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How transportation infrastructure keeps sustainability on the move

How transportation infrastructure keeps sustainability on the move
John Hodges
Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 12:45am

In a recent blog post, I described how the design phase often determines the biggest sustainability impacts of infrastructure projects. With transportation infrastructure in particular — whether for air, rail, road or sea — about to be radically transformed through technological advances, I foresee tremendous opportunity for sustainability.

If you think about it, the basic experience of transportation infrastructure has remained the same for the past 50 years. While other industries have undergone revolutionary technological advancements, cars, planes and trains (at least in the U.S.) move at roughly the same speeds today as they did 50 years ago. There have been advances in safety and fuel efficiency: for example, planes have about twice the fuel efficiency (PDF) they had in the 1960s. But a passenger’s experience has not changed much in recent history, with only a few visible technological improvements and exceptions.

Many people believe the most significant impending infrastructure shift is to a system of electric and autonomous vehicles. France, India and the United Kingdom are just some countries which have come out with plans to eliminate gasoline and diesel vehicles in the coming decades. Many major transport fleet owners — such as UPS, PepsiCo and Walmart — have agreed to the Sustainable Fuel Buyers’ Principles and started making efforts to move to vehicle electrification... FULL ARTICLE

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