We often talk about the benefits of sustainable mobility and the use of the bicycle as the most efficient vehicle.
However, it is worthwhile to sketch and reflect on the results of a non-SUS-tainable mobility model with a clearly high car dependence for daily commuting.
If it is not clear that we are talking about something important, below a decalogue with 10 direct results of this un-sustainable mobility
1.- Pollution. According to several studies by the WHO and the European Environment Agency, environmental pollution is the most important risk to global health.
90% of the European Union’s urban population is exposed to harmful levels of pollution that lead to approximately 430,000 premature deaths. 31,000 in Spain due to cardiovascular and respiratory problems.
2.- Climate Change. Traffic Mobility is responsible for 94% of greenhouse effect emissionstoday. In Spain, 30.3% ofCO2 emissions.
3.- Public Health. Huge dependence on the motor vehicle leading to sedentary habits. A lack of activity associated with problems such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Did you know that it is the fourth mortality risk factor in the world according to WHO?
4.- Energy inefficiency. Current mobility depends 95% on oil and the combustion engine. However, it is highly inefficient: only 20% of its energy potential is used. Isn’t it ironic that, in addition to an inefficient means of transport, we also use 1.5 tonne vehicles to transport one 70 kg person?
5.- Congestion. Did you know that in Spain we display angry behavior in traffic jams for an average of 10 hours? 10 hours would give enough time to see the final season of Stranger Things in one day.
But this lost of precious time translates into an economic cost for companies of 840 million euros.
“The car owns the city”
6.- Soil consumption. The car owns the city even if we don’t like it at all. We allocate60% of the urban space despite being parked 92% of the time.
Imagine having all that space for other activities. The streets would look habitable again, the neighbors in the doorways of their homes, and we would regain much of that lost community of neighbors.
7.- Noise pollution. There are two main causes of noise pollution in urban areas: road traffic and people listening to reggaeton in the street at full throttle.
The second is respectable, but the first, according to WHO, involves being exposed to noise levels in excess of 55 decibels. And that affects our daily life: sleep disturbances, discomfort, problems with work and school performance, etc.
8.- Accident rate. Commuter traffic accidents accounted for 11.6% of all accidents at work in 2017. We all know that we don’t drive to work so relaxed during rush hour and always try to be on time. And that comes at a price with the risk of road accidents.
9.- Social and labour market exclusion. While it may seem a bit inappropriate at these times, the availability or not of a car can be a barrier to certain jobs.
Keep in mind that many business parks do not yet have public transport options or alternatives from companies.
Women, young people and immigrants are the groups most affected by this problem.
Commuting to the workplace cannot be seen as an aspect where the sole responsible person is the individual.
10.- Loss of Competitiveness. The EU is estimated at more than EUR 500,000 million, or 4% of the Union’s total GDP, the economic costs arising from the nine points mentioned above. Could it be that no one has kept up with this huge problem?
In the end, the current mobility model reduces the competitiveness of the production system, affects workers’ health, deteriorates the natural and urban environment, and consumes vast amounts of non-renewable resources.
When will the time come to changethis model of unsustainable urban mobility?