In 2017, the transportation sector emissions in the US surpassed emissions from power plants. It was a first since 1978.
The trend may not seem as alarming to those who have been analyzing the transportation sector for the past five years. But the latest data indicates a much-feared shift. It’s important now more than ever to emphasize the need to reform the transportation sector.
Policy hawks say introducing new taxes or fixed pricing mechanisms for vehicles based on mileage may alleviate the problem. But there’s a much better solution for not just the emissions problem, but also for car congestion on the streets: eco-friendly transportation.
Green Transportation in a Nutshell
Currently, over 90 percent of vehicles on roads run on fossil fuels. The implications of oil-run vehicles expand to environmental pollution, health problems, and climate change. Eco-friendly transport aims to completely eliminate emissions caused by modern-day cars by replacing fossil-fuel dependent vehicles with greener modes of transportation.
Green transportation relies on a form of renewable energy, as opposed to fossil fuels. Eco-friendly transport can be facilitated by solar energy, wind power, or hydroelectricity. While things like solar powered cars may seem a bit too futuristic, there are already green modes of transportation that we can utilize today.
Here is a list of promising eco-friendly transportation modes:
Once a staple mode of transport, and now a leisure activity, cycling is becoming a reliable way to get from point A to point B across short distances. Cycling requires no other form of energy than our own. Cycling is increasingly becoming popular in cosmopolitan cities, where traffic congestion and sky-high costs of owning a vehicle is keeping millennials from driving cars to work. Cities like Portland and San Francisco are trying to encourage more cycling to get cars off the road and reduce the burden on public modes of transport. However, modern American cities are built around car lanes. Therefore, if cycling is to become popular, more and more cities would have to undergo bike-friendly infrastructure reforms.
While cycling is popular, it’s not a much-desired mode of transport. Cycling can be exhausting. Imagine going to work every morning covered in sweat. Making cycling more convenient for commuters has taken on a novel form in the shape of electric bikes. E-bikes are powered by a massive electric battery that automatically boosts pedaling. Some e-bikes have fully automatic pedaling, while others provide a pedaling-support. E-bikes can travel as fast as regular bicycles without the rider having to expend much energy. Possibly as a result of that, e-bikes are rapidly rising in popularity as an alternative to cars.
Hydrogen Commuter Trains
“Hydrail” trains are powered by hydrogen gas. These trains are completely emission-free and are over 60 percent noise-free compared to traditional trains. Regardless, the performance of a hydrogen train matches that of a diesel train. Germany has jumped the wagon to test Hydrail trains, which it began this year. Canada and the UK have also shown strong interest in introducing hydrogen trains.
It’s not as if there are no solutions to the emissions crisis. The question is whether there’s enough motivation on the part of communities to actually adopt these solutions.
About the author
Tracy Plunkett is a writer from New Zealand who has a passion for photography and fitness. She writes on a wide range of topics.