There are probably few advances in technology that have shaped society more than how we move ourselves across the globe. With advances in steam power, electric motors and finally the internal combustion engine over the 19th century, these new modes of transport drastically changed where people lived and what they ate. Beginning in the US nearly a century ago and soon after in Europe, the personal vehicle industry bloomed, with this technology quickly becoming as much a status symbol as a practical device.
Following WWII, the car meant that is was possible to own a patch of land while having access to all the essential services; the suburbs were truly borne and simplified… sprawl was inevitable. Food preservation improved and, with long distant travel increasingly inexpensive, there was greater selection with less effort through in purchasing store bought items than working the personal space.
The number of vehicles per capita is ever increasing (see recent values here), with multiple cars per house becoming a common sight in the suburbs of developed countries and single person trips the norm.
As transport is responsible for a large proportion of our greenhouse gas emissions, it is sensible to look into methods of increasing efficiency of the sector.
Although the first thought is generally directed at new technology, such as hybrid and electric vehicles, this ignores the problem congestion and extra space requirements and it also ignores other options that already exist. Here, we would like to offer other suggestions that could more rapidly be employed and address the many inefficiencies of the transport sector.
* Please feel to add comments, suggestions and feedback. If you have references, please provide them. The hope is that the above will serve as the first draft of an introduction to the chapter to which sub-chapters can be included. If you feel that a chosen chapter could be divided or approached differently, please don’t hesitate to suggest as much. At the end of the week, I plan to start to develop the chapter into something more formal, however, that doesn’t mean that the chapter is closed – so please feel free to continue to add to this post (keeping it relevant and not into broader debates) or to make suggestions on the separate page where I will post the more formal draft. This is not just my work, but a project open to anyone interested and I hope that others can also develop a sense of ownership for this open project 🙂