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S U S TA I N A B L E T R A N S P O RT: D E F I N I T I O N S A N D R E S P O N S E S 39 criteria leading to nonsustainability and its inclusion Perhaps the most devastating transport incidents in seen as redundant. terms of biological resources are the tankers that break Several years ago at a Transportation Research Board up and spew thousands of gallons of oil into the ocean or annual meeting the following question was asked: If we waterway they are traversing. Marine animals and adopted a renewable transport fuel with zero harmful waterfowl are often the most visible victims of such inci- emissions, would we have a sustainable transport sys- dents on the evening television news. At the same time tem? The question was never answered, but it is one we must realize that these are local impacts--severe, but that must be asked again. Clearly, if hydrogen was the local. We have never lost a species because of an oil spill. fuel, our concerns about the depletion of fuel stocks It is far more likely that we will eliminate a species of would be removed, as would the problems of global marine life through overfishing than through operations atmospheric impacts and local air quality. Fatalities in the transport sector. would also be reduced, since motor vehicle accident fires Although we are not at risk of losing biological species would be eliminated in the case of a hydrogen fuel. because of the nonsustainability of transport, there is no However, we would still have the problem of congestion doubt that transport impacts in this area are significant, in urban corridors and increasingly on major Interstate as evinced by Forman's Road Ecology (2003) and the highways, and this, and eventually gridlock, must cer- 1997 report Toward a Sustainable Future (Transporta- tainly be viewed as contributing to nonsustainability. So tion Research Board 1997). The latter report focused on the answer to the question is that even a wonder fuel climate change and ecosystem impacts, results of one of would not make the transport system sustainable. We the narrower definitions of sustainable transport. would still have congestion, which threatens only to get worse in the coming decades. Equity Noise Other researchers have looked at the question of what makes the transport system nonsustainable, and in so One major difference between sustainable transport in doing they have focused on the equity of the earlier defi- the United States and sustainable mobility in Europe is nitions (Litman 1999; Feitelson 2002). Some of these the latter's concern with noise. There is a wealth of lit- definitions dealt with the notion that operations on the erature suggesting that loud noise and continuous noise current transport system should not jeopardize the pos- can be harmful to human health. The harm may be psy- sibility of future generations satisfying their transport chological and result in nervousness and behavioral dis- needs. This is not meant to imply that future generations orders, or it may be physiological and result in impacts should have the same type of transport system that we as significant as heart disease from the excess produc- have today, although some have read it that way. It sim- tion of adrenaline. Many European nations are attempt- ply means that if we are going to continue with a system ing to lessen the level of noise, particularly in urban that is based on finite petroleum reserves, then we should areas. Of course, the same reactions are inherent in the have another fuel available for those future generations. transport systems of North America, and researchers This is what is meant by transgenerational equity. are trying to minimize them. However, the problem and It also is believed by some that if the transgenera- reactions to it are rarely viewed as part of the criteria tional argument is acceptable, then the current trans- making transport nonsustainable here. The density of port system should be equitable. An equitable transport cities and urban activities in Europe undoubtedly makes system would be one that is fair, impartial, and just. this factor more significant. Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with transport facilities being equally accessible or available for all potential users. To think so is to confuse income Biological Impacts policy with transport policy. It is clear that these ques- tions have not been dealt with enough in the transport Much attention has been given to the need to protect literature, and perhaps we will get better insight into biological resources from the damage created by trans- these aspects of sustainable transport in the near future. port activities (Transportation Research Board 1997). Animals killed along highways [estimated to be between 4 million and 6 million annually (Black 2003)]; rivers IMPACTS OF THE DEFINITIONS ON HOW and streams polluted and marine animals killed by TRANSPORT SUSTAINABILITY IS ADDRESSED runoff from highways, runways, and the like; and plants destroyed by emissions are all representative of these In certain ways the definition of sustainable transport is biological impacts. extremely important. This is particularly so if multina-

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40 I N T E G R AT I N G S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y I N T O T H E T R A N S P O RTAT I O N P L A N N I N G P R O C E S S tional regions, nations, states, and urban areas allow the This may require zoning changes in many communities. definition selected to guide all of their actions in the To the extent that planners have input into the process, realm of sustainability. It is unlikely that many areas they can encourage the development and improvement would do this, but there is some belief that many of the of public transit facilities that promise to remove some definitions involve controlling problems that are a func- drivers from streets and highways. Programs that tion of the amount of travel that takes place. Some local encourage carpooling would also be useful in some areas might see the best approach to sustainable trans- cities. port as one that involves decreasing the level of vehicle miles traveled. The general problem is more complex than a single-variable approach can handle. Global Atmospheric Impacts A more fundamental question would be, what is being done to address the problems preventing the cur- The principal global atmospheric impacts from the rent system from being sustainable, whether one places transport sector are emissions of carbon dioxide and the the problems in that context or not? In this regard there escape of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The former are a is reason for some optimism. significant portion of the carbon dioxide emissions from all sectors. The Kyoto protocol was intended to set lim- its on these emissions for most of the developed nations Diminishing Petroleum Reserves of the world, but the United States refused to sign on to the protocol. More recently, some European nations Diminishing petroleum reserves are being addressed in have begun to sound as though they will back away several ways. These are not necessarily planning based, from it. and I will return to that later. Since the 1970s we have Carbon dioxide and some trace gases are collectively had corporate average fuel economy standards and the referred to as greenhouse gases. It is generally believed gas guzzler tax, both intended to encourage motor vehi- by the scientific community that emissions of these gases cle manufacturers to produce cars that use less fuel per will cause a warming of the planet and that this in turn unit of distance traveled. Recently the average miles per will lead to melting of some middle-latitude glaciers