Topic 1 Sustainable transport

There are a lot of different definitions of sustainable transport, however always refers to the broad subject of transport that is sustainable in the senses of social, environmental and climate impacts. Components for evaluating sustainability include the particular vehicles used for road, water or air transport; the source of energy; and the infrastructure used to accommodate the transport (roads, railways, airways, waterways, canals and terminals). Transport operations and logistics as well as transit-oriented development have to be taken in too. Transportation sustainability is largely being measured by transportation system effectiveness and efficiency as well as the environmental and climate impacts of the system. Sustainable mobility includes walking, cycling, the use of public passenger transport and alternative forms of mobility. It aims to ensure efficient and equal access for all, with an emphasis on limiting personal motor traffic and energy consumption, and on promoting sustainable travel modes.

EU definition which is taken from Centre for Sustainable Transportation is as follows:

  • allows the basic access needs of individuals and societies to be met safely and in a manner consistent with human and ecosystem health, and with equity within and between generations.
  • is affordable, operates efficiently, offers choice of transport mode, and supports a vibrant economy.
  • limits emissions and waste within the planet’s ability to absorb them, minimizes consumption of non-renewable resources, limits consumption of renewable resources to the sustainable yield level, reuses and recycles its components, and minimizes the use of land and the production of noise. Further readings: The Centre for Sustainable Transportation. (2005). DEFINING SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION. Prepared for Transport Canada. (these readings were conducted in September 2021)

The transport, economic and ecological interests of transport are often at odds. Firstly, we want people to have a high level of mobility and accessibility, and on the other hand, we want to avoid transport negative consequences. We are therefore aware that transport also has negative effects on the quality of life, so we need to find ways to ensure mobility for people, while at the same time burdening the environment less. Vehicles pollute the environment during use and during their manufacture (preparation for operation, maintenance, preparation of motor derivatives …). Transport affects the environment by polluting the air, water and soil with harmful substances, causing the greenhouse effect, acid rain, sound pollution (noise) …

INFRASTRUCTURE IMPACT (Construction of roads, railways, airports, ports, oil pipelines, gas pipelines, power lines. (Consumption of space (forest, agricultural land …); Cross-section of paths for animals and people who have to adapt to obstacles; Deterioration of ecological conditions in areas where it takes place; Shrinkage and loss of habitats, reduction of biodiversity …; Transport areas are made of artificial materials that accelerate the outflow of precipitation water, which affects the faster growth of watercourses and causes floods).

NOISE AND VIBRATION IMPACT (With the windows closed, the noise level from a nearby busy street will exceed 50 decibels, and at very busy intersections, the noise will reach 80 decibels. Less noise is achieved through proper traffic management (current traffic); Noise is controlled by noise barriers, smaller windows are installed in houses. Due to ventilation, air conditioners must be installed in such buildings; vehicles, cracks can form on the walls of buildings; sound also has a negative effect on animals. It puts animals under stress, increases the risk of their death, prevents quality communication between animals, makes orientation difficult; Excessive exposure to noise leads to temporary or permanent loss of hearing).

ACCIDENTS IMPACT (Direct impact on people who are injured or die in an accident; Direct impact on the environment: spill of hazardous or unhealthy substances; Most accidents have tankers that transport tons of oil. After the accident, oil slicks spread rapidly across the sea surface Coastal ecosystems are affected if spills occur near the coast, oil pollution can be fatal to marine and coastal fauna and flora, but it also disrupts feeding and reproduction, and the transport of hazardous substances by road is also at risk).

AIR, SOIL AND WATER POLLUTION AND HEALTH EFFECTS IMPACT (Transport affects the increase of the average temperature on Earth; This results in higher temperatures, the spread of deserts, an increase in the number of natural disasters as a result of extreme weather events; Air quality is problematic in cities, especially in winter, when heat permissible limit values; Formation of photochemical smog, which is harmful to the respiratory system and eyes; Nitrogen oxides with rainwater form nitric acid, which falls to the ground in the form of acid rain. Acid rain damages forests and acidifies lakes. Soil acidity destroys many microorganisms; Carbon monoxide causes cardiovascular disease, affects the central nervous system, causes nausea and headaches; Sulfur dioxide affects lung function, nitrogen dioxide worsens respiratory diseases; Carcinogenic organic and inorganic substances are found in fine particles; Ozone irritates the eyes and throat and causes cough and headache).

