In the current century, environmental pollution, climate change, and unsustainable technologies are among the major global challenges. In the transport sector, carbon emissions are gradually exceeding the minimum set standards. As a result, there is a pending risk of ecological disturbance, given that some species have become endangered. The melting of the arctic ice caps, for example, threatens the lives of animals which live in the cold regions. An example of the threatened is the polar bear. It is, therefore, important to encourage actions and behaviors that would work towards restoring the ecological balance that is so far at high risk. Public administrators and stakeholders have an uphill task in encouraging the adoption of environmentally-sustainable behaviors in order to remedy the situation. Greenhouse gas emissions are increasingly reaching alarming rates. One of the ways to ensure a reduction in the emission rates is through the adoption of public transport.
A city can promote public transport among its residents through leadership commitment, incorporation of modern technologies, and by conducting mass awareness campaigns
Significance of the Problem
Developed and developing economies both experience the challenge of unsustainable transportation. According to Pojani and Stead (2015), automobile domination in major cities leads to increasing congestion rates and pollution. The number of personal cars in any city has reached alarming levels. Unfortunately, city administration units have put in place limited to no measures to curb the increasing pollution caused by the swelling volume of personal cars. Most of the city residents prefer the convenience of traveling in personal cars. This convenience, however, comes at a cost because of the pollution impacts associated with the mode of transport.
Urban traffic congestion is another problem that calls for the utilization of public transport. While reviewing the case of Sri Lanka, Kumarage (2004), the author noted that high congestion rate is mainly associated with delays in personal schedules, high environmental pollution and general inconvenience. In the case study, the author noted how major cities in the world suffer the consequences of regular increase in the number of automobiles. As a recommendation, Kumarage (2004) recommends a reduction in the number of vehicles accessing major cities, especially in Sri Lanka. The best way to achieve the reduction is by adopting the use of public transport. In addition, the author suggests the establishment of dedicated routes through which only public vehicles can move.
Major cities of the world, according to Edwards and Smith (2008) should acknowledge the need for the adoption of public transport. The significance of the current transportation challenge in the cities should attract innovative and sustainable solutions. It is, therefore, mandatory to impose policies that will work towards ensuring that city residents become more aware and interested in adopting measures that will safeguard the quality of the natural environment. City administration organs have an uphill task to encourage their residents to understand the need for using public transport. This strategy would ensure that emission rates are kept at controllable volumes. In addition, the use of public transport offers major cities an opportunity to create space and utilize resources efficiently. With continued use of public transport, city residents, and all the other people in a region will most likely realize increased inconvenience, traffic congestion, and adverse environmental impacts.
The best approach to dealing with the transportation challenge in major cities is by encouraging the use of public transport. A city can encourage its residents to use public transport by adoption sustainable leadership practices. Everyone associated with the push for public transport should lead by example. Residents would be willing to prefer public transport when leaders utilize the same resources. By leading the way, city administrators challenge their residents to acknowledge the dangers that are associated with increasing traffic congestion and environmental pollution. According to the Australian Department of Transport (2013), at the workplace, employers and other leaders can also use public transport as a way of challenging their subordinates to adopt the same. They should share with the employees the main benefits that come with the use of this means of transport. By leading the way to sustainability, leaders have the opportunity to challenge the current challenges associated with the use of personal cars.
Awareness creation programs should also be created towards educating the public on the current adverse effects of the use of personal cars. City administrators should utilize multiple avenues to share information with their residents about the importance of using public transport. The European Union, through the CIVITAS initiative, for example, launched a campaign to promote sustainable mobility. One of the popular campaigns “Get around Funchal by Bus” was among the most successful, leading to a significant reduction in the volume of carbon emissions (European Union, 2020). Therefore, a city can encourage its residents to use public transport by adopting creative campaigns aimed at educating the masses on the value of sustainable transport.
Technology plays a pivotal role in making people adopt public transport. Introducing convenient practice such as mobile ticketing and online seat reservations can create convenience to most people willing to use public transport. City administrations should, therefore, work towards ensuring that the move from personal cars creates more convenience. According to Pojani and Stead (2015), modern technology is a central component of the transport system. To motivate people to use buses and trains, leaders should work towards ensuring that they provide the required value-additions with the support of technology. Bus companies should also ensure that their operations are technologically convenient to their customers. For example, developing mobile apps to support residents in making reservations and printing tickets is an example of a value-addition feature in the public transport sector. Public and private companies must, therefore, collectively work towards delivering value and convenience to passengers who choose public over private transport.
The problem of environmental pollution and increasing traffic congestion are major challenges in busy cities in the world today. The volume of carbon emissions is beyond manageable levels, sparking the adverse impacts of the climate change crisis. The transport sector is one of the areas that create high volumes of greenhouse gas emissions. The use of public transport is a viable solution to the problem, given that cities have the option of reducing the number of private cars along busy streets. The main ways that can be used to encourage public transportation in cities are through proper leadership, technological innovation, and mass awareness campaigns. Some of the strategies have been used by regional organizations such as the European Union to yield success in sustainable transport. The adoption of green transport practices in major cities of the world creates an opportunity to reverse climate change.
- Department of Transport (2013). TravelSmart Workplace Fact Sheet: Promoting Public Transport. Western Australia: Department of Transport. Retrieved on March 3, 2020, from https://healthierworkplacewa.com.au/media/2300/promoting-public-transport.pdf.
- Kumarage, A.S. (2004). Urban Traffic Congestion: The Problem & Solutions. Sri Lanka: University of Moratuwa. Retrieved on March 3, 2020, from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Amal_Kumarage/publication/311375042_URBAN_TRAFFIC_CONGESTION_THE_PROBLEM_SOLUTIONS/links/584cdd3308aecb6bd8c2e916/URBAN-TRAFFIC-CONGESTION-THE-PROBLEM-SOLUTIONS.pdf?origin=publication_detail.
- Pojani, D. & Stead, D. (2015). Sustainable Urban Transport in the Developing World: Beyond Megacities. Sustainability, 7(2015): 7784-7805.