternative fuels, had conducted research on the photo cycle, had accumulated knowledge on environmental impact, and had taken pride in my knowledge in all these areas. However, in the end, I realized that I only had twenty percent of the knowledge I needed. I had to learn things I had not expected at the beginning, such as laws, the WTO, how to maintain fairness among companies, consumers, regions, and the influence of all these factors.
I also realized that even university professors and administrators in local governments did not recognize how much knowledge was required to establish effective policies. The LCFS has been sufficiently disseminated throughout the petroleum and automobile industries, and environmental groups; however, the publicity directed to consumers is still insufficient. Recently, environmental groups started enlightenment activities, and we also provide technical support for these groups and local governments.
I see my role as a bridge between science and policy. The enactment of the LCFS is a perfect example. The LCFS was a standard established by the government based on scientific data. The challenge during developing the LCFS was promoting communication between the government and universities with their different cultures and wage systems.
While the ultimate goal for university professors is to publish as many papers as possible, administrators put no importance on academic theses, seeking only knowledge that can be applied. Meanwhile, university professors also hope to contribute to society; however, they do not know what approaches they can take to get the government involved. I believe that if government personnel positively approach universities and explain what they need, universities may be able to respond to their requests. What is most important is to establish mutual trust, but, the problem is, local government considers universities to be a law unto themselves and distrusts them. At the same time, government officials are afraid that professors may criticize their programs.
The ITS holds briefings for local governments and congressmen, and provides them with a one-to-two-page summary. Since government and university both have an interest in seeking accurate and valuable information, once mutual trust has been established and communications between them has started, it is possible to launch joint projects.
We have built mutual relationships with congressmen, government institutions, environmental protection organizations, and the Department of Transportation as well as the Department of Energy. We explicated specialized research for officials, which helped them to formulate new regulations. We also introduced industry representatives and ecologists to government officials. By way of such classic methods, we have established firm relationships among concerned parties. For example, since 1995, we have been inviting one person from environmental groups both inside and outside the state each year for presentations and guidance. We ended the program after all thirty interested groups had participated. We are now preparing for the next program.
I have taught at university, conducted research, and worked with policy makers. I have had a very fortunate life surrounded by many partners and supporters. My desire is to make the ITS more successful and fulfill my policy research, playing a role as a bridge between policy and science. Currently, human beings encounter serious problems, including climate change and energy issues. I want to make my best efforts to solve these problems. To do so, I believe we need to advance a more wide range of fields, including new technologies, consumer behaviors, and formulation of policies that monitor technologies; however, none of these are extremely difficult.
My agenda from now is to build a sustainable society with high energy efficiency by utilizing university expertise in policy process, designing new technologies and establishing consumption models of all things. We should also commit to research on an extremely important agenda, which is transportation. I plan to implement my research on electric, battery, biofuel, and natural gas vehicles, and I will utilize information technology to develop innovative mobile transport solutions for mass transportation systems. There are plenty of new ideas and technologies, which allow us to create a better society. What we need is entrepreneurship, wisdom, innovation and commitment to move forward.