Written by: Jann21
Pollution is now becoming a worldwide problem. It is one of the culprits for climate change and is also associated with various health problems. A quick scan of various studies blames different factors causing pollution. One of these factors, which deserves a lot of attention, I believe, is transportation.
According to EPA (the United States Environmental Protection Agency), 14% of the world’s global greenhouse emission comes from transportation. It’s the fourth biggest polluting economic sector and will probably climb higher in rank since there will be more demand for transport in the coming years. As cities expand and population increases, there will be more demands for transport services in the future.
Now, let us take a minute to dwell on key points about transportation that we need to discuss.
What are The Most Polluting Forms of Transport?
Are they planes, cars, ships or UFOs perhaps? Different forms of transportation pollute the environment to varying extents. By the way, forget about UFOs, we don’t even know if they’re real. There are a lot of ways to get people and products from point A to point B and determining which one is the most polluting maybe a little bit tricky if we don’t set a method for judging.
The method that we can use :
The method that we can use is to look at CO2 emissions per passenger transport. Using this, determining the most polluting transport is easy. All we have to do is look at which transportation produces the most CO2 emission while carrying the average number of people per kilometer.
Borrowing the data from EEA (European Environmental Agency), the most polluting forms of transportation according to CO2 emissions per passenger transport are as follows:
- Trains (14g of CO2 per kilometer)
- Small Cars (42g of CO2 per kilometer)
- Average Cars (55g of CO2 per kilometer)
- Bus (68g of CO2 per kilometer)
- Two-Wheel Motor (72g of CO2 per kilometer)
- Planes (285g of CO2 per kilometer)
Analyzing the data above:
If we look and analyze the data above, we come to the conclusion that road and air transports are the most polluting forms of transportation. In towns and cities, cars and buses always hit the road leaving a trail of dust and smoke. Studies show that urban air and noise pollution are mainly caused by road vehicles.
In the upcoming years, we should really expect that pollution in the urban caused by road transports will become even higher. This is due to the emergence of new mobility services such as Uber and Lyft and micro transit corporations like Via and Chariot.
Although planes top the list based on the data above. I do not agree that they’re really polluting. This is because they carry people and goods across vast distances even if they produce lots of C02. Furthermore, planes unlike cars, cannot be readily be used by anyone. To put it simply, anyone can own a car but only a few may own a plane.
So, my final verdict? Road transports (buses, trucks, cars, motors, etc.) are the most polluting forms of transportation.
How Can I Reduce Transport Emissions?
Reducing transport emissions is easy. All you have to do is to think simply and practically. The things that I will discuss here are so simple that even high school seniors will understand them. Stop thinking about running a campaign for a cause, or a fundraiser because these methods to reduce transport emission is time-consuming if not ineffective.
What you need to reduce transport emissions is better transportation planning. Better transportation planning is simply being practical about how you travel. This, I believe is a simple yet effective approach. Taking a walk or riding a bicycle if your office or school is only a few minutes away from your residence is an example of this.
Decide first which is the most efficient and greenest way for you to travel:
Before going out, try to decide first which is the most efficient and greenest way for you to travel. Decide base on your needs and the urgency of the business that you’re attending. By doing this you will become part of the world’s small population of people who help decrease transport emissions.
If you’re using a car that runs on diesel, it’s time that you install it with a diesel filter if it doesn’t have one. Diesel filters are handy devices that reduce particulate matter from on-road and off-road diesel engines. Particulate matter is a type of pollutant that is associated with air pollution which may have adverse effects on health such as asthma, lung cancer, etc.
Choosing cars with the latest engine technology will help you reduce transport emissions. Vehicles using engines with computer controls, variable valve timing, multi-valve engines, turbocharging, and direct injection technologies are less polluting. Engines that have these features burn fuel efficiently and produce fewer pollutants compared to those who do not have them.
Lastly, you need to be more conscious of your choice of fuel. It’s best that you steer away from fuels containing lead or benzene. Using renewable fuels such as biogasoline or biodiesel is a more environment-friendly approach.
How Do You Go Green In Transportation?
Using cars less and using bikes more to go to work or school is one way for you to go green in transportation. Bikes don’t produce CO2 and other pollutants so using them will be the greenest of the green. I highly recommend that you do this if your work or school is only a few blocks away from you.
