The guys over at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in America are doing great work in terms of research for mobility and sustainable transportation – particularly looking at the public sector. What relevance can first world US graduates’ research have for us, you ask? Well, one of their latest research infographics focuses on a topic quite close to South Africans’ hearts: inequality.
Less usage of public transportation is directly correlated to more pollution and inequality. Why? It’s safe to assume that people who need to commute will use their own individual automobiles, which leads to more pollution. The future of commuting via public transit is supported by leveraging technology to promote savings and sustainability. The energy and cost efficiency of the public transportation system directly affects urban cities, whether positively or negatively.
The pollution idea is super understandable, but inequality? Sure – it makes sense when you think about it. Price of anything is driven by demand. The less public transportation there is, the more traffic there will be as the ‘haves’ use their private vehicles and the ‘have nots’ use informal public transport. The more traffic there is, the more demand there will be to live in urban areas that negate long travel times, in the places everyone is rushing to i.e. Cape Town’s city bowl, Sandton, Braamfontein, Umhlanga. This drives the price of these areas up and soon anyone not privileged enough will be relegated to ‘poorer’ areas outside the charmed inner circle. Anyone whose seen the movie In Time will know just how unfair this can get if we let it.
So what can we do about it? A lot, it turns out.
Efficient public transport is one great equaliser of this because it cuts down on traffic via number of vehicles on the road dramatically. There are more benefits too. Carbon emissions can be significantly lowered when passengers choose to use more sustainable forms of transportation, such as walking and cycling. This will improve air quality in the area as well as lower carbon emissions. There are more benefits to this type of sustainable transportation. In addition to reduced CO2 emissions, this will create jobs and further support the local economy. One part of the world is already benefiting from employing more sustainable modes of transportation. In Bogota, Colombia, over 250,000 tons of carbon dioxide have been prevented from polluting the environment each year since 2000. This was achieved by using the city’s TransMilenio bus rapid transit system (BRT). An added benefit was the creation of 1,900 to 2,900 new jobs in Bogota.
Energy usage in the United States and greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced through increased usage of public transportation. Pollutant emissions inevitably lead to poor air quality as well as energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The Intelligent Transportation Systems, or ITS, is a system that helps reduce the impact on the environment. It involves a combination of strategies for the purpose of improved flow in transit systems.
For example, Smart Cities can be used for the purpose of maintaining the health of the environment of a busy, mobile populace. For Smart Mobility to occur, it’s necessary to develop seamless multimodal access. Clean mobility options as well as developing integrated technologies help promote an easy way to pay a fare and plan your itinerary. When it comes to employing cleaner fuel technologies, the public transportation sector is always among the first to adopt innovative fuel innovations. Of all the bus fleets in the United States, 21.7% use compressed natural gas or CNC.
The American Public Transit Association (APTA) and the Near Field Communication Forum (NFC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding public transportation. The memorandum is an agreement by both two entities to work together to educate the industry at-large regarding how to support public transportation operations.
Paying fares wirelessly is one effort that has encouraged the use of public transportation and made it more convenient. By applying NFC technology, a connection is made between the wireless payment reader and your mobile device. There are at least two companies on board to assist with the development of these technology platforms. These platforms will help automate and optimize operations and on-demand services that support fixed-route fleets with a great deal of occupants.
But really, possibilities and different types of solutions are just about endless, if you’re committed enough to giving people their equality back… What do you think, GoMetropolitans? We say, power to the people! So have a powerful, awesome week.