In summary, transportation facilities and activities have significant economic, social and environmental sustainability impacts:


Usually authors assess the economic and environmental impacts of transport strategies, very few provide any real understanding of the social impacts. The positive and negative social impacts of transport systems are still relatively poorly understood.

The social aims of sustainable development were identified consistently throughout the literature as threefold, namely:

  • Social progress,
  • Equity (or equality of opportunity) and
  • Justice (in terms of policy outcomes).

These three core social principles for sustainable development can be traced back to the Brundtland definition. Authors of Leeds University provided country report identifying social progress, it has been developed specially for UK, however can be easily used also in other countries. They have identified five factors:

  1. Poverty. (Household travel expenditure as a proportion of household income.),
  2. Employment, Health and Education. (Physical ability to access activities, i.e. entry-level jobs, healthcare and educational facilities and the affordability of that trip).
  3. Health and Safety. (Transport-related accidents, exposure to noise and air pollution, access to healthy affordable food and the health benefits of walking and cycling).
  4. Quality of life. (Ability to walk safely and easily within local area e.g. safely cycling routs, fear of crime on walking trips and when using public transport equality of opportunity (distributional effects)).
  5. Housing. In terms of housing, affordability vs. mobility trade-offs, spatial mismatches between housing location, employment opportunities and local services and amenities).

The main starting points of a sustainable policy are a sound environment and human health. We need to ensure that the need for mobility is met, but at lower cost and with less side effects, risk and consumption of natural resources. The negative impact of mobility in terms of energy consumption and environmental quality needs to be reduced. The transport system must be planned, rearranged and built systematically in accordance with environmental policy and taking into account landscape, geographical, cultural and other socio-economic conditions. In settlements, it is necessary to provide quality and affordable public transport, to provide appropriate footpaths and cycle paths. The vehicles we use must be regularly maintained and technically improved. The use of public transport – especially rail, walking and cycling – should be encouraged.

Further Readings (slo version)

Video: Dobre prakse trajnostne mobilnosti:

Video: (eng version)

STAR Cities – Good practices of Sustainable mobility & river tourism products (these video was viewed on September 2021)

Good practices of sustainable mobility

Kavalir is a free mini electric vehicle for transporting passengers on call. It operates in the city center in the pedestrian area and in the central part of Slovenska cesta in Ljubljana (common traffic area). It has no fixed lines. It can be called over the phone or caught on the street. In winter, there are two glazed vehicles, and in summer there are two more open ones. It is recommended that pedestrian areas more than 300 m away from urban passenger stops are connected to an alternative mode of transport, such as the Kavalir.

Free bus transport in Slovenia are in Velenje, Nova Gorica and Murska Sobota. It was introduced to reduce traffic congestion, the need for parking and increase the accessibility of some points in the city, including shopping malls, to the elderly who do not have their own transport. During two years of preparation, they contacted carriers and cities that already know this form of transport. Buses ran on weekdays every 30 minutes and every 15 minutes during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Free driving is not enough for success, it is also important to arrange transportation according to a tactful timetable – e.g. every 15 minutes.

Tariff integration and zonal payment enable cheaper tickets, and a single ticket facilitates transfer. It is not necessary to have duplicate buses and drivers for the same direction of travel. Users of urban lines find it easier to understand the course of travel on the extended line compared to previous suburban ones.

The sign for the dead end informs pedestrians and cyclists about the possible choice of shorter routes. As a result, it contributes to the attractiveness of walking and cycling and makes them more competitive versus driving a car. The introduction of a temporary dead end is a measure that can improve living conditions in residential areas.

