Everyone benefits from sustainable transportation because it means that we are keeping the air cleaner through alternative transportation choices, such as riding a bike to work, car sharing, using public transportation, and using electric vehicles instead of gas powered vehicles.

What does sustainable transportation mean?

Sustainable transportation means taking into consideration the effects of your mode of travel on the environment and climate.

How can we make transportation sustainable?

There are a number of ways to make transportation sustainable. 

Here are some sustainable transportation ideas:

  1. Riding your bike or walk short distances instead of using your car.
  2. Going for an electric vehicle next time your in the market for an automobile.
  3. Taking public transportation when feasible.
  4. Carpooling with your spouse or a co-worker.

subway

How does public transport make a city sustainable?

Public transport helps make a city sustainable by:

  • Improving air quality
    • reducing the need for many separate trips by private vehicles in dense urban areas
    • replacing many separate emissions-producing vehicles with fewer transit vehicles that generally emit less pollution on a per person basis
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions:
    • by moving more people with fewer vehicles, public transportation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions
    • public transportation produces significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than private vehicles
    • heavy rail transit such as subways and metros produce on average 76% lower greenhouse gas emissions per passenger mile than an average single-occupancy vehicle (SOV)
    • light rail systems produce 62% less emissions
    • bus transit produces 33% less emissions
  • Transit can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by facilitating compact development, which conserves land and decreases the distances people need to travel to reach destinations
    • by reducing congestion, transit reduces emissions from cars stuck in traffic
  • Transit can minimize its own greenhouse gas emissions by using efficient vehicles, alternative fuels, and decreasing the impact of project construction and service operations

bus

Sustainable city transportation

Ideally, sustainable city transportation would have the following elements:

  • Easy access to electric vehicles
  • Many electric vehicle charging stations located throughout
  • Networks of safe walking and bicycle paths
  • More bicycle lanes
  • Better public transit systems
  • Access to clean fuels (biofuels)

How does transportation affect the environment?

Transportation has a huge effect on the environment with nearly 30% of greenhouse gases in the United States coming from vehicle emissions.

With deliveries moving into neighborhoods (to your front door, actually) this figure is going to keep rising. 

Think about it, ordering from Amazon is about as routine as going grocery shopping these days. You can get an item delivered basically any day of the week. Supply trucks are not limited to driving on weekdays, delivery trucks are a constant fixture on our roads these days. 

While, yes, it is convenient to get items you ordered delivered in a timely fashion right to your door, it is also important to consider the environmental impact we are causing for our own convenience.

Amazon prime makes it really easy to order a single, cheap item delivered to your door any time of day or week. Maybe next time you forget to order toothpaste, just pick it up from the grocery store next time you’re there instead of ordering it by itself from Amazon. Just something to think about.

sustainable transportation - scooter

Benefits of sustainable transportation

There are innumerable benefits of sustainable transportation. 

Here are a few of them:

  • Health Benefits: cycling, walking, roller blading are all great ways to improve your heart health while taking it easy on the environment.
  • Stress Reduction: taking the bus or other public transportation takes the stress of bad weather, other drivers, and road rage out of your daily commute.
  • Save Money: people save money by not using their cars every day, saving on gas and maintenance.
    • cities save money by less damage to roads, meaning less construction and maintenance needed to sustain them.
  • Less congestion: less traffic means people can get where they need to be faster when using highway specific mass transit like city buses
    • less traffic also means fewer accidents
  • Job Creation: mass transit and energy-efficient cars require people working in construction, design, technology, maintenance and manufacturing, among other fields

Sustainable transport facts

Here are some sustainable transportation facts that you never knew you wanted to know:

Everyone benefits from cleaning up our transportation system. Canadians [and everyone else in the world] need access to affordable electric vehicles, bike lanes, and fast public transportation.

Government actions are needed to get EVs in the hands of Canadians who want them. It’s a great way to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.

-Ian Bruce, Director of Science and Policy

Most electric cars in Canada will be powered by clean electricity. But even in provinces that are still working to phase out coal, EVs are up to three times more efficient than gas-powered cars and create less carbon pollution.

Traffic-related air pollution in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area is responsible for about 1,000 early deaths and 3,000 to 4,000 hospital admissions each year for strokes, heart attacks, lung infections and asthma.

Making cycling and walking easier is a great climate response. Switching from gasoline-powered cars to cycling is a great way to reduce carbon pollution. People will only make that switch if they believe that cycling infrastructure is safe. This is why we’re supporting safe, separated bike lanes, especially in urban environments.

Most of the fuel used to power a car is either lost or used to propel the massive vehicle, whereas fuelling a bike’s engine — that’s you — requires only a healthy diet.

People who live in walkable neighbourhoods are 39 per cent less likely to have diabetes than those in car-dependent areas.

-David Suzuki

While we may not be able to implement all of these sustainable transportation methods, we should at least keep them in mind the next time we jump in the car to go to the corner store or are in the market for a new vehicle.  Maybe we take our bike or buy a more economical or electric vehicle. As long as we keep the environment in mind when making these decisions, little by little, we will improve our earth.

And yes, it would be nice for governments to step up and provide adequate and eco-friendly public transit, but you know as well as I that these changes take a lot of time. In the meantime, we can lace up our shoes and take the shoelace express or bike or run instead of taking our cars everywhere. Hey, we might even get a bit healthier in the process. I can get on board with that!

Do you use any method of sustainable transportation? If so, which one(s)? Let me know in the comments below.

Cheers, and have an awesome day!

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