Creating 100% Renewable Transport Systems

Guy Dauncey explores how to make transport systems 100% renewable - getting rid of fossil fuels and creating sustainable cities.


Last week I started to explore the possibility that British Columbia could become a 100% renewable energy region, as 140 regions in Germany are planning to become.

This week, we look at transportation. Is it possible that we could get where we want to be and ship our goods where they need to go without any use of fossil fuels?

Helsinki, capital of Finland, is taking a big step in this direction, with its goal that by 2025, nobody will need to own a car in the city at all, thanks to an advanced integrated 'mobility on demand' network of shared bikes, transit, LRT, and computer-automated Kutsuplus minibuses that adapt their routes to take you wherever you want to go.

The cars, trucks, ferries and planes that we use to go about our daily lives are 38% of the cause of global warming in BC, so this is clearly a big deal. So let's start at the easy end, and work our way into the difficult, uncharted territory.

Have You Ever Tried Cycling in North Vancouver?

Cycling is easy: the bustling city of Copenhagen has already demonstrated that 35% of its commuters can get to work by bike, and many cities in Holland can boast equally good numbers.

"Ah, but it's flat," you might respond. "Have you ever tried cycling in North Vancouver?"

"Ah," I respond, "have you ever tried an electric bike?" Electric bikes defy gravity, making hills vanish with a twist of the hand. In so doing they open up new realms of possibility for older cyclists, and anyone who doubts their ability to cycle a 10km round trip. Add safe protected bike-lanes, off-road bike trails, clearly marked intersections, good bike-sharing schemes with bike-attached tablets that give GPS based-directions, as they are doing in Copenhagen, and you've got a set-up in which cycling becomes irresistible.

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