emissions can be attributed to various forms of transport. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 26% of greenhouse gas emissions in the USA in 2014 were due to various transport methods[sc:1]. Most modern vehicles run on fossil fuels, which release both carbon dioxide and a number of other greenhouse gases. Therefore, limiting vehicle use and making the vehicles we do use more efficient is a vital step towards reducing global emissions and mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change. This is absolutely vital if humanity is to exist as we know it in the future.
Over half of the world’s transport emissions come from personal vehicles. If we can reduce this by even a small amount, then the world will be better off. Increasing the usage of public transport, while continuing to improve its efficiency, is one of the best ways to reduce transport emissions[sc:1].
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Since riding on public transport means that you are leaving your own car at home, you will be helping reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, while also reducing your own carbon footprint. Here are some insightful statistics about the use of buses and trains instead of personal vehicles[sc:2]:
- A bus with as few as seven passengers is more fuel efficient than a car carrying one person.
- A fully occupied train is on average fifteen times more fuel efficient than a car.
- Buses produce just 20% as much carbon monoxide per passenger mile as single occupant cars.
- They also produce much less hydrocarbons (ozone precursors), nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants.
It is estimated that in the United States alone, public transport use reduces carbon emissions by around 37 million tonnes per year. A single person switching from a personal car to public transport can reduce their household carbon footprint by up to 30 percent[sc:3]. This is a huge reduction, and would go a long way towards achieving worldwide carbon emission targets.
Other benefits from using public transport
Not only does the use of public transport reduce greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions, but it also decreases road congestion. This is beneficial to surrounding ecosystems – less vehicles on the road means less infrastructure is needed, fewer road repairs will need to be made, and the need to build new roads will be hugely decreased[sc:4]. Taking buses or trains will reduce the amount of animals injured or killed when crossing roads. Less vehicles naturally means fewer animals will be hit.
In many western cities, buses and trains are increasingly becoming electric powered. This can potentially lead to huge decreases in greenhouse gas emissions in the future. If the transition to renewable electricity generation methods is eventually made, then public transport can theoretically be run without any harmful emissions[sc:5].
Increasing the use of public transport by the general population is one of the most important steps towards reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. If you are looking for ways to contribute to environmental conservation, then stop using your own car, jump on a bus or train, and relax in the knowledge that you are doing your part for the planet.