Introduction of transport mode, supports vibrant local, regional and

Introduction

With the ever-increasing population density in both, developed and
developing countries, this has led to a surplus in the urban population with a
decline in rural population. There are greater residential areas, along with
greater job opportunities which results in an increase in the need of transportation
methods to access services such as jobs, schools and social activities. Urban
areas have become increasingly dependant on mobility which in return, cause
negative impacts on social, economic, environmental and ecological sectors that
need to be addressed. Due to a decrease in the price of vehicles, people are
becoming more dependent on vehicles, which has become much easier than using
different transportation methods such as public transport, walking and cycling
(Crane-Droesch, 2006). Developing countries are becoming more dominated with the
use of personal vehicles rather than public transport and pedestrians, this is
mainly due to long distances people need to travel to reach a particular
destination; also, as developing countries are currently improving their urban
cities, more highways are being constructed which makes it difficult for the
use of public transport, walking and cycling to be done. Hence, increasing mobilisation
has led to traffic congestion, damage to ecosystem, road accidents, decline in
public transport, lack of accessibility, climate change and global warming. On
the other hand, most of developed countries that have invested in sustainable
methods of transport do not face most of the problems encountered by transport.
For example, cities in Northern Europe prohibit cars from entering certain
streets, to give priority to other methods of transport like public transport,
cycling and walking, which is an example of sustainable urban planning (Porjani
& Stead, 2015). With transportation being the most rapidly increasing cause
of greenhouse gas emissions, it has produced 24% of global emissions (Adelaal,
2015). Hence, using green mobility as a method to urban planning is economically
viable, socially equitable and environmental balanced. Green mobility has been
defined as “sustainable transportation that allows the basic access needs of
individuals and societies to be met safely and in a manner consistent with
human and ecosystem health, and with equity within and between generations.
Green mobility is affordable, operates efficiently and offers choice of
transport mode, supports vibrant local, regional and national economies.”
(Sodero et al, n.d). “It limits emissions and waste to levels with the planet’s
ability to absorb them and uses renewable resources at or below their rates of
generation and uses non-renewable resources at or below the rates of
development of renewable substitutes. It reuses and recycles its components and
maintains integrity of ecosystems and minimizes land use and noise.” (Sodero et
al, n.d). Governments and non-governmental organisations consider sustainable
transport as methods where individuals can access basic needs and services in a
manner that does not affect human and environmental health, without
compromising the needs of future generations. Also, sustainable transport must
be efficient and affordable for the economy. Efficiency is important to reduce
the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption of fossil fuels
(non-renewable energy) with minimal amounts of air, noise and visual pollution
(Sodero et al, n.d). The environmental sector is important to consider when
approaching a sustainable method to reduce long-term problems such as
pollution, climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the
importance in protecting the environmental sector, the social sector. The
social sector is often forgotten, where there are a lot of road accidents
associated with the increase in the use of private vehicles and is often
considered as an individual’s mistake. More transport accidents and fatalities
have been reported between vehicles and pedestrians, where pedestrians have
suffered more than half of the fatalities that have been caused due to
transportation (Zavitsas, n.d). This paper discusses the different transport
engineering methods to support green mobility as a vital solution to help keep
urban cities safe, efficient, clean and cost effective. The economy, social and
environment elements will be discussed as a reason why investing in sustainable
transport methods is important. The different methods
will be used are Two-Step Framework by the Canadian Institute of Transportation
Engineers (CITE), Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and INSERT THIRD METHOD
HERE. Despite the different efficiencies of THREE METHODS in assessing green
mobility, the challenges that will be encountered are INSERT CHALLENGES HERE.

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Alternative modes of Sustainable Transport and Urban
Planning

The aim of Green Mobility is to provide the inhabitants easy access
to all urban areas using different modes of transport that help keep the
environment safe, healthy and cost-effective (Mohan & Tiwari, 1999). Due to
economic growth and urbanisation, inhabitants are travelling more frequently.
This causes cities to invest in different sustainable transport modes along
with urban planning to help keep the cities safer and healthier (Thynell et al,
2010). Along with the economic, social and environmental aspect, the political
aspect is also considered. For example, hosting the Olympic Games in Beijing in
2008 and Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, led to the investment of different
modes of transport (other than the traditional private vehicle mode) to attract
tourists and make transport faster and more efficient. There are several modes
of sustainable which include hybrid cars, pedestrians, bicycles and public
transportation. There are several aspects that should be considered when making
decisions regarding the transport modes, which are based on economic criteria,
time of trip, safety and comfort.

