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Sustainable transport

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Default.png    See also the Road vehicles  category.
for subtopics, how-tos, project pages, designs, organization pages and more.

Sustainable transport is the movement of people and goods from one location to another. Within urban areas, it is a key aspect of creating more Sustainable cities.

Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. Transport can be public, where operators provide scheduled services, or private.

Types of vehicles[edit]

In general, following vehicles types can be distinguished:

  • water vehicle (includes supersurface water vehicles (regular or hydrofoiling), subsurface vehicles (regular or supercavitating))
  • ground vehicle (includes supersurface ground vehicles, subsurface ground vehicles)
  • air vehicle (includes lighter-than-air air vehicles and heavier-than-air air vehicles)

Most vehicles above can be either

Appropriate use of vehicle types[edit]

To determine the most fuel-efficient vehicle type in a specific situation, see See Appropriate methods of transport

To determine a vehicle type based on various factors (including cost, speed, ...) use the table below.

Note: While this table may be a useful starting guide, please also bear in mind several caveats of the difficulty of quantifying modes of transport for a direct comparison. 2 particular issues are highlighted below

  1. Regarding 'cost', there is the issue of direct 'cost' to the user in terms of e.g. buying a vehicle and paying for maintenance, versus the indirect costs paid by the larger society, and ultimately subsidised by e.g. taxation. Whilst the "infrastructure investment" heading tries to capture some of this issue, in the case of the automobile particularly this is challenging as "infrastructure" involves not just roads but arguably a global network of oil rigs, steel mines and rubber plantations, refineries, shipping, a network of petrol stations, etc. Whilst bicycles and other modes do draw on the same global infrastructure, the automobile drives it to a far greater degree.
  2. Secondly, the "cost" of any mode of transport involves negative externalities. Whilst some of these are included in the table below in the "Environmental, aesthetic and social impacts" column, again especially for car based transport these are now understood to be very broad - I.E. "social" impacts needs to include the very high cost of millions of car-related road deaths and trauma - as well as in affluent societies, we are now identifying the link between a car-based lifestyle and increasing rates of obesity and related illnesses.

Inaccurate content
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Mode Single journey range (km) / optimal (feasible) Speed of journey within optimal range Cost Mass transport capacity Reach/ Coverage Safety On-demand Infrastructure investment Comfort Customer Acceptance Fuel Efficiency Environmental, aesthetic and social impacts Land Use
Walking 0-2 (0-6) Greendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png
Bicycle 0-6 (0-30) Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png
Motorized bicycle 0-6 (0-30) Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png
Car 3-300 (0-1500) Reddot.png (urban) Greendot.pngGreendot.png (other) Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png
Motorcycle 3-100 (0-1500) Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.png Reddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.png Reddot.png Reddot.png
Bus (urban) 0.2-20 (0.2-50) Reddot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Reddot.png Greendot.png Reddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.png Reddot.png Reddot.png
Coach (long distance) 1-300 (1-3000) Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.png Reddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png
Urban Rail/ Metro 1-20 (0.3-50) Greendot.png Reddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png
Conventional Rail 10-300 (0.3-5000) Greendot.png Reddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png
High Speed Rail/ Maglev 100-800 (10-10,000) Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.png Reddot.png Greendot.png
Boat 1-200 (0.2-20,000) Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png
Aeroplane 600-20,000 (100-20,000) Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.png Reddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.png
Helicopter 10-500 (0-3000) Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png
Airship 300-2000 (50-20,000) Reddot.png Reddot.png Reddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png ? Reddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png
Cable Car 0.3-10 (0.3-50) Reddot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png
PRT 1-100 (0.3-500) Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png ? Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png
Elevator/Lift 0.1-0.5 (0.02-0.5) Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.png Reddot.pngReddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png
Escalator 0.1-0.5 (0.02-1) Reddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.pngReddot.pngReddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.png Greendot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.png Greendot.pngGreendot.pngGreendot.png Reddot.png

Tweaking old vehicles[edit]

Old vehicles can be made completely ecologic by means of changes to the propulsion technology. These changes include changing IC-engines to run on a emissionless fuel, or swapping out the engine altogether for ie a electric motor, ...

See also[edit]

Interwiki links[edit]

External Links[edit]

There are many websites and groups around the world with a significant focus on sustainable transportation, in different contexts and countries.

Some of the significant research and communication centers focused primarily on this topic and working towards broad, systematic change are:

  • The EMBARQ project, :- "EMBARQ’s mission is to catalyze and help implement sustainable transport solutions to improve quality of life in cities."
  • The World Streets website and community, :- "World Streets consistently argues for and supports Equity-Based Transportation Policies in the interest of efficiency, economy and environment. (Click to get started.)."
  • The Streets Blog website, :- "Streetsblog is a daily news source connecting people to information about sustainable transportation and livable communities."

Other useful information sources:

  • Better transport section of the freely available e-Book, 'Sustainable Energy: Without the Hot Air, by Professor David MacKay. Includes details of energy use requirements of different transport modes.