Sustainable transport can mean public transport, car pooling, walking and cycling as well as technologies such as biodiesel and electric and hybrid cars. The phrase encompasses a wide range of economic, social and environmental effects that should be taken into account when developing new transport systems and policies for cities.
Human Powered Transportation
Each North American makes an average of 2,000 car trips of less than 3 km each year, trips that could easily be made on foot or by bike! By walking, biking, or inline skating these short trips instead of driving, you can achieve significant benefits for your health and the environment.
Bicycle helmet gathering dust in the closet? Only one running shoe to be found? Many of us feel so busy with work and family responsibilities that we can't seem to find the time to go to the gym. That is one reason why active transportation makes so much sense. Most of us need to get to work, to the corner store, or to school to drop off kids. Instead of grabbing the car keys and feeling guilty about being inactive, why not walk or cycle instead? Research has shown that exercising moderately for ½ hour a day for 5 days a week reduces the risk of a number of different illnesses, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Many studies have also shown that physical activity helps maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, manage weight, and reduce anxiety and depression. As you become more physically active, you'll feel healthier and more energetic.
Apart from the many health benefits of active transportation, there are a number of other good reasons to consider it, including climate change and the air you breathe. Pollution from cars and trucks is a major cause of both problems, yet many people are driving more frequently and in larger vehicles. Simply by walking and cycling more for short trips, you can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 250kg.
Walking and cycling are great family and social activities. You'll get to know people in your community and take time to notice your surroundings. You are also setting a great example for your children about how to incorporate physical activity into daily life. What's more, it takes only 15 minutes to walk one kilometre or to bike three. Using human power can get you there faster than driving.
Carpooling is about sharing a ride with others to reduce fuel use and traffic congestion. A Community car is a car that a community owns, maintains, and uses together, saving on ownership and maintenance costs. It offers an alternative form of transport to a privately owned car.
Hybrid vehicles usually use two types of power source such as a gas or diesel engine coupled with an electric motor. Hybrid vehicles generally use the gas engine at higher speeds and the electric motor at low speeds and when idling. The battery which stores electricity for the electric motor is charged during periods when the car is not accelerating, i.e. when you are slowing down, braking, or traveling downhill. If required it can be charged by the gas or diesel engine.
Bus / Public Transport
The word bus is a shortened version of omnibus, which means "for everyone". Buses have the ability to move a lot of people to a lot of different places. When well used they help reduce pollution and traffic congestion. Travelling by bus can be easy, affordable and relaxing. Write to your city representatives to request that your community upgrade their buses to fleets of LNG or biodiesel buses. This will reduce the CO2 emissions generated, reduce dependence on imported oil dependency, and in the case of biodiesel engines actually run cleaner and more efficient.
Content from: Environment Canterbury