 

When considering vehicles, a method to assess green mobility is to
use vehicles that are fuel or energy efficient; this is to reduce the
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution. Existing standard vehicles
consume a lot of gasoline or diesel for the combustion engine, which in return
cause air and noise pollution. On the contrary, hybrid vehicles have an
internal combustion engine with an electric motor and battery that can be
powered using electricity to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and
emissions (Bidhuri, 2015). Hybrid vehicles include cars, trucks, ships and
trains. There are several benefits of the use of hybrid vehicles, these include
improved fuel economy (less money spent on fuel), increased power and less GHG
emissions caused due to fossil fuel consumption. In addition to that, they produce
less noise and do not vibrate like the standard vehicle, do not require a lot
of maintenance and have a strong acceleration (Abdelaal, 2015).

 

Hybrid cars (such as Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius and Ford Focus
Electric) can operate on both, electricity and gas, however electric cars only
operate with the use of electricity. Electric vehicles operate using
rechargeable batteries that also function the lights and wipers. There are
several reasons why investing in an electric car is beneficial for people and
the environment. Electric cars are much cheaper to run and can be recharged at
very cheap prices rather than normal cars, where an average person would spend
about $2000-$4000 on gas. The advantage of using electric cars over hybrid cars
is that they are 100% efficient and eco-friendly where toxic gases and fossil
fuels are not emitted, while hybrid cars operate on both, electricity and gas.
Finally, electric cars do not require a lot of maintenance and are cheap to
maintain, while traditional cars have combustion engines that need to be
lubricated (Rinkesh).

 

Despite the major contribution and evidence of hybrid/electric
vehicles to reduce GHG emissions and provide a healthier and more
cost-effective lifestyle, there are some downsides to using electric/hybrid
vehicles. One of the challenges of the hybrid/electric vehicles is the
installation of necessary infrastructures to charge the battery. Recharging
points are still not installed everywhere and in some cities, it is often
difficult to find a recharging point, therefore one should ensure recharging
points are available. Also, electric/hybrid vehicles can only travel 80-160km
until they must be recharged again, but this is expected to be improved in the
future. Finally, they are not suitable for cities that are short in power as
large amounts of electricity will be required (Rinkesh, n.d). Many taxi
companies such as Uber and Gett are trying to switch from the traditional cars
to the use of electric/hybrid cars. This has raised a lot of problems as people
are opting for Uber rather than using normal taxi companies operated by the
government. For example, due to the use of energy consuming cars and high
prices of Black Cabs in London, people are choosing to use other taxi companies
such as Uber and Gett which are using sustainable cars and operate at cheaper
prices.

 

Some urban cities are opting for electric and hybrid public
transport rather than the traditional methods. Most urban cities have
appropriate infrastructure to support sustainable public transport. It is an
affordable and time-effective method of transport for all ages, mostly
beneficial for students and the elderly due to the discounts. For example,
students in London can use Oyster Cards for public transport that provides them
with a 30% discount in travel cards. Buses can consume energy in two ways:
either store electricity using batteries or receive energy using overhead lines
or cables such as trolley buses, trams and trains. This method is often used in
Europe, specifically in countries like Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland. The
advantage of using electric/hybrid public transport is that the use of
innovative technologies produces a presentable image of public transport, which
encourages inhabitants to use them. Innovative green buses can store energy
using lithium-ion batteries, which are known as the world’s largest battery
that can store large amounts of energy. Roads become quieter and cleaner and
helps megacities reach their mitigation plans for climate change. However,
there are also disadvantages for using electric/hybrid modes of public
transport. Electric/hybrid buses are more expensive than diesel buses as
batteries are expensive more expensive to purchase than refuelling with diesel.
Therefore, some small urban cities are unable to use them as they are not
economically viable and cost-effective (UEMI, n.d). In addition to using
hybrid/electric bus systems, it is also important to make it easily accessible
for commuters. Urban planners should ensure bus routes are direct and simple
with short distances between each bus stop. Also, bus stops should be designed
to be safe, comfortable and accessible to all ages and abilities (such as in
front of schools, hospitals, shops) (Zavitsas, n.d). It is preferable for buses
to have their own lanes to reduce traffic as much as possible and make it
easier for smaller vehicles (cars) to move.

