November 02, 2020

How Transportation Impacts the Environment and Builds Sustainable TMS

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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 the 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 the 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. The impact of transportation on the environment is caused by toxic air pollutants, which cause primarily lead to increases in asthma hospitalizations, cancer, heart attacks, and 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?

The impact of transportation on the environment is predetermined by excessive traffic congestion. The road transport sector makes 74 percent of global CO2 emissions, while aviation, shipping, and railways report 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.

The 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 to human health.
The transport noise pollution problems, which are a part of the impact of transportation on the environment, vary along brake screeching, door slam, loose loads, horns, and over-amplified music systems. Though such sounds are considered less damaging, they still can bring health issues to those who are exposed to them for 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?

To reduce the impact of transportation on the environment, countries have regulated the emission level of pollutants in passenger cars and heavy-duty vehicles. To overcome difficulties with air pollution, companies worldwide implement green technologies in the transportation system.

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In fact, the only way we can essentially stop the problems is to fulfill green management’s practices for environmental safety in the 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, a 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 the environment.

Battery electric vehicles are the optimal solutions for short city routes, and fuel cell vehicles – are 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 has 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 and plan and execute the 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 for 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 the 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 the economy. Locating all of your transportation data in one place makes it possible to schedule and track shipments in real time quickly and easily.

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From shippers with only a few loads a week to enterprises with hundreds of orders, TMS allows locating all transportation data in one place, and scheduling 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 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 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:

Challenges to building a sustainable Transport Management System

Transport Management Systems are complex software that must be scalable, secure, and user-friendly. Here are some challenges you may face when developing such projects. 

#1 Data sources integration 

To make reliable predictions about delivery time and track vehicles at each destination, you need extra sources of information. For example, GPS, telematic devices, and weather forecast websites. Moreover, data sources can be provided in different formats and protocols which complicates the integration task. 

#2 Scalability

The transportation process is based on collaboration between multiple stakeholders like drivers, dispatchers, and fleet managers. Moreover, it involves a large number of vehicles and routes. In such a way, you should build a Transport Management System which is able to handle large volumes of data and provide real-time updates without experiencing any lag.

#3 Security

A TMS contains sensitive data, such as vehicle locations and driver details, which can be vulnerable to cyberattacks. Ensuring the security of the TMS requires implementing measures such as encryption, access control, and regular backups.

#4 Complicated user interface

Since Transport Management Systems contain large amounts of information, they’re frequently not user-friendly. However, you should understand that it will be used by your employees. So, make sure your TMS has a simple user interface where all necessary data is shown clearly. 

#5 Mobile compatibility

A TMS should be compatible with mobile devices to enable drivers to access information and update their status on the go. The system should also support mobile applications that drivers can use to receive real-time updates on their routes and schedule changes.

#6 Interoperability

The TMS should be interoperable with traffic management, toll, and public transportation systems. This enables seamless data exchange, allowing you to reduce traffic congestion, improve safety, and increase efficiency.

Our experience in developing sustainable Transport Management Systems 

As a software development company, Coreteka put special emphasis on the logistics industry. We look at the transportation process not only from a technical point of view but also from a logistics manager’s side. Our team has successfully developed a Transport Management System for the American tobacco company Philip Morris.

PM Tracker for Philip Morris 

When we started working on this Transport Management System, it was found that there is more than 7 million empty truck mileage per year. This causes 85,320 tonnes of CO2 pollution. So, the main objectives were both to optimize the client’s logistics process and reduce carbon footprint. Moreover, we integrated several data resources, such as road quality, security guards, and loading/unloading points knowledgebases. This allowed us to simplify all operations with PM Tracker. We also worked on usability. For example, logistics managers can use built-in templates to form a request. This solution is web-based which allows the company’s employees to access the system from any electronic device every time they need. 

You can explore more about PM Tracker on this page.

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Is it getting worse or better?

The impact of transportation on the 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 the 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 the impact transport has now on the environment, check what transport management systems have to offer. This might be the first step to reducing overall pollution.