This blog is about the “Sustainable Transport” which has become quite a necessity nowadays. I am going to talk about how the lack of sustainability in transport sector affecting the world right now and steps which are being taken to avoid those effects. But first, sustainability in transport doesn’t only mean the eco-friendly cars and green infrastructure. Of course, those electric or hybrid cars helps to decrease the level of carbon footprint and other harmful gasses in the atmosphere. But, it also does include the factors like affordability, good quality built environment, a flexibility of transport modes, well-planned routes, usage of resources, and time management while traveling from one point to another.
“There are already 1.2 billion vehicles on the world’s roads, most of which are in the rich countries of Europe, North America, and Japan. Billions of more people will buy vehicles over the next century, especially in developing countries such as China and India. This raises the question: can wealthy countries not only curb their appetite for fossil energy but, also lead in developing and adopting new low-carbon lifestyles? How can mobility and accessibility be increased without disrupting ecosystems, altering the climate, depleting water supplies and extinguishing species?” – Access Magazine.
Here in the image on the left, it has been shown the hierarchy of the transport modes on the scale of their desirable sustainability. As you can see walking and bicycles are the most desirable transport modes in terms of sustainability. And then comes the public transport and private vehicles towards the least desirable title. People often forget to consider walking as a transport mode. So, transport mode is basically to go from one point to another point which can also be done by walking depending on the distances to cover. But the cities today are planned and designed, focusing on vehicular movement. Most of the movement areas in the city are being dominated by the wide roads and private vehicles. More people are choosing the private vehicle which results in more traffic congestion, more polluted air, waste of time and resources. People are becoming obese because they are not encouraged to use walk or bicycles as their transport modes. Below are some of the solutions which can make sustainable transport.
Pedestrian Friendy Environment
People are being encouraged to walk on the streets which have a pleasant atmosphere, some activities to get engaged with or have some purpose to there. Newyork, Florence, and Paris are some of the best walkable cities in the world (from theculturetrip.com list) because of their permeable street patterns with active frontages and right building to street width proportion. Street furniture and elements like trees and soft landscaping also make them pleasant to walk on. Designing the way to or from the public transport station to the destination is also important. They should be easily accessible for the pedestrians.
Bicycles as Sustainable Transport
Bicycle is a best a transport mode which asks for lesser energy than walking to cover more distance in the same time and doesn’t require any fuel to run it. Many of the cities around the world, especially in Europian countries, bicycle friendly streets are being constructed. Providing separate bicycle lanes along with the main streets make safe and faster routes for bicyclist. In some cities, government or private companies provide bicycles on very low rent to roam around the city which is again very affordable and eco-friendly option for sustainable transport.
Public Transport & Other Factors
Public transport is very important for mass transit, especially in populated cities. To encourage more and more people to use public transport instead of their private vehicles, all the public transit stations should be located in a way which has easy access to all the important building and districts in the city. New cities are being developed as per ” Transit Oriented Development” concept. All the station should have good parking facilities and car or bike sharing stations. Trams, Metro, Subway, BRTS are few public transport systems which are being used at present. And for encouraging people to avoid the use of private vehicles in many cities, they have introduced models like they have announced some areas as no vehicular zones or people have to pay high amount to enter in that area with private vehicles in peak times. In some cities, they have only odd or even number of vehicles allowed on every alternate day.
Affordability is also a key factor to make transport mode sustainable. All the public transport and other models such as bike sharing should be affordable to everyone. All the concept which are going to come like electric cars and autonomous taxis are sustainable options and they can be safer than the manual driving on the road. But, those are not affordable by everyone. Even for the low prices for public transport, they need funding. And government spending more money on health sector than the transport because more and more people are getting unhealthy in this polluted environment. Which is again directly in relationship with sustainable transport.
So, Things like climate change, community safety, social activities, good health can be achieved by Sustainable Transport System.
Metro Bike LCC (Bike Sharing Consultancy), Washington DC, USA – http://www.metrobike.net/
Manual for Streets 1st edition ( Department of Transport, UK) 2007
An Innovative Path to Sustainable Transportation – Access magazine (2014) – http://www.accessmagazine.org/articles/fall-2014/innovative-path-sustainable-transportation/
Mobi by Shaw Go – Vancouver Bike Share Inc.
Top walkable cities in the world: theculturetrip.com – https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/articles/the-10-most-walkable-cities-in-the-world/
Figure 2: From the manual for streets 1 ed.
Figure 3: http://www.vienncouver.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2.jpg
Figure 5: http://bike-sharing.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/bike-sharing-world-first-week-of-may.html