IntroductionWith the ever-increasing population density in both, developed anddeveloping countries, this has led to a surplus in the urban population with adecline in rural population.
There are greater residential areas, along withgreater job opportunities which results in an increase in the need of transportationmethods to access services such as jobs, schools and social activities. Urbanareas have become increasingly dependant on mobility which in return, causenegative impacts on social, economic, environmental and ecological sectors thatneed to be addressed. Due to a decrease in the price of vehicles, people arebecoming more dependent on vehicles, which has become much easier than usingdifferent transportation methods such as public transport, walking and cycling(Crane-Droesch, 2006). Developing countries are becoming more dominated with theuse of personal vehicles rather than public transport and pedestrians, this ismainly due to long distances people need to travel to reach a particulardestination; also, as developing countries are currently improving their urbancities, more highways are being constructed which makes it difficult for theuse of public transport, walking and cycling to be done. Hence, increasing mobilisationhas led to traffic congestion, damage to ecosystem, road accidents, decline inpublic transport, lack of accessibility, climate change and global warming.
Onthe other hand, most of developed countries that have invested in sustainablemethods of transport do not face most of the problems encountered by transport.For example, cities in Northern Europe prohibit cars from entering certainstreets, 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 causeof greenhouse gas emissions, it has produced 24% of global emissions (Adelaal,2015).
Hence, using green mobility as a method to urban planning is economicallyviable, socially equitable and environmental balanced. Green mobility has beendefined as “sustainable transportation that allows the basic access needs ofindividuals and societies to be met safely and in a manner consistent withhuman and ecosystem health, and with equity within and between generations.Green mobility is affordable, operates efficiently and offers choice oftransport mode, supports vibrant local, regional and national economies.”(Sodero et al, n.d). “It limits emissions and waste to levels with the planet’sability to absorb them and uses renewable resources at or below their rates ofgeneration and uses non-renewable resources at or below the rates ofdevelopment of renewable substitutes. It reuses and recycles its components andmaintains integrity of ecosystems and minimizes land use and noise.
” (Sodero etal, n.d). Governments and non-governmental organisations consider sustainabletransport as methods where individuals can access basic needs and services in amanner that does not affect human and environmental health, withoutcompromising the needs of future generations. Also, sustainable transport mustbe efficient and affordable for the economy. Efficiency is important to reducethe 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 whenapproaching a sustainable method to reduce long-term problems such aspollution, climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to theimportance in protecting the environmental sector, the social sector. Thesocial sector is often forgotten, where there are a lot of road accidentsassociated with the increase in the use of private vehicles and is oftenconsidered as an individual’s mistake. More transport accidents and fatalitieshave been reported between vehicles and pedestrians, where pedestrians havesuffered more than half of the fatalities that have been caused due totransportation (Zavitsas, n.
d). This paper discusses the different transportengineering methods to support green mobility as a vital solution to help keepurban cities safe, efficient, clean and cost effective. The economy, social andenvironment elements will be discussed as a reason why investing in sustainabletransport methods is important. The different methodswill be used are Two-Step Framework by the Canadian Institute of TransportationEngineers (CITE), Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and INSERT THIRD METHODHERE. Despite the different efficiencies of THREE METHODS in assessing greenmobility, the challenges that will be encountered are INSERT CHALLENGES HERE.
Alternative modes of Sustainable Transport and UrbanPlanningThe aim of Green Mobility is to provide the inhabitants easy accessto all urban areas using different modes of transport that help keep theenvironment safe, healthy and cost-effective (Mohan & Tiwari, 1999). Due toeconomic growth and urbanisation, inhabitants are travelling more frequently.This causes cities to invest in different sustainable transport modes alongwith urban planning to help keep the cities safer and healthier (Thynell et al,2010). Along with the economic, social and environmental aspect, the politicalaspect is also considered. For example, hosting the Olympic Games in Beijing in2008 and Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, led to the investment of differentmodes of transport (other than the traditional private vehicle mode) to attracttourists and make transport faster and more efficient. There are several modesof sustainable which include hybrid cars, pedestrians, bicycles and publictransportation. There are several aspects that should be considered when makingdecisions 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 touse vehicles that are fuel or energy efficient; this is to reduce thegreenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution. Existing standard vehiclesconsume a lot of gasoline or diesel for the combustion engine, which in returncause air and noise pollution. On the contrary, hybrid vehicles have aninternal combustion engine with an electric motor and battery that can bepowered using electricity to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels andemissions (Bidhuri, 2015). Hybrid vehicles include cars, trucks, ships andtrains. There are several benefits of the use of hybrid vehicles, these includeimproved fuel economy (less money spent on fuel), increased power and less GHGemissions caused due to fossil fuel consumption.
