November 02, 2020

Impact of Transportation on Environment and Current Condition of Sustainable Transport Management Systems

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Transportation plays a central role in economic and social development. Its objective is to move passengers and goods efficiently to a variety of locations with the least negative impact of transportation on environment.

However, the irrational use of transport causes serious damage to the ecology every year. Emissions of carbon dioxide were rising by about 1% per year over the past ten years because of passenger road vehicles’ growth. The emissions’ growth was led by China and India. The United States experienced an increase of over 3%.

With transportation being restricted within and between countries after the COVID-19 pandemic, global CO2 emissions decreased by –17% on average.

It’s only fair to say that the impact of transportation on environment can be drastic and lead to brutal consequences.

Let’s see how does the transportation industry affect the environment and what we can do to reduce its impact?

How transportation affects the environment?

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Current transportation systems in megacities are facing several challenges: traffic congestion, lack of reliable and safe public transportation, road accidents, air and noise pollution, climate change, and energy depletion.

Energy use and carbon emissions are increasing faster in the transport sector than in any other sector. Vehicle emissions significantly degrade air quality, especially for pedestrians on busy highways, and drivers. Impact of transportation on environment is caused by toxic air pollutants, which cause the primary lead to increases in asthma hospitalizations, cancer, heart attacks, respiratory and neurological diseases.

Highway vehicles, marine engines and aircraft are sources of pollution with gas greenhouse emissions that affect air quality. Fuel, chemical, and other hazardous particles from port and airport terminal operations can contaminate rivers, lakes and seas.

How does the transportation industry affect the environment in numbers?

Impact of transportation on environment is predetermined by excessive traffic congestion. The road transport sector makes 74 percent of global CO2 emissions, while aviation, shipping and railways report for 12 percent, 10 percent, and 4 percent respectively.

The proportion of the transport sector in world oil consumption is much higher than the share in world energy consumption.

Emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the burning of fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel is a major contributor. The elements like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide (N2O), nitrogen oxides, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are causing global warming.

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The matter of noise pollution

Airports and railway stations are such large blocks of land that they create huge streams of sounds, harmful for human health.
The transport noise pollution problems, which are a part of impact of transportation on environment, vary along brakes screeching, door slam, loose loads, horns, over-amplified music systems. Though such sounds are considered less damaging, they still can bring health issues to those who are exposed to them during long periods of time.

Noise emissions can be reduced through measures, related to road surfaces, by increasing the distance between source and recipient, widening the existing roads, or hampering noise propagation by insulating buildings or constructing noise barriers. The construction of new roads works as a temporary solution because these roads will become congested again. Another possible solution is to lower speed limits on congested highways.

How can we reduce the impact?

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To reduce impact of transportation on environment, countries have regulated the emission level of pollutants of passenger cars and heavy-duty vehicles. To overcome difficulties with air pollution, companies worldwide implement green technologies in the transportation system.
In fact, the only way we can essentially stop the problems is to fulfill green management’s practices for environmental safety in reduction of fuel and oil consumption:

  • to eliminate the usage of gasoline-powered vehicles, choose hybrid and electric vehicles instead;
  • to use the best quality fuels for the vehicles;
  • to reduce the travel distance of the passengers;
  • to raise usage of public transport instead of private;
  • to build proper transportation infrastructure;
  • to switch to a more environmentally-friendly fuel (biodiesel and bioethanol). CO2, which is emitted during combustion, is equal to the CO2, that is taken up by the biomass during cultivation.

How do transportation options affect the environment?

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General trends in the transport segment show the usage of electrical modes. Elon Musk, famous industrial designer, believes that it would take numerous decades just to stop the production of gasoline-powered vehicles. He proposed to establish a carbon tax on companies that are disgorging C02 into the atmosphere. Musk’s innovative company Tesla has played a significant role in his efforts to eliminate the need for fossil fuels. Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and energy products, powered by solar energy, that can certainly decrease the impact of transportation on environment.

Battery electric vehicles are the optimal solutions for the short city routes, fuel cell vehicles – for longer routes. The options listed below are considered “green” transport:

  • modern electric trains which use hydro or nuclear power;
  • electric motorcycles are powered by batteries, and they do not produce any emissions;
  • hybrid cars have two powered engines: one runs on gasoline and the other has an electric motor;
  • a shared electric two-wheeler consumes less energy than electric cars, and have good battery capacity.

How transportation management system can make things better?

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Presently, Transportation Management System, also known as TMS, is originally developed to rationalize transport flows, plan and execute physical movement of goods across the supply chain. Companies can use it to manage their freight operations digitally instead of calling and emailing the partners.

TMS is beneficial not only financially, but as a solution of supporting transport networks in diminishing the movements and different kinds of emissions. It improves operational processes with correct analytics and diminishes the impact of transportation on environment.

Overall optimization is performed through artificial intelligence usage, automated decision-making, load and route consolidation, and automated freight audit, which brings the companies up to 8% of economy. Locating all of your transportation data in one place makes it possible to schedule and track shipment in real-time quickly and easily.

From shippers with only a few loads a week to enterprises with hundreds of orders, TMS allows locating all transportation data in one place, schedule shipments in real-time. Transportation management system software can assist with the following functions:

  • find out the prices for customers’ orders and book for delivery;
  • track from the warehouse to the final destination;
  • manage contracts;
  • provide freight options in all modes domestically and internationally (by the sea, train or plane; in bulk or in parcels);
  • optimize routes (loads, carrier selections, analytics);
  • create invoices, make reports about freight audit (no errors and duplicate payments in documents);
  • integrate into ERP or WMS;
  • measure Key Performance Indicator.

TMS helps the shippers to determine the best transportation mode and most reliable carriers. The users are positioned to negotiate for better rates and service levels with their partner carriers. All stakeholders can use this platform to import orders, consolidate them into loads, and see updates. The cloud-based transportation management systems are looking more user-friendly and cost-effective.

If you wish to learn more about TMS, check the video below:

Is it getting worse or better?

Impact of transportation on environment leads to negative results now, but the world slowly wakes up, and more companies day by day are making investments in things that will save a planet in the long run.

Transport management systems are only a part of the ecologically friendly approach. But, if you’re looking into the perspective of reducing impact the transport has now on the environment, check what transport management systems have to offer. This might be the first step to reducing overall pollution.