Two-way traffic for cyclists can be provided on one-way roads. The measure is popular because it creates shortcuts for cyclists and is proven to be safe. Many years of experience in different cities and countries show the general safety, as the cyclist and the motorist can make eye contact and adjust their riding. Belgian guidelines for cycling markings: (these readings were conducted in September 2021)

(Fahrradstrasse – German, Fietsstraat – Netherland) is a public road, primarily intended for cyclists. Other vehicles are also allowed on it, but they must adapt the ride to cyclists. Parallel riding of cyclists is allowed. Motor vehicles may be subject to either one-way or two-way traffic. The maximum permitted speed is 30 km / h. The advantage of such an arrangement is that it is not necessary to build new cycling infrastructure, but in the existing road is given priority to cyclists. This is done with appropriate signalling.

An important aspect of walking is safe and comfortable crossing of the streets. A good example of a safely planned pedestrian crossing is the implementation of “Kidneys”. This term refers to the widening of the sidewalk in front of a pedestrian crossing. The “kidney” measure shortens the path for pedestrians, increases the visibility of the road and reduces the speed of vehicles crossing and the probability of a collision between a pedestrian and a vehicle.

Shared traffic space means the abolition of physical separations between a space intended exclusively for motor traffic and a space intended exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists. The purpose of such an arrangement is to encourage walking, cycling, social engagement, local business activities and at the same time to reduce road accidents. An example is Corso del Popolo, Monfalcone, Italy.

Pešbus and Bicivlak are an organized form of accompanying children to school. The goal is to encourage children and parents for the daily journey to school without a car. It is easiest to organize a bus transport; however the bicycle train is more interesting and attractive for children. The challenge is to provide a constant escort, especially for the train.

The founding father and driving force of the project is Helmut Moroder from the integrated local public transport company SAD-trasporto locale. The line was abandoned in the 1990s and revived in 2005. And what has been needed from a technical point of view?

  • First, a needs analysis must be carried out, a timetable must be drawn up, and only then the infrastructure.
  • Modern technology can help to eliminate errors.
  • It is important that timetables are synchronized.
  • An appropriate initial investment will reduce subsequent maintenance costs.

And what is needed from a political point of view?

  • Have public support.
  • Have the support of the economic sector (eg tourism service providers)
  • Have a political vision for the next 20 years.
  • Engineers: The positive results of the project need to be highlighted just before the next election.

Public passenger transport in South Tyrol,

The experience of the Municipality of Grosuplje in combining transports was very instructive for them. They realized that despite the initial problems (complications with the establishment of additional stops) and ambiguities, with perseverance, but above all with good intentions and good cooperation of all actors, an excellent solution can be achieved.

Recommendations to the municipality that would like to introduce a similar solution:

  • it is first necessary to identify the demand for public transport,
  • municipalities should invite all groups of public transport users to participate and establish a constructive dialogue with them,
  • after the introduction of solution, they should establish performance control.

The website was founded by students and is run by volunteers. The reason for the establishment was the desire to shorten the travel times of students, and soon the service began to be used by the general public. Despite quite a few suggestions for service improvements, it remains simple and does not connect with other institutions, companies and municipalities. Rural municipalities can promote the service among less mobile residents or help the elderly who do not use modern technology to arrange transport more easily. A portal for daily migrants can be set up at the local level. Municipalities can support fellowship by providing, arranging or organizing park & ride areas.

Werfenweng is a great example of introducing soft mobility in tourism. The location of the place itself contributed a lot to the success. It is located 45 km from Salzburg, and also has excellent bus and train connections. Each guest receives a SaMo Card if they arrive by public transport or leave their car keys at the reception. With this card he receives many free services. Sustainable mobility is not necessarily the pinnacle of development and can also be economically justified. The key conditions for the success of the Werfenweng concept were gradualism, a positive motivation that rewarded the participants and did not put pressure on others, a commitment to long-term sustainable development.

Chamois is the only municipality in Italy that is not accessible by car, but only by cable car, on foot or by bike. Mountain bikes, electric bicycles and other alternative means of transport are available for the local transport of people and luggage from the cable car to the village and hotels. The Autonomous Province of Valle d’Aosta owns the connection and, despite the difficulty, supplies the area throughout the year.

Promotion is important for the success of the program. The municipality promotes cycling and walking, publishes articles on the subject and participates in the development of Timetables in the Alps. The timetable in the Alps is a booklet that combines information on almost 50 lines of buses, trains, cable cars and ships across the Slovenian Alps and across the border, thus promoting the use of public passenger transport.

