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Making transportation sustainable

How do we go about making transportation more sustainable? There are three main approaches: inventing new technologies, charging people the full costs of travel, and planning better so we increase accessibility but not mobility.

New technology

This is the hardest category to rely on for a solution, because we simply can't predict what might be invented in the next five to fifty years that could transform how we travel. The jet engine totally changed air travel, making larger planes possible and increasing the distance those planes could reach without refueling, leading to the replacement of train and ship travel over long distances. However, the jet engine has not really changed since the 1960s. Is there some new technology that could provide more propulsion with fewer inputs and emissions? It's possible. But at the same time, it would be unreasonable to count on future inventions magically removing our sustainability problems rather than working with what we already have.

Technology is more than just machines and computers, of course; it also depends on how people use it. When the automobile was first invented, it was seen as a vehicle for leisure trips into the country, not a way to get around every day. As people reshaped the landscape to accommodate cars with wider, paved roads and large parking lots, more people made use of the car to go to work or shopping, and it became integrated into daily life. The unintended consequences of technology are therefore another reason to be wary about relying on new technology to sustain our current system.

Charge full costs

The economist Anthony Downs has written that traffic jams during rush hour are a good thing, because they indicate that infrastructure is useful and a lot of people are using it ( Downs, 1992 ). He also notes that building more lanes on a highway is not a solution to congestion, because people who were staying away from the road during rush hour (by traveling at different times, along different routes, or by a different mode) will now start to use the wider road, and it will become just as congested as it was before it was widened. His point is that the road itself is a resource, and when people are using it for free, they will overuse it. If instead, variable tolls were charged depending on how crowded the road was—in other words, how much empty pavement is available—people would choose to either pay the toll (which could then be invested in alternative routes or modes) or stay off the road during congested times. The point is that every car on the road is taking up space that they aren't paying for and therefore slowing down the other people around them; charging a small amount for that space is one way of recovering costs.

Freeway Traffic Typical congested traffic on an urban freeway – I-80 in Berkeley, California. Residents of U.S. cities typically require automobiles to experience mobility. Note the externalities that the drivers are imposing on others such as air pollution and congestion. The left lane is for car-pooling – as marked by the white diamond – an attempt to address the congestion externality. Source: By User Minesweeper on en.wikipedia (Minesweeper) CC-BY-SA-3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
hi
Loga
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
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Source:  OpenStax, Sustainability: a comprehensive foundation. OpenStax CNX. Nov 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11325/1.43
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