Riding e-scooters and e-bikes are another way for you to green when traveling in short distances. There are lots of e-bikes and e-scooters nowadays that you can buy online for as low as 300$. E-scooters reach up to speeds for 25 km per hour while e-bikes, on the other hand, may reach up to 100 km per hour depending on the brand.
Personally, I prefer riding e-scooters when going to nearby stores fast since they’re easy to carry and keep.
Trains are good green transportation if you plan to travel across countries in the U.S alone. Compared to cars, trains are more convenient when traveling alone on large distances since you won’t have to drive. Planes, on the other hand, are faster than trains but are more expensive. I advise that you ride planes only when you want to transfer from one state to another urgently.
What Is the Most Environment-Friendly Mode of Transportation?
In terms of short distances, the most environment-friendly green transportation is e-bikes and e-scooters. These machines are powered by motors that run on electricity. Electric scooters are great rides when traveling towards work or school. E-bikes, on the other hand, are great if you want to travel around the city. Also, e-bikes and e-scooters really help to save money from fuel costs.
In long distances, I prefer to ride trains when I’m traveling alone. Trains consume less fuel and produce less CO2 compared to cars and planes. Because I love to see various places, I ride trains whenever I want to see different sceneries while traveling. In my opinion. riding a train is safer than driving if traveling alone.
What Are the Greenest Cities in the USA?
There are lots of green cities in the U.S.A. There are about 15+ states dubbed as green and sustainable by various organizations such as World Bank, WHO, OECD, etc. However, I will only talk about San Francisco, CA and San Diego, CA. In this section, I will talk about the things that make these cities green.
Wallet hub ranks San Francisco as the top greenest city in the U.S. Its efforts include strict regulation to buildings using incentives to make constituents follow their policies. In terms of transportation, the San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency has the central subway and bus rapid transit projects to utilize green transport strategies in the city in the future.
San Diego ranks next to San Francisco. The American Planning Association gave the Daniel Burningham award to San Diego in 2008 for its General Plan which revolves around sustainable strategies for land use and development. The city utilizes various housing and building types using various environment-friendly materials. Also, the house and buildings are connected to each other using pedestrians and biking routes.
San Diego recognizes the importance of electricity to transport. “We are a city that innovates and we are a city where the environment is crucial to our quality of life,” says Mayor Kevin Faulconer as he unveils the expansions of EV charging stations in San Diego in 2017. The city is a wonderland for EV drivers. At present, charging stations can be found in recreational areas, entertainment areas, etc.
What Are the Eco-Friendliest Cities in the World?
According to openaccessgovernment.org in an article entitled “Top 10 Eco-Friendly Cities All Over The World” (2019), the following are the eco-friendliest cities in the world:
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Berlin, Germany
- Portland, Oregon,
- San Francisco, California
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Helsinki, Finland
- Vancouver, Canada
- Reykjavik, Iceland
A quick look at the publications of each of these cities shows that all of them use strategies to use green transportation. Reykjavik, for example, initiates the use of bikes and the promotion of public transports to help preserve the environment. San Francisco, on the other hand, aims to go for green energy transportation using projects which reform or remodel transportation services.
Wrapping It Up: Why Is Green Transportation Important?
In the coming decades, I believe that pollution caused by transport will have a significant rise if governments and countries do nothing. The improvement of the quality of life and increase in population means that more people will opt to travel or avail of cars, motorcycles, etc. Consequently, this increase in the demand and use of conventional transport will result in CO2 emissions and other pollutants that contribute to air pollution, noise pollution, etc. to skyrocket.
We must help governments and organizations fight pollution in our own little way by utilizing green transport as a habit. It’s time that we need to be more practical and use cars or motorcycles only when it’s necessary. When going to work, taking a walk or riding a bike if the traveling distance is not that far will not hurt. At the same time, doing these also exercises your body a little bit.
Using green transportation such as electric-powered cars, scooters and bikes will also help a lot. Riding one helps to reduce your contribution to pollutants that makes climate change worse. Also, using them for travel helps to save money since fuel costs won’t be part of your budget anymore.
Lastly, if using cars is inevitable, using diesel filters, biofuels, and the latest engine technology will help to reduce the emission of CO2 and particulate matter which comes from tailpipes, engines, etc.
It’s time that green transportation and energy should be the trend to save our planet! Start riding trains, talking a walk, or riding a bike and using electric-powered vehicles now!
You can also find great books to read about green transportation on Amazon.com