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Thread: What is sustainable transport?

  1. #1
         
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    What is sustainable transport?

    So is sustainable transportation a system? is it a life style? does the term describe the integration of land use and transportation? is it density? compactness (as density could just be one tall tower?) is it bike paths? sidewalks? bus lanes?

    Looking forward to an interesting dialouge!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Any behavior or mode of living is sustainable if it can be incorporated into the lives of all living humans at a rate that does not exceed the Earth's replacement rate of any given resource neccessary for the particular behavior. In the stone age, wood was a great energy source but as Easter Islanders found out, it's use could easily be pushed beyond sustainability.

    Given the autocentrism of the developed countries (USA in particular), in tandem with the exponential population growth of the human species as a whole, and the finite nature of the primary energy source used for transportation (oil), the private car is - in it's "current" incarnation, an unsustainable form of tranportation for humans. If we massively increase our investments in renewable energy sources like wind and solar, it is possible that we may be able to continue our autocentrism, but it seems we will have to move toward less wasteful forms of transport such as light rail and subway as well as bicycles and walking in the future, regardless of how mindboggling our technology becomes. Yes, this does imply a better integration of the link between land use and transport, with a certain threshold of density below which transport becomes too inefficient and thus unsustainable.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Sustainable uses either no energy or a renwable source (solar methane corn). E-85 is a step towards sustainable transportation, but it does not get you quite the way there. Solar cars are sustainable too, but you can't operate them efficiently, patricular problems are long periods of not so much sun (as found in norther climates during the winter months of Nov-March).

    Most sustainable is providing pathways for biking and walking. This is more compact than today's typical suburban area, but not sigificantly so, I would think that biking and walking to local businsesses could be a real option if we had better zoning that would allow less separation between businesses and residentail areas. Better zoning would actually take cars off of the collector and arterials by allowing pedestrian links from neighborhoods to malls or shopping disticts. If it makes sense for someone to walk they will. We dis incentive walking too much in out society.

  4. #4
    The buzzword sustainable makes more sense when you think of it as the backlash against modernism. Sustainable development is anti-modernism. As such it includes all sorts of different concepts that may or may not relate to urbanism.

    To answer the question of the nature of sustainable transport, you have to think of the nature of modernist transport. It was cars. Cars for everyone and for everything, to go everywhere. Sustainable transportation is thus the backlash against cars, bringing back to use every form of transportation we had to give up to build an environment suitable to cars. This includes walking, biking, light rail, subways, whatever.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian chukky's avatar
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    I think it's important to identify the three main "forms" or sustainablity: economic, social, and enviromental. Usually it seems people talk about economic, whilst they are teaken to mean enviromental.

    Eg. Recreational fishing: Its not at all environmentally sustainable. So the kneejerk reaction would be to ban it. However, it is VERY economical sustainable - thousands of boat shops and bait shops and charter boats depend on it. From a purely economic view its completely sustainable - its not really an issue if fewer fish are around, you get to charge more for the pleasure of catching them.

    AND it's very socially sustainable... the myriad families and groups of mates you see fishing on any given saturday attest to this.

    Hence, we still have recreational fishing.

    Not sure how this applies to roads, but I wanted to make those distinctions.

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    I would use walk or bike if. . .

    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    Most sustainable is providing pathways for biking and walking. This is more compact than today's typical suburban area, but not sigificantly so, I would think that biking and walking to local businsesses could be a real option if we had better zoning that would allow less separation between businesses and residentail areas. Better zoning would actually take cars off of the collector and arterials by allowing pedestrian links from neighborhoods to malls or shopping disticts. If it makes sense for someone to walk they will. We dis incentive walking too much in out society.
    Here, here DetroitPlanner! I spent the past 4 years in a decent transportation environment, NYC. Now back in carland, I am frustrated with the 'state of the union.' Even with gas at $3+/gallon, I see single car drivers. My husband and I are using our one vehicle and trying to carpool. I would walk or bike to school and work 6 miles away if there weren't treacherous vehicles close to pummeling me off the road.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    It appears to be.....

    Middle aged women and men driving the Hummer family of vehicles and still buying these things!!! Have Money....will spend it stupidly.....

    How about greater connectivity with existing mass transit options! I would love to take the train to work, but it would take twice as long to get from the train to my office Same thing goes for bus service...need to identify more direct routes that could serve 100's each day and require a stop or two on the way.... Bike trails and walkways that lead directly to commercial centers is a great idea.....too late for South Florida though.....back in the day when the opportunity to build trails existed, grandma and grandpa didn't want to walk very far
    Skilled Adoxographer

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    I am another person who would use public transportation more often if it wasn't ridiculously inconvenient in my city. We have a sizeable fleet of city buses but you get to work about 1/2 to 1 hour later than normal when you use them. At the same time, the rise in gas prices may cause me to decide that this loss of time is worth it.

  9. #9
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Sustainable transport is a land use issue not a transport issue.

    Land uses that put human activities close together (e.g. production, work, living, education, shopping, and social) leads to sustainable transport. A land use paradigm that requires goods to needlessly travel long distances leads to unsustainable transportation.

    It's acceptable for Indonesian coffee to come from Indonesia. It's not sustainable (transportation wise) for New Jersey households to get California lettuce or for Kansas households to buy all of their plastic goods from the orient.
    Last edited by Wulf9; 31 Aug 2005 at 8:45 PM.

  10. #10
         
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    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    Sustainable transport is a land use issue not a transport issue.
    I think having land use and transport planners working separately, each thinking sustainable transport is the realm of the other, is a problem.

    I know it makes for unwieldy meetings, but don't you think both land use and transport planners should be at the table if we're to accomplish anything towards sustainability? (from less garages to better bike lanes).

    What do you think?

    RL

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