In addition to that, they produceless noise and do not vibrate like the standard vehicle, do not require a lotof maintenance and have a strong acceleration (Abdelaal, 2015). Hybrid cars (such as Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius and Ford FocusElectric) can operate on both, electricity and gas, however electric cars onlyoperate with the use of electricity. Electric vehicles operate usingrechargeable batteries that also function the lights and wipers. There areseveral reasons why investing in an electric car is beneficial for people andthe environment.
Electric cars are much cheaper to run and can be recharged atvery cheap prices rather than normal cars, where an average person would spendabout $2000-$4000 on gas. The advantage of using electric cars over hybrid carsis that they are 100% efficient and eco-friendly where toxic gases and fossilfuels 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 tomaintain, while traditional cars have combustion engines that need to belubricated (Rinkesh). Despite the major contribution and evidence of hybrid/electricvehicles to reduce GHG emissions and provide a healthier and morecost-effective lifestyle, there are some downsides to using electric/hybridvehicles. One of the challenges of the hybrid/electric vehicles is theinstallation of necessary infrastructures to charge the battery. Rechargingpoints are still not installed everywhere and in some cities, it is oftendifficult to find a recharging point, therefore one should ensure rechargingpoints are available.
Also, electric/hybrid vehicles can only travel 80-160kmuntil they must be recharged again, but this is expected to be improved in thefuture. Finally, they are not suitable for cities that are short in power aslarge amounts of electricity will be required (Rinkesh, n.d). Many taxicompanies such as Uber and Gett are trying to switch from the traditional carsto the use of electric/hybrid cars. This has raised a lot of problems as peopleare opting for Uber rather than using normal taxi companies operated by thegovernment. For example, due to the use of energy consuming cars and highprices of Black Cabs in London, people are choosing to use other taxi companiessuch as Uber and Gett which are using sustainable cars and operate at cheaperprices. Some urban cities are opting for electric and hybrid publictransport rather than the traditional methods. Most urban cities haveappropriate infrastructure to support sustainable public transport.
It is anaffordable and time-effective method of transport for all ages, mostlybeneficial for students and the elderly due to the discounts. For example,students in London can use Oyster Cards for public transport that provides themwith a 30% discount in travel cards. Buses can consume energy in two ways:either store electricity using batteries or receive energy using overhead linesor cables such as trolley buses, trams and trains. This method is often used inEurope, specifically in countries like Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Theadvantage of using electric/hybrid public transport is that the use ofinnovative technologies produces a presentable image of public transport, whichencourages inhabitants to use them.
Innovative green buses can store energyusing lithium-ion batteries, which are known as the world’s largest batterythat can store large amounts of energy. Roads become quieter and cleaner andhelps megacities reach their mitigation plans for climate change. However,there are also disadvantages for using electric/hybrid modes of publictransport. Electric/hybrid buses are more expensive than diesel buses asbatteries are expensive more expensive to purchase than refuelling with diesel.Therefore, some small urban cities are unable to use them as they are noteconomically viable and cost-effective (UEMI, n.d). In addition to usinghybrid/electric bus systems, it is also important to make it easily accessiblefor commuters. Urban planners should ensure bus routes are direct and simplewith short distances between each bus stop.
Also, bus stops should be designedto be safe, comfortable and accessible to all ages and abilities (such as infront of schools, hospitals, shops) (Zavitsas, n.d). It is preferable for busesto have their own lanes to reduce traffic as much as possible and make iteasier for smaller vehicles (cars) to move.
Another sustainable transport method is topromote walking and cycling. Citizens should opt for walking if they arephysically able and the destination is not far. Walking does not emit anygreenhouse gases and is considered as a healthy exercise for the body. Thereare several methods that can be used to support pedestrians at all ages andabilities and cyclists. Transport engineering can help this method byconstructing infrastructure that is convenient for pedestrians and cyclists,that are often direct and uninterrupted. Providing areas that are secure forbicycle storage at strategic locations (such as community facilities,educational institutes etc.) also encourages cyclists to cycle to theirdestination. Major green cities such as London encourage people to cycle byproviding bicycle programs, where citizens can rent a bike and return it at acertain time (i.
e Santander bicycles provided every few kilometres) (LAQM –Defra, 2008). Public bike centres are primarily implemented in Europe and theUnited States. It is a free/low-cost concept that allows people to cycle totheir destination. For example, Paris developed a program called Velib (vélo liberté whichmeans bicycle freedom). It is aself-service system where citizens use bicycles that are available in 1450stations around Paris (Sodero et al, n.d).
