The Lesser Known Benefits of Sustainable Transportation
People across the world are starting to become aware of the importance of reducing their carbon footprint. Most people do simple tasks like turning lights off when leaving a room or not keeping the water running while brushing their teeth. However fewer have taken the step to use sustainable transportation.
Sustainable transportation is any means of transportation that has a minor, if any, effect on the environment. What many people don’t realize is that the benefits of sustainable transportation go beyond just helping the environment; it can actually help the individual and the people around them.
One way that sustainable transportation helps individuals is by making them healthier, and not just in the “less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere” kind of way. Walking and cycling are types of transportation that fall under this umbrella. A person using these modes of transport not only gets exercise, but is immune from the stress of gridlock traffic and having to pay attention to the cars around them. Cycling and walking have no effect on the environment, so they are great modes of sustainable transport.
Even bussing and taking the train into work is better on your health than driving your car. Less stress from road rage and more walking or cycling to your bus stop mean that you can live a longer and healthier life.
Another little known fact is that sustainable transportation can save a person and their city money. An American citizen uses about four times as much energy as a European citizen, where sustainable transport is widely used. This energy equates into dollars. In fact in New York City where this type of transportation is also the norm, citizens save $19 billion each year just from using public transport instead of cars.
Cities can also save money because most sustainable transport doesn’t cause wear to highways. In 2008 American transportation departments spent $63.2 billion on constructing and maintaining highways. This number could be much lower if people used mass transit, car pools, walking and cycling to get around. Another great benefit is that sustainable transportation around a city can increase property values and encourage people to buy local, which will increase local food production.
The use of this more sustainable system also lessens congestion and traffic in cities, which is good for cities and individuals. Less traffic means people can get where they need to be faster when using highway oriented mass transit like city buses. Once again, this is also a health benefit due to less stress on citizens. On top of these benefits less traffic also means fewer accidents.
One benefit that is desperately needed during the global recession is the creation of jobs through sustainable transportation. Mass transit and energy efficient cars require people working in construction, design, technology, maintenance and manufacturing, among other fields. Simply adding to this transportation system can give thousands of people jobs that they desperately need. When people decide to get serious about transportation that helps the environment, they are getting serious about creating jobs as well.
New sustainable transportation methods are popping up every year. The amount of the population that recycles has significantly increased over the last forty years, so people are catching on to the necessity of lessening their impact on the earth. It usually takes years for people to catch onto new ways to help the environment, but since sustainable transportation helps the individual as well, it will hopefully catch on much quicker.
Article by April Santos writes for the team at www.online-medicalassistantprograms.com where you can help the planet go a little greener by finding a medical program that is within bussing distance.
photo: Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious.
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