The European parliament yesterday supported a recent proposal for implementation of “ITS” (Intelligent Transport System). ITS use traffic information, from road stations and positioning by GPS, to control traffic flow in cities. Read more about it here.
The European parliament promotes ITS to improve road traffic safety by to reducing accidents and traffic jams. Volvo group has in addition been promoting green corridors, as I wrote about in the blog in December 2008. Volvo Bus Corporation is the world leading supplier of high capacity buses, since we pioneered the first BRT system in Curitiba, Brazil.
We have recently begun to combine the offer with an ITS system “ITS4mobility”. By improving the traffic control we have experience of both lowering the fuel consumption and the emissions by the BRT fleets in Mexico City and Bogota. We have learned that the combination of ITS systems and separate lanes for large vehicles brings not only safety but also large environmental benefits. In Bogota for example the air quality close to the bus corridors improved dramatically and the fuel consumption of the busses decreased by 50%, as calculated per passenger kilometre.
During a private dinner recently I was asked for the most environmentally friendly way to travel to work. I compared the data for cars, buses, trams on average European electricity and trains and finished by the conclusion that the bus is the most environmentally friendly way to go to work. This is supported both by carbon dioxide emissions and energy use. The lady next to me was however not satisfied with the answer and I had to include walking and biking in the discussion.
Reliable data for emissions and energy use for food productions is not easy to find. A global average is related to in the “Stern Report” but large local variations are to be expected. After some searching on the Internet I found a site that discussed the very same issue.
I was surprised to find such a very high energy use for food production in the US. The conclusion is, any way, that its even better to take the car than walking to work! Still, many of us, that can chose to go by different means, also needs some exercise and why not use the time and energy we need for exercise anyway to travel to work. And, both biking and walking combines very well with the most environmentally friendly efficient buss ride to work.
The European Environment Agency presents a study on the effect of transports on environmental indicators:
The last decade the person transports by cars have increased by 18% while it is also concluded that the high fuel price the summer 2008 increased the travels by the most cost efficient means, buses and coaches. A 10% increase of the fuel in average increased the demand for bus transports by 21%.
Somewhat misleading comparison is made between road and rail transports. While cars dominate in road transports key environmental indicators are not at their best. Interestingly, among the listed countries Turkey is the one that by far has the highest use of public transports. Turkey has also by far the highest portion of buses which brings a superior carbon footprint, to the lowest cost!
As I have written about previously in the blog, buses actually turn out as number one in environmental performance prior to other public transports.