It is highly recommended fortransport engineers to construct lanes that can only be used by cyclists; thishelps protect them from larger vehicles, especially if urban cities highlydepend on trams and buses. Urban cities (mostly in Europe) such as Copenhagen,Amsterdam and London provide separate lanes for cyclists to use, this hashelped reduce road accidents between cyclists and vehicles and reduced trafficflow. Municipal planning helps make this possible where bicycle lanes andpavements are constructed to be safe and easy to use for cyclists andpedestrians.
This includes specific traffic management to be implemented, suchas kerbside parking restrictions, one-way systems and signal control. Directand barrier-free routes should be constructed to make it easy for people tocycle through. In addition to that, managing the traffic by reducing themaximum speed to help keep on streets safe. For pedestrians, designingstructures such as pedestrian underground tunnels, bridges and walls for pedestriansto cross the roads/streets at a safe manner without disrupting traffic (Zavitsas,n.d). Pavements are constructed in a safe manner with very minimal streetfurniture that can be a hazard to vulnerable citizens to allow pedestrians atall ages and abilities to walk. Facilities were introduced to encourage peopleat all ages and abilities to opt for walking rather than other modes oftransport.
For example, signal controls were introduced that helps keeppedestrians safe from the vehicles when crossing the street. Many urban cities (mostlyin Europe) have provided specific pedestrian zones for certain groups such aswalking impairment (elderly people, rollator users, wheelchair users), visualimpairment and hearing impairment. Engineers are constructing Barrier-freedesigns (which is part of the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilitiesobjectives) which provides guided systems for disabled citizens with efficientlighting, this is mostly successful in Vienna which holds a top position ofbarrier-free design, where 90% of pavements have curb ramps (easy forwheelchair and rollator users) (Strategy paper pedestrian traffic, 2014).
Despitethe different methods that can be used to provide a safer environment to cyclistsand pedestrians, it is often inevitable to completely avoid vehicle accidentsdue to human mistakes while driving.System efficiency and optimizationOptimising the current transportsystem in urban cities includes the use of technology, such as IntelligentTransport System (ITS) and implementing policies such as limits on the timestrucks can drive, congestion schemes (such as London Congestion Charge System)and encouraging the use of green vehicles that reduce GHG emissions as much aspossible (AASHTO, 2009). London’s Congestion Charge is ascheme implemented on driving vehicles where a daily charge is required oncevehicles drive through the congestion zones. Its aim is to reduce traffic,encourage the public to use public transport and to reduce pollution due tovehicle emissions. Introducing this scheme caused a lot of benefits for Londonwhere there were 65,000 fewer car trips in congestion zones. London has a majorissue with traffic and the scheme helped reduce traffic delays by 30% andreduced traffic by 21% due to 65,000 few cars every day. It helped improve humanhealth by improved air quality due to lower GHG emissions. London’s economy hasbeen benefitted after introducing the congestion charge where it profits £50m toLondon’s economy (Green Economy in Practice, 2011).
Despite the social,economic and environmental benefits that have been caused, many argue that theCongestion Charge scheme can be unfair and has drawbacks. Congestion chargingis unfair for people who are financially unable to pay the fee. Manyfinancially unstable people who work in Central London have faced difficultiesafter the scheme has been introduced. Producing innovative systems thatprovide adequate information and technologies for transport such as the IntelligentTransport System (ITS) that helps make transport more sustainable and efficient.Several companies such as Arup and Atkins implement this method to help urbancities to become more sustainable. ITS uses existing instruments andtechnologies that can be used at different situations to create new services,this helps improve safety, traffic control and environmental management.
It canbe 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 aimis to make the system as efficient as possible by reducing air and noisepollution and travel times. The safety of the public is important by reducingand preventing accidents as much as possible (Zavitsas, n.d). ITS can make thebest out of the service provided by public transport by giving public transportthe priority during traffic congestion, this helps encourage people to usepublic transport rather than their own vehicles (Atkins, n.
d). ITS includestechnologies for data collection, data communication between vehicles and infrastructureand implementing on the data that has been collected to help make transportmore efficient (Zavitsas, n.d). Conclusion