It’s not uncommon for residents in China to wear a mask to protect their lungs from polluted air. Although most western countries have yet to adopt this preventive practice, many people might be surprised to discover how polluted the air is worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently confirmed that 92 percent of the world’s population resides in a place where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. Transportation alone accounts for more than five percent of the world’s total global warming pollution. But to examine the relationship between our environment and transportation often means finding ourselves in a contentious catch-22. Transportation carries substantial mobility benefits, but it also has the greatest source of emission pollutants that affect our health and environment. Fortunately, the transportation industry is using mobile technology, alternative transportation solutions, and cleaner fuel technologies to offset the adverse effects of air pollution to create a cleaner future for residents to enjoy.
So how have we started to reduce these harmful emissions? For starters, by utilizing public transit and ridesharing technologies. During the particulate matter alarm season (October 15, 2016 to April 15, 2017), a time when the weather conditions that cause atmospheric pollution, the city of Stuttgart, Germany calls on residents to use public transportation instead of their personal vehicles to reduce particulate matter. Riders can travel for half-price on local public transport, and with a bit of luck, even free of charge. moovel Group is supporting the particulate matter alarm activities by offering lower-priced passes Stuttgart’s public transit association (VVS) to the users with the moovel mobile app. Additionally, customers have the chance of traveling by bus and train within the VVS region at no charge. A random generator decides with each ticket purchase made via the moovel app whether moovel will bear the cost of the VVS tickets purchased. The offer is valid until the end of the particulate matter alert throughout the entire region of Stuttgart’s public transit association (VVS).
It is multimodal mobility platforms such as moovel that help makes the designing of transport in cities easier and more sustainable.
Programs like the particulate matter warning systems have already become standard in cities like London and Paris. Earlier this year, London announced that they are taking on air pollution. The city’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan, has pledged to communicate pollution warnings via social and traditional media. The goal is to reduce emissions from bus fleets by 74 percent and all remaining emissions by 50 percent. The mayor also seeks to utilize the congestion system to charge for the highest polluting vehicles on the streets of London. Paris successfully took action against transportation pollution in 2014 when the unusually high pollution levels hit the city. A driving ban was immediately put into place until the conditions in Paris finally improved.
There’s also the option of adapting to clean fuel technologies. Since the cost of oil is so high, cleaner fuels will provide a more affordable solution to reducing transportation-related pollution by diminishing the use of costly petroleum products. According the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), electric cars or trucks could conserve 1.5 million barrels of oil a day by 2035. To achieve this, there needs to be an incentive to invest in clean vehicle technology. Not only will countries be cleaner and safer, but they will also be using half of the oil they are today. The UCS also found that in the U.S alone, if 42 percent of households select an electric vehicle, motorists could save billions in fuel cost—while reducing the amount of global warming pollution. Currently, if consumers in the U.S purchase all-electric or plug-in hybrid cars, they are eligible for a tax credit up to $7,500. By the transportation industry providing cleaner transportation options for potential buyers, it will directly reduce overall global pollution.
It’s evident that we need both effective modes of transportation and a cleaner environment to enjoy them. Thankfully, the transportation industry is working hard to adapt new electric technologies and cleaner fuels to thwart an increase in pollution worldwide. If more cities work alongside innovative companies to reduce the contamination by providing lower costs through ride-sharing and public transit during times of high pollution, citizens can avoid the inevitable damage from vehicle emissions. It’s mobility platforms like moovel that can help make transportation smarter and more efficient. The solutions have been set into motion. We just need to continue to work together so that we can make a greater impact on our future environment making our cities smarter.
Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.