Transportation systems are responsible for one fifth to one quarter of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, greenhouse gases that are emitted by transportation means have been growing at a faster pace than in other sectors. And with the rising oil prices and concerns about peak oil, the conventional transportation means and especially cars are getting increasingly unsustainable.
There are currently no alternatives to the traditional means of transportation that could effectively replace the conventional ones. There are, however, ways to make transportation more environmentally friendly and more sustainable. Examples include:
Public transportation. Whether buses and trains are more environmentally friendly than personal vehicles continues to be a matter of debate. However, the majority of experts agree that they produce a lot less carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions per passenger. According to a recent American study, the amount of fuel required per passenger is half of that required by a car. The same study also found that in comparison to buses and trains, private vehicles produce over 90 percent more carbon monoxide and other volatile compounds. Sustainable living therefore promotes the use of public transportation whenever possible.
Carpooling. Transportation mean isn’t always a personal choice. People who don’t have access to public transportation due to inadequate infrastructure thus usually have no choice but to travel with private vehicles. Many, however, have the ability to carpool and reduce their carbon footprint dramatically.
Fuel efficient cars. Not only do they reduce carbon dioxide emissions but they also provide major savings on fuel considering that the prices have reached a historic height and are expected to grow further in the future. Also an option are hybrids, electric cars and vehicles that are powered by natural gas. Neither is exactly an alternative because they continue to rely on fossil fuels either directly or indirectly. However, all reduce direct CO2 emissions.
Cycle. Bicycles are a perfect transportation mean for short distances because they produce zero CO2 emissions, reduce air and noise pollution as well as traffic congestion. In addition, they are good for your health. Also an option are electric bikes which aren’t as environmentally friendly because they require electricity. But in contrary to hybrid cars, they don’t directly burn fossil fuels.
While individuals can do a lot to reduce the impact of transportation on the environment, sustainable transportation systems also depend greatly on city infrastructure which should provide easy access to public transportation and appropriate bicycle and pedestrian pathways.