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Module 1: Safe and Sustainable Transportation Systems

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Sustainable strategies for Urban Transportation

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We have reached the last lecture in this course, uh, where we are now going to tell you some. Uh, sustainable, uh, strategies that can be implemented in the transportation sector in order to make it, uh, environmentally viable, environmentally friendly, uh, and, uh, protect you from, uh, degenerating, uh, your health. Uh, so, uh, what we are going to talk about in this. Uh, how to conduct an environmental impact assessments for any transport related projects that is going on, uh, give you a highlights on what is the next step from environmental impact assessment, which is health impact assessment of any transport system look into, uh, one of the externalities that are not talked about much, uh, which is, uh, uh, vehicular noise and how you can, uh, mitigate those, uh, and then give you some strategies, uh, that are, uh, will help reduce. Uh, the emissions are help, uh, mitigate the environmental impacts of urban transport. Uh, so environmental impact assessment is, is, is, is, uh, uh, is a tool that is, uh, uh, required for any large project, uh, when it is implemented in India. So this may be a non transportation related project as well. Uh, but, uh, certainly, uh, any large highway projects, I need a highway, uh, widening projects. Uh, which are beyond the threshold of a certain monitoring number, uh, has to be, uh, has to follow the norms and conduct, uh, environment impact assessment. Uh, you would see however that, uh, when it really comes to, uh, urban transportation, Uh, projects, which are not, maybe are not of that large scale, uh, yeah. Usually is not mandated, so they are not conducted, however, Metro rail projects, uh, which are large enough, they have to go through, um, this EIA process. So we'll tell you what this process is, uh, and, uh, uh, make you aware that, uh, this is something that will help in, uh, uh, reducing the environmental impacts of the transportation sector. As a whole. Uh, so this is a process which is a proactive process, uh, that can be implemented in order to, uh, uh, understand what may be the negative or positive impacts, uh, on the environment as a result of an upcoming project or an existing, uh, transportation project that is, uh, in your city. So what you usually have to do first, uh, is to. Um, audio or the local bodies or the implementing bodies first have to go through a screening or a scoping stage where they would actually try to see if an EIA is needed. Uh, like I said, uh, if the project is not, uh, of a magnitude that is going to impact a lot of people or is going to have a, uh, uh, impact on a poor impact on. Uh, the environment then usually, uh, ye is not conducted an only or environmental statement is, uh, environmental statement is given and the project is allowed to be constructed. However, if it is a large project, Uh, and sometimes it is associated with funding as well. Uh, for example, if it's, if the funding agency mandates that, uh, uh, any project to which, for example, world bank provides any money, uh, EIA is necessarily, uh, is necessarily for, uh, the implementing agency to perform. So, uh, in screening and scoping, uh, what they would see is, uh, decide whether the project, uh, has to go through an EIA or not. There are different criteria. Which they have to check and make sure that, uh, the project either falls or meets or does not meet those criteria, uh, once, uh, if it goes ahead and says that, uh, yes. Yeah, it has to be conducted. Then there has to be a baseline assessment. So first, uh, what are the existing conditions have to be assessed, uh, then significant after you S establish the existing conditions, the baseline conditions you have to assess the impact of not only the alternative. That, uh, E is preferred for construction, but also at least one or two other alternatives. Right. So it is very important that when a project is being built, Uh, maybe the final alignment of a road or the alignment of a Metro route, uh, is, uh, is decided upon, however, when you are doing an environmental impact assessment, you have to also look at the, uh, impact that alternative designs might have. So, uh, in other words, uh, maybe the alternate design is, uh, expensive, uh, but that should not be a reason. Uh, for it, uh, to be considered or disregarded because maybe, uh, it, uh, maybe the expense is large, but maybe it is not impacting the environment in a poor form. So how can we then balance these two, uh, alternative. So it is always important to assess the impact of not only the preferred alternative, but also one or two other alternatives. Once you have, uh, once you've identified the impact, then you have to suggest mitigative. Well, or mitigative steps, right? Uh, it is, uh, not only good to just understand what the impacts are negative or positive impacts are. Uh, you have to also, uh, uh, uh, propose and those proposed measures have to be