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The new campaign for sustainable transportation aims to find a solution to today’s pollution issues. Transport pollution plays a major role in climate change – one that many are working to overcome in 2022.
Transportation is one of the major sources of pollution and emissions of harmful greenhouse gases responsible for today’s global warming. As per the data at hand, 21% of the world’s CO2 emissions arrive from the transportation sector. Out of this total percentage, ¾ arrives from road transport alone.
We are all responsible for keeping the Earth’s temperature below 1.5 degrees and to achieve NetZero Emissions before 2050 in accordance with the Paris Agreement. Transportation is an area that requires dire attention in order to make proactive change.
The movement towards NetZero by 2050 is possible with the new campaign for sustainable transportation. Electric vehicles, bio fuels, and recreational transport can all help reduce emissions in the near future.
The UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport defines sustainable transport as follows –
“The provision of services and infrastructure for the mobility of people and goods—advancing economic and social development to benefit today’s and future generations—in a manner that is safe, affordable, accessible, efficient, and resilient, while minimizing carbon and other emissions and environmental impacts”.
So, Sustainable Transportation refers to means of transportation that are in line with the goals of Sustainable Development. It’s about balancing our current and future needs. Fossil fuels have a limitation and they have a negative impact on our environment. Sustainable transport options like cycling, carpooling, walking and using electric vehicles aim to solve this issue.
Sustainability factor aside, if we talk about the importance of transportation we understand it’s a means of connecting people and global trade. It’s the transportation infrastructure that connects people to basic amenities like food, water, medicine and also to jobs, education, markets and recreation. So, transportation is a crucial factor for economic and social development.
But at the same time, the vehicles rolling on the roads are responsible for air pollution or the entry of GHG emissions into the atmosphere. These GHGs are causing climate change(global warming) which influences the weather conditions. Take note of some data facts that transportation accounts for 64% of the global oil consumption, 27% of the world’s total energy use, and we already mentioned this earlier – 21% of CO2 emissions resulting from energy usage.
The pollution arising from the vehicles is also responsible for 1 out of 8 deaths worldwide. Apart from this, more than 1.25 million people die and 50 million get injured each year on roads.
The challenges and the importance of the transportation sector in our lives has spurred a campaign for sustainable transportation. What we need for transportation is a surge in sustainable functionality to achieve all our present needs and for the betterment of our lives and cities.
Developing and adopting more sustainable transportation will help us in many ways;
Now, let’s have a look at some current endeavours towards sustainable transportation from different countries all around the world.
Where there is a will, there is a way. This is proved by Indonesia, a country comprising a group of more than 17,000 islands with a total population of around 270 million people. The example is from the city of Jakarta that presents to us a sustainable bus transportation network capable of serving more than 30 million people in the metropolitan area.
More on BRT
BRT or Bus Rapid Transit system is a bus route and transit system that provides metro level services through its dedicated bus lanes, busways and iconic bus stations that are typically aligned to the centre of the road. It’s faster than the regular bus services as it’s designed to handle or avoid traffic congestion and offers off board fare collection.
The city’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is the longest BRT system in the world spanning more than 250km countrywide. It has dedicated bus lanes that carry passengers around the city to leave them to their desired destination and also to local buses and other commuting means in remote areas where BRT isn’t spread.
Their well managed BRT system also won the Sustainable Transportation Award in 2021, and it also reached a milestone of serving 1 million people per day back in Feb 2020.
The next example to admire is from Egypt where there is a provision for taxi owners to replace their old pollution-causing taxis in return for a new environment friendly one at a subsidized rate from pre-registered vehicle dealers. The result of this Vehicle Scrapping and Recycling Program is that by the end of 2018, in Cairo, the Egyptian capital alone, it resulted in a whopping 350,000 tonnes of emission reduction.
China is famous for its Great Wall of China. But you might be surprised knowing that it’s also a country with 99% of the world’s total electric buses!
China currently has more than 400,000 electric buses running on its roads which has been made possible through regulations and subsidized rates for electric vehicles. Furthermore, it’s committed to spend five times more towards clean energy initiatives compared to fossil-fuels.
Besides the aforementioned countries and cities, many countries around the world are now encouraging their residents to go green by walking or cycling.
In an attempt to make the city more walkable, Buenos Aires – a city in Argentina – decided to dedicate the centre of their 20 lane road only to buses. Doing so achieved two things – one, buses now didn’t need to use crowded spaces; and two, this also freed up around 100 blocks which are now dedicated to pedestrians where cars are also restricted. All this resulted in a drastic decrease in the commute times for both walkers, vehicles and cyclists.
Likewise, in Cuenca, Ecuador; Coimbatore, India; Guangzhou, China and and in Lisbon, Portugal, governments of these cities are making efforts towards pedestrian and prioritised public transportation access to encourage people to travel sustainability. The glad news here is that people too are now more responsible to become pedestrians and use public transportation whenever possible for their day-to-day commute.
Transportation now accounts for the largest end-use of energy in the developed countries and is the fastest growing one in the developed countries. This shouldn’t sound surprising to you. Because back in 1997 itself, the UN General Assembly, while undertaking its five year review of the Agenda 21, suggested that transportation is going to be a major factor behind the world’s energy demand in future.
Fortunately, realizing the present global situation – and to reduce the carbon footprint resulting from transportation, businesses and governments have already started to greenify the transportation sector and campaign for sustainable transportation. Overall, we can say that the future of transportation looks promising and if we continue moving in this direction, we’ll be able to completely revolutionise our transportation for a cleaner and healthier earth.
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