The European Union Council of Ministers of Transport defines sustainable transport as a system in which the the needs of citizens are met in the manner of human and ecosystem satisfaction while promoting equity between successful generations.
Sustainable transport is affordable, operates fairly and efficiently, while supporting a competitive economy and balanced regional development. Sustainable transport limits the waste within a planet's ability to absorb them, and uses renewable resources at or below their rates of regeneration.
Sustainable transportation regards systems, policies and technologies, as the goal is to create sustainable mobility for citizens in their communities. This transportation aims for the efficient transit of goods and services, and sustainable freight and delivery systems. Transport systems today have extreme impacts on the environment, causing 20 to 25% of the world energy and carbon dioxide emissions.
History shows the invention of public transportation by Blaise Pascal in 1662. The first passenger train began its operation in 1807, and the first passenger rail service began in 1825. Pedal bicycles date back from the 1860s, as these were the only personal transport choices to individuals before World War II. Oil price drop in the 1980s and the 1990s led a significant increase of transportation. Due to the increasing trend of sub-urban housing, distant from houses and workplaces, citizens were generally 'required' to have 1 vehicle per household. Transport systems are major emitters of greenhouse gases, responsible for 23% of world energy-related GHG emissions in 2004, with about three quarters coming from road vehicles.
Fuel consumption Around the World Today
95% of transportation energy comes from petroleum although a very small amount comes from bio-fuel resources and natural gases. Studies show that the average United States urban dweller uses 24 times as much more energy annually than a Chinese urban resident and 4 times as much as a European dweller.
Ways to Change the Environment
However, the environmental impacts of transportation can still be reduced by a number of ways: improving environments for pedestrians and cyclists in cities and by increasing the impact of public transportation. Public transportation can provide time, health and financial benefits to its commuters. If consumers are not interested in the idea of public transportation, they can also contribute by purchasing an electric vehicle (EV), as apposed to a gasoline-powered vehicle. New innovations are being produced by automobile companies such as Toyota, Chevy and Honda.
These innovations are one of the key factors to reducing the hazardous waste that has affected the environment to this day. The future promises more innovative automobile and transportation models as consumers are just beginning to understand the effects they have on the environment.