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|See also the Road vehicles category.|
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Types of vehicles
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
- privately owned; see personal water vehicle, personal ground vehicle, personal air vehicle
- public: see public transport. Public transport vehicles includes cabs, trains, bicycles (Bicycle sharing systems), buses, trucks, helicopters, and aircraft (renting services).
Appropriate use of vehicle types
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
- 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.
- 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.
In my opinion, the table does need revising in light of these, particularly in relation to the relative comparison of the car to bikes and various rail modes. PatSunter, 14 Nov 2012
|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|
|Motorized bicycle||0-6 (0-30)|
|Car||3-300 (0-1500)||(urban) (other)|
|Bus (urban)||0.2-20 (0.2-50)|
|Coach (long distance)||1-300 (1-3000)|
|Urban Rail/ Metro||1-20 (0.3-50)|
|Conventional Rail||10-300 (0.3-5000)||High Speed Rail/ Maglev||100-800 (10-10,000)|
|Cable Car||0.3-10 (0.3-50)|
Tweaking old vehicles
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, ...
- SkyCab and Shweeb: railed vehicles suspended above the ground that can be directed to a specific destination (unlike most public transport vehicles as city buses, ...) See also http://www.sakaramenta.com/
- Electric vehicle
- Hybrid vehicles
Selected External Links
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, http://www.embarq.org/ :- "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, http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/ :- "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, http://www.streetsblog.org/ :- "Streetsblog is a daily news source connecting people to information about sustainable transportation and livable communities."