In 2016 there were 37.3 million vehicles registered in the UK, and out of these 30.9 million of them were cars. The number of cars has increased from 19 million in 1971 and is expected to increase further to 37 million by 2020.
There is 7 times more traffic on UK roads today than there was in 1950, and not only does this contribute to greenhouse gas emissions but it also causes poor air quality and road congestion.
Sustainable transport modes are those which help to reduce greenhouse emissions, improve air quality, and do not contribute to congestion. The most popular modes are walking, cycling, public transport, and car sharing.
There are great personal and societal benefits to sustainable transport too. By switching your daily commute from driving to either walking or cycling will give you exercise. Half an hour a day can reduce your risk of heart disease by 35 % and reduce your risk of a premature death by 30 %.
Cycling burns 500 calories an hour so just 20 minutes is enough to cancel out a bar of chocolate or a glass of wine. People who walk or cycling regularly are less likely to need time off work sick and this provides an economic benefit to society.
Electric cars will be an important method of transport in the future and will certainly help to improve the air quality in our cities. However, unless the electricity used to charge them is generated from renewable sources they still contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, and they will also contribute to congestion on our roads.
So what can we do?
Where possible try switching to a sustainable mode of transport, especially for short journeys. If you are able to walk or cycle to work or school, instead of driving, it will save you money and make you healthier as well as helping to reduce your impact on the environment.
Next level – Game Over?
Featured image by Chris Skinner used with permission