Through information (leaflets for tourists, articles in the local newspaper for locals), promotion of affordable transport, in some cases free, by public transport and viewing examples of good practice (such as Werfenweng) made people aware of the importance of sustainable mobility for the tourist attraction of the area. They understand the promotion of the use of public transport and, in general, sustainable mobility through tourism in the light of maintaining the possibility of public transport for the local population as well.

On a trip by public transport – A good network of public transport can enable both long hiking trips as well as a variety of trips with different starting points and places of descent. It is not only an environmentally friendly form of transport, but also more comfortable and more adventurous compared to traveling by car. With the WÖFFI project, they wanted to support this form of hiking in the Karwendel Nature Park.

‘Sustainable transport’ has become a priority for transport planning and policy making around the world. Sustainable transport plans often promote efforts to shift passengers from private cars to other modes such as public transport. However, the actual success of such efforts is likely to depend on how the transport sector is organised and governed.

Substantial progress has been made in improving the sustainability of transport in Europe. Nevertheless there remain important problems and challenges:

  • unsustainable rates of traffic growth, locally and in some cases at regional or international scales;
  • sometimes severe noise, severance and intimidation nuisances from traffic in built up areas;
  • persistent growth in emissions of greenhouse gases from road and air transport;
  • poor air quality in specific locations despite major improvements in vehicle emissions controls;
  • destruction and fragmentation of protected landscapes and habitats.

Many sustainability issues can only be resolved if decisions affecting access to jobs, housing, goods and services are taken in an integrated manner across sectoral administrative divisions.

The European Conference of Ministers of Transport is working to improve policies and move towards solutions in many of these areas, notably:

  • improved decision making incorporating best practice in cost benefit analysis and environmental assessment;
  • efficient and coherent pricing and financing of infrastructure;
  • reducing CO2 emissions from road transport;
  • promoting the use of low emission trucks;
  • improving the competitiveness of road alternatives – rail and inland shipping – and removing barriers to international development of their markets;
  • improving road safety;
  • resolving conflicts between transport and sustainable development in urban environments.

This implies that Transport Ministers need to take a more proactive lead in achieving sustainable development. Read more in the paper that sets out a common strategy for response.

Further readings: (factsheet to be inserted!!!)

Further readings: ECMT (2000), European Conference of Ministers of Transport. Annual Report, OECD;  (these readings were conducted in September 2021)

Sustainable urban mobility in the EU: no significant improvement can be achieved without the commitment of the all Member States. Sustainable urban mobility is one of the main challenges facing cities in the EU and a cause for concern for many citizens. Road transport is one of the main causes of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas, and costs the company around € 270 billion a year due to congestion.

In 2013, the Commission adopted a package on urban mobility and provided more funding – around € 13 billion for the period 2014-2020 – for environmentally friendly urban transport, which should make it more sustainable.

Based on audit work at the Commission and in eight different cities in Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain, the Court found no evidence that cities in the EU are fundamentally changing their approaches and found that there is no clear trend towards more sustainable modes of transport.

The Court recommends that the Commission collect and publish more data on urban mobility from the Member States and make access to funds conditional on the development of reliable urban mobility plans. Find more in the publication which is available in 23 languages.

Further readings:

Evropsko sodišče. (2020). Trajnostna mobilnost v mestih v EU: bistvenega izboljšanja ni mogoče doseči brez zavezanosti držav članic. Posebno poročilo.  THE REPORT COULD BE CHOOSE IN EVERY EU LANGUAGE! (these readings were conducted in September 2021)

Underlying goal behind the establishment of a smart transportation system for any modern city is to avail effective energy efficient modes of mobility for inhabitants while reducing transport-related carbon emissions. Sustainable transport involves planning and coordination of all mobility organs that are buses, trains, and traffic lights to mention but a few. Dissemination of live travel information to peoples’ smartphones to provide a personal touch that improves passenger experience while reducing any potential issues is one of option. Smartphone applications could be a communication platform to inform pedestrians and vulnerable road users on public transport systems about their destinations thus eliminating risks. United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development was of the view that modern city transportation must evolve to become smarter so as to account for the ever growing and demanding population.

