Environmental Issues,  Sustainability

Transportation and Environmental Impact at the Travel Destination

How do you travel when on a trip? What do you prioritise when selecting a means of transportation? The majority of people choose a method which seems to be fast and safe, in order to go where they want to go.

It is only natural, of course, to emphasize convenience, speed and safety when selecting a  means of transportation. However, as the impact of travel on the environment is becoming more important it is of value to take a closer look at the transportation methods we choose.

In this article, we will look at the impact of transportation on the environment and environmentally friendly transportation options.

Transportation and environmental impact

According to the Belgium transportation site De Lijn, the CO2 emissions when traveling 1 km ( 0,62 miles) by the main means of transportation are as follows.

Railway 28g CO2/km

Bus 75g CO2/km

Hybrid bus 60g CO2/km

Private car 100g CO2/km 

Scooter 77g CO2/km

Walking/Bicycling 0g CO2/km

* Estimate the average amount of carbon dioxide emitted per transportation unit amount by dividing by the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from each transportation (person/kilometer: the number of people transported multiplied by the distance transported)

Public transportation emits less CO2 than traveling by private car. Whenever or wherever one is able to travel via public transport, it is important to use public transport as much as possible. One can also look for a bicycle-share when traveling in an environment-friendly manner.

If using ones’ own car is the selected form of transportation, one option which is more sustainable is the  eco-driving method which is basically driving with less acceleration or deceleration. 

Unique and eco-friendly transportation

Use an app to select eco-friendly transportation

An app called Miles developed by an American startup, allows you to earn points by being on the move. One can then redeem those points earned for online shopping or coffee shop coupons. The main feature of this service is that the points received will change depending upon the means of transportation. For example, if one opts to walk, they will get 10 times more points than if driving a car. If a train, bus, or boat or selected, the person will receive a few more points than if driving a car. This app is currently running in the United States. The service of accumulating more points by using such eco-friendly transportation is also beginning to be used in Europe. It’s a win-win for both the environment and for users, with a mechanism which makes it easier for each person to easily make more environmentally friendly choices.

In Japan, there are apps available that give points according to the number of steps walked. Walking is a preferred means of environmentally conscientious transportation when it is an option as the CO2 emissions are zero. A plethora of apps are available around the globe which inspire people to get out and walk. These can range from game-scenario type apps to fitness goals and even competitive walking distances.

Walking may not be fun all the time, but there aren’t many things that are better than walking for both personal health, fitness and mental wellbeing and the environment.

It is claimed that the sharing of electric kickboards, which has recently spread in various countries including Europe and the United States, is convenient and environmentally friendly.

A few items to consider about electric kickboards:

・ Is it good for the environment from the viewpoint of manufacturing?

・ Electric kickboards are an alternative to walking, not an alternative such as traveling by car, which has a high environmental impact.

・ Electric kickboards that have fallen into rivers and the sea are corroded and lithium is emitted, thus polluting the water quality.

Electric vehicle (EV) sharing services

The amount of CO2 emitted by automobiles is higher than that of other means of transportation. One alternative method is to ride an EV which does not emit CO2 or harmful exhaust gas while being driven. It has been pointed out that EVs may not be really environmentally friendly considering the manufacturing stage and CO2 emissions during power generation, but using them for sharing may be one solution. 

EV sharing services are already widespread in Europe. The Volkswagen Group’s EV-only car-sharing service “We share” is scheduled to be expanded to seven European cities, following Berlin, Germany. It is recommended to try these services if the traveller finds themselves in a city where the initiatives exist.

Electric bike / bicycle sharing

Recently in Tokyo, an increasing number of people are using the bicycle sharing option provided by Docomo Bike Sharing. In New Zealand, there are cases of people sharing electric motorcycles to further promote ecotourism. Motubikes has installed electric bikes and rented them out with electricity generated by solar panels to help tourists explore the Great Barrier Island in a more sustainable way. 

* International driver’s license is required for using electric bikes.

Selecting a preferred method of transportation is a highly personal issue based not only on location, proximity, price and personal preference. When considering individual transportation options, one could start by including not only “price and time” factors but also “environmental load” factor for those wishing to have a more environmentally friendly trip.

Recently, sharing services such as bicycles are becoming more common in the cities and in travel destinations. There is also a movement to promote “ultra-compact mobility” that seats one or two people and has excellent environmental performance. As well as “green slow mobility” which is electric mobility which is able to run on public roads at speeds of less than 20 km / hour, making it even more convenient and environmentally friendly. It seems that the number of options with less load will increase in the near future. New services are coming out one after another recently, so why not first find out what kind of eco-friendly choices can be made in your area and where the road will take you next.

Would you like to know more about eco-friendly travel?
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