By enacting this response, we can leave behind polluting, stressful and congested commuting and embrace cheaper, cleaner, and healthier mobility solutions.
Why do we need this response?
There are currently 1.2 billion cars and trucks on our roads and that number is expected to be 2 billion by 2030. Our cars make up 41 percent of transport emissions (transport is 29 percent of total emissions). Even if all new vehicles were electric, the mining of rare minerals and extraction would have to dramatically increase and the number of deaths on our roads (currently more than 1.5 million people a year) would also increase. The congestion in our cities would intensify and commuting really doesn’t make people happy (US residents spend an average of one hour a day in their cars). Then there’s the rising costs of registration, fuel and maintenance, and insurance.
How are others approaching this?
There are many ways that people around the world are attempting to [collective response]. Below is a small sample. If you have any further examples that you think should be on this list, please get in touch.
Electric buses or trams are a terrific solution as they carry more passengers than cars while emitting fewer emissions and pollutants. China is leading the world in the electric bus rollout - by a long way. In 2020 they had roughly 430,000 electric buses on their roads compared to just 350 in the USA. Recently the NSW Government in Australia has pledged to convert all of its 8000 diesel buses to electric by 2030.
Not surprisingly, Norway has been leading the way with electric ferries.They recently launched the world’s largest electric ferry that can carry 600 passengers and 200 cars. Other harbour cities like Sydney or Auckland will have to adopt this technology in the years ahead if they are to avoid the dirty marine diesel or heavy fuel oils that are currently being emitted
Electric vehicle ride share
Many car companies are investing in fleets of driverless, electric cars or vans that will move us around cities in the future. We will subscribe to ‘transport networks’ much like we do with Netflix or Spotify. This will be far cheaper than owning a car as parking, fuel, registration and insurance costs will all be avoided. Phoenix Arizona is already experimenting with driverless taxi fleets.
Electric Vehicles grid storage
‘Vehicle to Grid’ as it is known or V2G is another solution that is gaining serious traction. The idea is simple - electric vehicles are large batteries on wheels. Some car batteries are up to 3-4 times larger than the standard battery seen on the side of a house. If that vehicle is plugged into a home via a special ‘bi-directional charger’, then the energy from the car’s battery can be used by the grid in periods of demand and the owner will be paid accordingly. It is estimated that by 2025, all new EVs will be V2G compatible.
Clean transportation ideas
Milan recently announced it will convert 20 miles of streets into pedestrian and bike-only paths. Guangzhou in China, home to 14 million people, has some of the highest walking levels in the world due to a nature corridor it built along the Pearl River that links tourist destinations and sporting venues. And Austria is incentivsing a car-free society by charging residents just 3 euros a day to travel anywhere in the country on bus, trains and subways.
15 minute city
Imagine a city where everything you needed could be found within a fifteen-minute walk or bike ride from your home, including fresh food, healthcare, schools, offices, shops, parks, gyms, banks, and entertainment. The paths to get there are safe, tree-shaded, car free neighbourhoods where people can get to know each other. It’s called the fifteen-minute city and its not imaginary. The Paris mayor has implemented this ambitious plan and it’s underway. Cities in the US, Spain, China and Australia are also taking the concept on board. As the age of the car fades, cities are being redesigned to serve their residents, discovering how much healthier, vibrant, and resilient they can be.
Regenerative Actions you can take on
We believe every one of us has a role to play in Regeneration. If you are interested in helping, here are some actions we have identified that you could take on in your life.