The fundamental mass transit systems for a number of modern cities are trains, subways, and buses. Cycling is a common form of sustainable transportation commonly practiced in modern cities. In many countries, public bicycle systems under local governments or non-governmental organizations have been set up to share bicycles amongst inhabitants.

Sustainable development is the idea of a human society in which we avoid the dangers posed by focusing on quantitative material development by depleting natural resources and polluting the environment.

There is a direct link between the concept of sustainable development and the area of logistics, including transport. Brdulak (2012) pointed out “since more and more enterprises are increasingly aware of the fact that running a business in a sustainable way increases their advantage on the market as, in this way, they use their own resources more effectively (…). They know that, with their activity, they not only build a positive image but also they reduce costs, achieve competitive advantage and bring about the environmental protection”. European Federation for Transport and Environment defined sustainable development in the following way: “the movement which satisfies the needs for mobility of the present generations while, simultaneously, caring for the condition of the environment, living conditions and opportunities for economic development of future generations, expressing the share of transport in the development of the concept of sustainable development” (T&R Report, 2004).

Read more in the article: Examples of Sustainable Development in the Area of Transport at Part of special issue: 22nd International Economic Conference of Sibiu 2015, IECS 2015 “Economic Prospects in the Context of Growing Global and Regional Interdependencies” Edited by Liviu Mihăescu, Silvia Mărginean, Eduard Alexandru Stoica, Janusz Grabara (these readings were conducted in September 2021)

DKV Mobility is here presented as a company which combine principles of sustainable development with sustainable transport and profitable business model.

The leading mobile service provider, DKV Mobility, recently published an annual CSR report, which can be downloaded from the company’s website. The report covers activities in the fields of markets, environment, employees and society and is based for the first time on the internationally recognized GRI standard (Global Reporting Initiative). The mobile service provider has also outlined a direction of sustainability for the area of strategy and employees.

Since the inception of Charge4Europe – a joint venture of innogy and DKV – DKV Mobility has made steady progress in setting up Europe’s largest charging network for electric and hybrid vehicles. In addition to public charging points, the mobile service provider also offers products and services for power supply at home (@home) and at work (@work). They also give a strong emphasis on alternative fuels and digitization.

DKV places a strong emphasis on services that offer different types of fuels, in addition to conventional ones, also alternatives, such as liquefied natural gas. The company is also focusing on digitalization. DKV LIVE, a large-scale telematics system with a powerful digital platform, has entered the market. It was designed to support transport companies in reducing CO2 emissions through energy-efficient driving, economical tank management and transparency throughout the supply chain through Track & Trace and Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) services.

More detailed information on DKV’s sustainability orientation is available at: (these readings were conducted in September 2021)

It’s been five years since the UN set 17 social and environmental goals for sustainable development. World Economic Forum thinks that transportation can play a crucial role in achieving the UN SDGs. Innovative mobility trends, such as shared mobility, provide affordable and sustainable mobility options for people and can help achieve global sustainability goals, because transportation is currently the largest producer of energy-related CO2 emissions. We have to bring an elevated level of environmental awareness to our daily routines and our cities’ future transportation planning. Shared electric mobility with its potential advantages – such as the reduction of traffic congestion, the decrease in the use of private vehicles, the increase of urban space – can contribute to our societal and environmental success.

Several European countries are opening up financial incentives that support more sustainable modes of transport. In different countries are implemented different methods of support. For example, in Slovenia government give financial support if someone acquire electrical car, different companies offer space for electrical car sharing etc… Since 2010, there has been a scheme in Iceland (Samgöngugreiðslur) where those who do not drive a car to work, get paid a lump of money monthly. An employee must sign a statement not to use a car for work more often than one day a week, or 20% of the days for a period. Some employers pay fixed amounts based on trust. Other employers reimburse the expenses for repairs on bicycles, period-tickets for public transport and the like.

For more examples of tools and incentives read Article on An Incentive-Based Solution of Sustainable Mobility for Economic Growth and CO2 Emissions Reduction at (these readings were conducted in September 2021)