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Sustainable Transport

Ryan’s blog post covered several aspects of sustainable transport, linking emissions and health gave an interesting perspective on such a prominent issue of today. As he stated, there are many negative effects of our reliance on the automobile. There’s a range of pollutants (Particulate matter PM, Hydrocarbons HC, Nitrogen oxides NOx, Carbon monoxide CO, Sulfur dioxide SO2) all result in “repository health issues and CO and toxins result in birth defects”. (UCS, 2014) At a glance emissions and pollutants are the main problems for our health, as they have a significant impact on our health and a detrimental effect on the environment. They are the “biggest sources of pollution in the UK,” with “road transport accounts for 22% of total UK emissions of carbon dioxide.” (Environmental Protection UK, 2017)


Figure 1 : CO2 Emissions Per Passenger. (The New Economy. 2014.)

Other effects of the automobile are apparent in the design world as the modernist period saw the automobiles rise and a shift cars being a dominant factor in the design of the cities. I agree with Ryan that this has resulted in low-density urban sprawl, interesting he makes the suggestion to “mitigate low-density urban sprawl by creating higher density neighbourhoods which are sustainable.” I agree with his statement but I feel that the government is trying to side-line the car rather than tackle the issue head on. The technological alternative to the conventional combustion engine are Ultra-low emission vehicles, they “help cut down greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution on our roads.” The issue with this is that there are readily affordable for the typical person.


Figure 2 : The EV Wedge (Wilson, L. 2014. The EV Wedge)

The Department for Transports has set the long term goal of “reducing the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% compared to 1990 levels by 2050.” (Department for Transport, 2015). This blog post comes at a time when the issue of emissions from cars has come to fruition. As London has breached its legal limits for toxic air pollution “for the entire year in the first five days of 2017.” (Edwards, 2017) As a result the Major Sadiq khan has reiterated the need to implement the plan for London to become an ultra-low emission zone which will launch in 2020, initialised by previous Major Boris Johnson. The ULEZ requires that all vehicles in central London to “meet emission standards 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or to pay a daily charge dependent on vehicle type.” (Holder, 2015) They suggest that the ULEZ is a feasible and “effective way to improve air quality not only in central London but it will also have a positive impact across the whole city too.” (Environment News, 2015)

London - Jason Hawkes

Figure 3 : London Smog. (Jason Hawkes Photography, N.d.)

To conclude with I totally agree with Ryan and his post but I feel there needs to be more pressure and power used by the government to tackle the issue of car pollution. Alternative transport methods are the way forward but our society need a huge paradigm shift in how we look at the automobile. I think Ryan’s final remark says it all as “a reduction in air pollutants from the car means for a healthier ecosystem, which in turn means for a healthier nation.”


Union of Concerned Scientists.(UCS) (2014). Cars, Trucks, and Air Pollution. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jan. 2017].
Department for Transport, (2015). 2010 to 2015 government policy: transport emissions. London: Available at :
Edwards, T. (2017). Pollution warning as London air quality alerts are issued. [online] BBC News. Available at: [Accessed 20 Jan. 2017].
Environment News, (2015). Mayor of London confirms ultra-low emission zone will launch in 2020. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jan. 2017].
Environmental Protection UK, (2017). Car Pollution. Air Quality Committee.
Holder, M. (2015). London ULEZ plans confirmed for 2020 – Air Quality News. [online] Air Quality News. Available at: [Accessed 20 Jan. 2017].

Image Sources

Figure 1 : CO2 Emissions Per Passenger. (The New Economy. 2014.)
Figure 2 : The EV Wedge (Wilson, L. 2014. The EV Wedge)
Figure 3 : London Smog. (Jason Hawkes Photography, N.d.)

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