Transportation is becoming an increasingly important issue because it is the world’s fastest-growing use of energy, accounting for 30% of total global energy consumption and 95% global oil consumption (Worldwatch Institute). A great deal of research is currently being performed on making environmentally friendly fuels and more efficient vehicles, such as hybrids, clean diesel and fuel cell cars. While technological advancements toward more efficient and less polluting personal vehicles has its place, it does not take away from the fact that the symptoms of our current transportation dilemma manifest from a design failure.
The ultimate solution seeks the root of our transportation problems. In a sustainable world, people will decrease their reliance on cars and trucks. Sustainable urban and community planning will produce a new symptom; healthy people living in walkable, bikeable communities. Community design that allows people to walk, bike or utilize public transportation to arrive at their local grocery, bank or workplace is the ultimate goal from which a sustainable transportation system will surface. The return to regional economies will systematically rather than technologically reduce transport miles and thus reduce unhealthy emissions that are causing asthma and cancer rates to soar in cities today.
So next time you get in your car, think about the impact that your individual choices may have in your community. It will, after all, be the sum of individual choices that ultimately change this ideal into reality.
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