and gallon has begun to drop, which may be attributed to upper-latitude ice cover, and that this melting along with the increasing number of sport utility vehicles in the thermal expansion of the oceans will result in a rise in vehicle fleet. Nevertheless, the fuel savings since the sea level. The ramifications of these changes run the mid-1980s are notable. gamut from losses of viable crop production areas to Another major improvement in this area is the devel- changes in the currents of oceans. opment of hybrid (gasolineelectric) vehicles such as the Planners and local areas have not done a great deal Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius. They significantly about this problem as such. If they advocate some of the increase fuel economy, although not by as much as some methods of decreasing fuel use noted above, they will be may have hoped. able to decrease carbon dioxide emissions, which are Development of alternative fuels is perhaps what currently running at about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide most people believe will be necessary in response to per gallon of gasoline burned. diminishing petroleum reserves. On this front the news California has enacted legislation that will require is not quite so good. Hydrogen is the promising alterna- automobile manufacturers to produce motor vehicles tive to petroleum-based fuels, but it is still far too expen- with significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions by sive to produce at a price that will be competitive with 2010. Legal challenges to the statute are likely, but if it gasoline. Ethanol is also not a major alternative now, can withstand them several eastern states are likely to and it is unlikely to have a major role in the future. Aside adopt similar laws. from subsidies needed to make it competitive, it uses The major concern with regard to CFCs is that they land that might better be used for food production. were creating holes in the ozone layer surrounding the The motor vehicle industry has introduced different planet. The holes increased the amount of ultraviolet intelligent transportation system technologies into vehi- radiation reaching the surface, which would lead to cles that should prevent drivers from getting lost. Most problems ranging from disturbances to the ocean food notable here is the combination of geographic informa- chain to an increase in human skin cancers and eye ail- tion systems and the Global Positioning System, which ments. decreases wasted travel. CFC emissions have plummeted since the end of Planners are not able to do a great deal in this area 1995, when the Montreal protocol brought a swift end beyond the obvious attempts to allow certain commer- to the production of this coolantsolvent. Some CFCs cial facilities (e.g., grocery stores) to be more ubiqui- still escape into the atmosphere from older automobiles, tous, which would result in less driving and fuel use. but this is probably not significant as we approach the

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S U S TA I N A B L E T R A N S P O RT: D E F I N I T I O N S A N D R E S P O N S E S 41 ninth anniversary of the withdrawal of CFCs from the responsive signals, lane designations, highway expansion, marketplace. parking control, and a host of other factors can be and are It would be misleading to think that the problems of controlled at the local scale by these individuals. They may the ozone layer have been solved. Emissions of CFCs set also be influential in getting local establishments to allow in place a chain reaction that continues today. We can- more flexible arrival and departure times and therefore not be certain when it will cease, although a couple of enabling a flattening of the a.m. and p.m. travel peaks. In decades has been suggested. addition, they are able to assist with the creation and maintenance of carpooling and similar operations. Although congestion appears to have almost leveled Local Air Quality Impacts off in the past few years, there is no reason to assume that this will continue. Therefore, it is likely that some- Significant strides have been made in this area because of thing more will have to be done. Interesting technolo- the fuel emission standards of the U.S. Environmental gies are possible in this area (e.g., electronically Protection Agency. Laws requiring reductions in emis- connected convoys), but expense will probably prevent sion levels have also been enacted. They have been suc- their appearance in the near term. cessful in reducing the levels of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and particulates. Levels of CFCs (found in automobile Noise air conditioners) and lead in gasoline have been reduced significantly. Transport noise exists in some communities in the United Acid deposition is a product of nitrogen oxide and States. The problem is usually combated with the con- sulfur oxide emissions. The transport sector's contribu- struction of sound-absorbing walls or similar structures. tion is not significant. Although convection does allow In parts of the world where the human landscape was some tailpipe emissions to become contributors to what well established before the arrival of motor vehicles, this becomes nitric and sulfuric acid "rain" and this in turn is not as easy to do. Europe and parts of Asia have sig- leads to biological and economic impacts, this is one nificant noise problems. Some experimental work is problem that seems to be improving. being done with sound-absorbing highway pavements, but it remains to be seen whether they will help in areas where the individual cars are relatively quiet but the total Fatalities and Injuries noise generated in a traffic stream is significant. The problem is not as bad in North America as in Significant improvements in the fatalities and injuries Europe, partly because of the lower density of settle- area have been made over the past 40 years. Fatalities ment, which enables highways to be placed at some dis- were in the 50,000-plus range during the 1960s, and we tance from residential areas. have seen improvements during the past several years that place this number nearer 40,000. Between 1999 and 2004, the fatality rate per 100 mil- Low Mobility lion vehicle miles traveled decreased from 1.50 to 1.46 (www.dot.gov/affairs/dot10605.htm). In March 2004 the Low mobility is as much a problem with sustainable United States set a national target of a 33 percent reduc- transport as very high mobility. The provision of mobil- tion in fatalities in the next 4 years. The reduction is ity is a key provision of several definitions of sustainable expected to occur through increases in seat belt use, transport. Localities can increase mobility levels for their stronger enforcement of drunk driving laws, and hours of residents by making sure that transport facilities are service regulations for motor carriers. The target is available to all members of the community. They can do achievable. Other countries have set more ambitious tar- this through providing regular urban public transit, rural gets (e.g., Sweden has set a target of zero fatalities), but transit, or specialized transit (for the handicapped and the action taken by the United States is a significant others). Funding for such operations is often difficult to improvement over prior goals that have been set. Most obtain, and a recent work (Ubbels et al. 2004) examines other countries have not established any goals in this area. many alternative mechanisms in this area. Congestion Biological Impacts Local planners and engineers have a significant influence Transport facilities and operations can affect animal on the problem of congestion. The placement of demand- and plant life. In some cases the impacts involve destruc-