Green in the City is an annual environmental seminar series that explores key climate issues through the lenses of local, municipal, and regional speakers. On November 3, 2020, we explored Making Sustainable Transportation Choices where we listened to speakers from TTCriders, the City of London, and a local cycling advocate. Find the 5 most important actions we learned from the workshop in this blog post!
What is Sustainable Transportation?
Sustainable transportation refers to modes of transportation that have a lower impact on the environment compared to conventional vehicles. This includes public transit, cycling, carpooling, walking, or any combination of those. In addition to reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality, sustainable transportation can create more connected and efficient transportation grids in an urban area.
But most cities are not designed for sustainable and active transportation. Instead, they were designed for personal vehicles (cars!). This is reflected in North American cities - including London - where multi-lane roads, large parking lots, road widening projects, and urban sprawl is the norm. Locally, there has been a lot of advocacy work being done at the grassroots, non-profit, and municipal levels to make London a bicycle-friendly city. We’re not there yet, but progress is being made. In recent news, City Council approved a report to fast-track construction on cycling infrastructure, including 39km of bike lanes, 8km of sidewalks and 4km of park pathways! And more good news - you can be part of this movement! Before we get to that, let’s recap the impact that personal vehicles have on our environment.
What is the IMPACT of Personal Vehicles?
Did you know that personal vehicles are the leading contributor to London’s greenhouse gas emissions? In 2018, personal vehicles contributed to 960,000 tonnes of London’s CO2 emissions. If people drove less, our local emissions would drastically decrease. Cars also have a big impact on our economy and overall transportation efficiencies in London: more cars on the road leads to more money spent on road widening projects and more time spent in traffic.
Simply put, we need to get on buses and bikes more (and cars less), and we need to tell our City Councillors that’s a priority for us. Check out these quick tips below to start making sustainable transportation choices today!
Take Action: start making sustainable transportation choices today
- Start small - pick one trip a week to become your “regular bus or bike trip”, like taking your kids to school, getting groceries, or going to work. Plan your trip with the help of the LTC’s website or London’s 2020 Bike Map. Bonus: take a selfie of you before or after your trip, share your story about your transit experience (how did it make you feel? What did you like, or not like?), and then tag your friends to keep the “sustainable transit loop” going!
- Tell your City Councillor that you support public transportation and cycling infrastructure in London’s recovery plan. Check out this open letter from London Cycle Link for inspiration and find your City Councillor through this list.
- Tell your MP to #KeepTransitMoving - help ensure that public transportation is adequately funded and part of a green economy recovery plan. Call your representative and sign the letters of support on the Keep Transit Moving website here.
- Get involved in London. Sustainable and active transportation can help us meet climate action targets! Share your feedback and ideas to London’s Climate Emergency Action Plan at: getinvolved.london.ca/climate
- Want to learn more? This resource list put together by the London Public Library is a great way to educate yourself about transportation and climate action.
- Click the image below to watch the full event recording where we learn from TTCriders, the City of London, and Laura Wall on how you can make sustainable transportation choices in the city: