Sustainable transport came into use as a logical follow-on from sustainable development, and is used to describe modes of transport, and systems of transport planning, which are consistent with wider concerns of sustainability.
European Union Council of Ministers of Transport, defines a sustainable transportation system as one that:
- Allows the basic access and development needs of individuals, companies and society to be met safely and in a manner consistent with human and ecosystem health, and promotes equity within and between successive generations.
- Is affordable, operates fairly and efficiently, offers a choice of transport mode, and supports a competitive economy, as well as balanced regional development.
- Limits emissions and waste within the planet’s ability to absorb them, uses renewable resourcesat or below their rates of generation, and uses non-renewable resources at or below the rates of development of renewable substitutes, while minimizing the impact on the use of land and the generation of noise.
Accelerating local sustainable development
Helping create jobs
Improve commuting safety and make access to employment and social opportunities more affordable and efficient by investing in bike lanes, pedestrian and non-pedestrian paths.
Transport systems are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 23% of the world’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in 2004, about three-quarters of which came from road vehicles. Figures from 2011 show that one-third of all greenhouse gases produced are due to transport. Currently 95% of transportation energy comes from petroleum. Energy is consumed in the manufacture and use of vehicles and is reflected in transportation infrastructure such as roads, bridges and railways. Motorized transport also releases exhaust fumes containing particulate matter that harms human health and contributes to climate change.
Transport-sustainable communities can be part of a broader plan to create more vibrant, liveable, sustainable cities.