 

Another sustainable transport method is to
promote walking and cycling. Citizens should opt for walking if they are
physically able and the destination is not far. Walking does not emit any
greenhouse gases and is considered as a healthy exercise for the body. There
are several methods that can be used to support pedestrians at all ages and
abilities and cyclists. Transport engineering can help this method by
constructing infrastructure that is convenient for pedestrians and cyclists,
that are often direct and uninterrupted. Providing areas that are secure for
bicycle storage at strategic locations (such as community facilities,
educational institutes etc.) also encourages cyclists to cycle to their
destination. Major green cities such as London encourage people to cycle by
providing bicycle programs, where citizens can rent a bike and return it at a
certain time (i.e Santander bicycles provided every few kilometres) (LAQM –
Defra, 2008). Public bike centres are primarily implemented in Europe and the
United States. It is a free/low-cost concept that allows people to cycle to
their destination. For example, Paris developed a program called Velib (vélo liberté which
means bicycle freedom). It is a
self-service system where citizens use bicycles that are available in 1450
stations around Paris (Sodero et al, n.d). It is highly recommended for
transport engineers to construct lanes that can only be used by cyclists; this
helps protect them from larger vehicles, especially if urban cities highly
depend on trams and buses. Urban cities (mostly in Europe) such as Copenhagen,
Amsterdam and London provide separate lanes for cyclists to use, this has
helped reduce road accidents between cyclists and vehicles and reduced traffic
flow. Municipal planning helps make this possible where bicycle lanes and
pavements are constructed to be safe and easy to use for cyclists and
pedestrians. This includes specific traffic management to be implemented, such
as kerbside parking restrictions, one-way systems and signal control. Direct
and barrier-free routes should be constructed to make it easy for people to
cycle through. In addition to that, managing the traffic by reducing the
maximum speed to help keep on streets safe. For pedestrians, designing
structures such as pedestrian underground tunnels, bridges and walls for pedestrians
to cross the roads/streets at a safe manner without disrupting traffic (Zavitsas,
n.d). Pavements are constructed in a safe manner with very minimal street
furniture that can be a hazard to vulnerable citizens to allow pedestrians at
all ages and abilities to walk. Facilities were introduced to encourage people
at all ages and abilities to opt for walking rather than other modes of
transport. For example, signal controls were introduced that helps keep
pedestrians safe from the vehicles when crossing the street. Many urban cities (mostly
in Europe) have provided specific pedestrian zones for certain groups such as
walking impairment (elderly people, rollator users, wheelchair users), visual
impairment and hearing impairment. Engineers are constructing Barrier-free
designs (which is part of the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
objectives) which provides guided systems for disabled citizens with efficient
lighting, this is mostly successful in Vienna which holds a top position of
barrier-free design, where 90% of pavements have curb ramps (easy for
wheelchair and rollator users) (Strategy paper pedestrian traffic, 2014). Despite
the different methods that can be used to provide a safer environment to cyclists
and pedestrians, it is often inevitable to completely avoid vehicle accidents
due to human mistakes while driving.

System efficiency and optimization

Optimising the current transport
system in urban cities includes the use of technology, such as Intelligent
Transport System (ITS) and implementing policies such as limits on the times
trucks can drive, congestion schemes (such as London Congestion Charge System)
and encouraging the use of green vehicles that reduce GHG emissions as much as
possible (AASHTO, 2009).

 

London’s Congestion Charge is a
scheme implemented on driving vehicles where a daily charge is required once
vehicles drive through the congestion zones. Its aim is to reduce traffic,
encourage the public to use public transport and to reduce pollution due to
vehicle emissions. Introducing this scheme caused a lot of benefits for London
where there were 65,000 fewer car trips in congestion zones. London has a major
issue with traffic and the scheme helped reduce traffic delays by 30% and
reduced traffic by 21% due to 65,000 few cars every day. It helped improve human
health by improved air quality due to lower GHG emissions. London’s economy has
been benefitted after introducing the congestion charge where it profits £50m to
London’s economy (Green Economy in Practice, 2011). Despite the social,
economic and environmental benefits that have been caused, many argue that the
Congestion Charge scheme can be unfair and has drawbacks. Congestion charging
is unfair for people who are financially unable to pay the fee. Many
financially unstable people who work in Central London have faced difficulties
after the scheme has been introduced.

 

Producing innovative systems that
provide adequate information and technologies for transport such as the Intelligent
Transport System (ITS) that helps make transport more sustainable and efficient.
Several companies such as Arup and Atkins implement this method to help urban
cities to become more sustainable. ITS uses existing instruments and
technologies that can be used at different situations to create new services,
this helps improve safety, traffic control and environmental management. It can
be implemented on all transport modes such as vehicles, trains, ships and airplanes.
There are several objectives that need to be followed when using ITS. The aim
is to make the system as efficient as possible by reducing air and noise
pollution and travel times. The safety of the public is important by reducing
and preventing accidents as much as possible (Zavitsas, n.d). ITS can make the
best out of the service provided by public transport by giving public transport
the priority during traffic congestion, this helps encourage people to use
public transport rather than their own vehicles (Atkins, n.d). ITS includes
technologies for data collection, data communication between vehicles and infrastructure
and implementing on the data that has been collected to help make transport
more efficient (Zavitsas, n.d).

 

Conclusion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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