The Future of Green Transportation
Almost all cities in America were designed to accommodate and promote transportation by personal automobile, with little consideration given to other modes of transportation. There are many ways to change this trend, some of which are already happening. Green transportation will play a key role in reducing pollution and increasing energy efficiency in the sustainable cities of our future.
Biking in Green Cities
Up until fairly recently, trying to commute to work by bicycle in most major cities in the country was inconvenient and downright dangerous. An increasing number of cities have retrofitted their streets with bike lanes to promote this green mode of transportation, but sustainable cities of the future will be designed to make biking a safe, convenient, and clean form of transportation.
Other countries, like the Netherlands, have already adopted cycling as a way of life by incorporating bicycle only paths, bridges, and lanes into new designs, and repurposing abandoned roadways and paths in redesigns and renovations of existing infrastructure. Features like unused railroad tracks, drained canals, and vacant tunnels can be converted to automobile-free corridors for safe bicycle transportation. In Copenhagen, one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world, cyclists save more than 90,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
In addition to extensive consideration for bicycle transportation, green transportation of the future will also incorporate designs that make it easier and safer for people to travel by foot.
A recent report found that public transportation use is at its highest level in 57 years, with 10.7 billion trips in 2013. Increased public transit use has been found to reduce air pollution and improve local economies by giving people more access to jobs and retail areas. These benefits will be even greater with green transportation technologies in the future.
Public transit vehicles could be powered by super-efficient solar panels or by electricity provided by energy- and money-saving smart grids, which use innovative real time monitoring to efficiently distribute energy from clean, renewable sources. By using renewable energy to power public transportation, cities will benefit from reduced pollution and pollution-related health problems.
Electric vehicles (EV) are becoming increasingly popular as technology improves and prices get lower. Green transportation of the future will accommodate and promote electric cars by increasing the necessary infrastructure, like charging stations.
Just a few years ago it was nearly impossible to come across an EV charging station, but in the coming years, sustainable cities may have these power sources for electric cars as abundantly as we have gas stations today.
Self-driving electric cars used to be nothing more than a science fiction fantasy, but now technology is quickly making them part of reality. Ideally, these super-smart, super-efficient cars will reduce accidents as well as pollution.