April 19, 2022
Blog/ Fuel for the future: three ways transport could change for the better
Transportation ranks amongst the largest contributing sectors to the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, alongside households and the electricity and manufacturing industries. It’s become clear that changing our travel habits is pivotal to sustainability efforts, both nationally and globally. But what can we as individuals change, and how can governments and policy makers transform the transport industry to help meet long-term environmental goals?
Encourage more cycling
Bikes and e-bikes are a popular way for people to get around, and they stand as a more sustainable alternative to traditional motor vehicles. The benefits of cycling are clear – not only for the environment, but also for the individual, as exercise boosts fitness and health. Travelling journeys measuring five miles or less by bike instead of car could result in a saving of 68 MtCO2e (metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) in current emissions.
There are many improvements that can be made to encourage more people to switch their car keys for a bike helmet. For instance, bike lanes could be lengthened to connect inner-city neighbourhoods with the more commercial areas. Safety measures around bike lanes could also be improved with the installation of physical barriers between the road and the lane, to help people feel safer on two wheels.
Away from the roads, there will also need to be more bike storage available in residential and commercial areas, as well as in open spaces. Having somewhere safe to store a bike will not only give cyclists peace of mind, but it could also help to connect people in urban areas with parks and green spaces throughout the city.
Encouraging more cycling also means supporting businesses in revolutionising their supply chains— cargo bike logistics helps to create cities that are more attractive for active travel because they lead to safer streets and cleaner air. Our cities must adapt and be adapted for the movement of goods, as well as people.
Make electric vehicles more accessible
In recent years, we’ve already seen a huge increase in the domestic use of electric vehicles (EVs), and this trend is set to continue. But if governments around the world are going to achieve net-zero targets in the not too distant future, more will need to be done to address drivers’ concerns around making the switch to electric.
In a recent survey, three of the biggest reservations about driving EVs were around a lack of charging points, cost and their range. Whilst technological improvements are being made to address the latter two, governments should look to install additional charging stations in more rural areas, to make electric cars a more viable option for everyone— as although EVs are not a silver bullet for tackling transport’s emissions, they are certainly going to play a part.
In the UK, work is already underway to make charging points more readily available. Since 2015, there has been a 44% increase in the number of public devices per year, on average, which will be encouraging to people wanting to make the switch.
Sustaianble fuel sources
Beyond fossil fuels, there are so many possibilities when it comes to alternative fuel sources for our vehicles. For example, hydrogen is often expected to play a crucial role in energy production for years to come. In theory, a car that is fuelled by a hydrogen fuel cell produces no CO2 emissions. However, the technology is currently very expensive, and it would need to become more accessible and affordable if it’s going to have a revolutionary impact on the transport sector.
To sum up
There are several ways that we can make our transport better in the future, ranging from big solutions that may require more investment, to simple things like swapping your car for a bike on short journeys. Even these seemingly small changes can make a difference to our planet, especially if we all put in the effort and go green.
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