implement. Okay. In order to mitigate the impacts, uh, of your, uh, transportation project. And once you have, once those are, uh, implemented. Then you have to continuously monitor it, evaluate it throughout the next couple of years, or at least throughout the operational period of that facility. So these are the, uh, broadly, uh, the five steps that have to be followed in an environmental impact. Uh, the same thing is shown in a, in the form of a flow chart here. Uh, you see in the, in the, in the screening stage, if a, if no EIA is required, then you can go ahead and proceed. Uh, to develop the project, whereas an EIA is required, then you'll do your impact assessment. We'll give you a mitigation steps. One of the interesting or the important things, uh, in this, uh, environmental impact assessment process is public involvement at multiple stages. So you would see, uh, that public are often, uh, informed about the project at a very later stage where everything is ready and, uh, uh, uh, the project is about to begin, uh, and the, uh, effected people are only informed at the very last minute, which then causes a lot of litigations in the project delay in the project and cost escalation as a result of that. So you have to have to always take into consideration. The public involved them, uh, in the project from a very early stage and also involve them in later stages of the project so that there is no delay in executing it and they are already taken their confidence. They're already taken into, uh, now EIA can be conducted at, uh, any of these stages, pre-construction construction, operation stages. So, uh, for example, a road maybe, uh, has been there for the last 10 or 20 years. But you are seeing that there is growing, uh, pollution or growing environmental, uh, poor environmental quality along that existing corridor. So you may, uh, you may, uh, um, uh, order, uh, one of the agencies to conduct an independent EIA to understand, uh, what the impact, uh, what the current impact, uh, of that road is. And, uh, can they suggest any mitigation measures? Which may reduce the, uh, environmental impact, so it can be conducted at operational state. But, uh, as you may, uh, understand at an operation stage, any mitigation measures have to, uh, have to be, uh, have to take into considerations the restrictions of the landlock nature of the project, for example, and maybe, uh, large scale mitigation measures may not be possible. So it is always. I recommended that EIA be confer EIB conducted, uh, at a, at a pre-construction stage and then subsequently at other steps, other at other stages also, uh, what are, what are assessed during, uh, EIA? Uh, the impact on hydrology and drainage is assessed right during the construction and also after construction. Uh, your project may have a lot of, uh, um, impact on the. Uh, and joining water bodies. So that has to be, uh, mitigated, uh, obviously the impact on land, uh, what is happening to people residing alongside, uh, these projects, uh, how the land, maybe it is now changing from, uh, the land use is changing from, uh, say an agricultural land to now becoming semi residential or semi, uh, industrial. So how, what impact does that bring about the environment? Nice is one of the impacts that we're going to look at flora and fauna, uh, how the vegetation there and also the animals living around the project are going to be affected birds, et cetera, are going to be affected from the pro by the project. Uh, what is going to happen to induce development and the existing human, a human being or human life in that area are their quality of life is going to improve. Deteriorate what is going to happen? Do they need to be resettled? Uh, if so, where and how do you do that? Uh, if there are any, uh, cultural properties, historic heritage properties along the way of your project or your project site, uh, then how do you, uh, take care of that? Do you change the alignment of your project? Do you, uh, uh, a wide such cultural sites, how do you do all that? What is the impact? On such facilities as well. So you see when you are conducting an EIA, it has to be a very detailed report. Uh, an impact on various, uh, entities have to be, uh, taken into consideration and mitigation steps for each one of these has to be, uh, identified and implemented in order to, uh, reduce the impact of a transportation project on the environment. Now, uh, uh, while EIA has been, uh, in place for a long time. Uh, but the next, uh, step, uh, in, uh, know, assessing the impact of transportation projects is to look at how it impacts health, right? So similar, similar to an EIA process, the steps, the steps may be similar, but now, like we had mentioned in the earlier lecture, Uh, any transportation project, uh, will determine whether, uh, it is resulting in a decrease or an increase in, uh, pollutants in that area. So based on that, uh, impact assessments are being, uh, sought or at least they are in a very, uh, early stage of, uh, understanding what, uh, the impact of, uh, Uh, for example, a large model that is coming out, uh, in your suburban area. And, uh, there are re uh, roads leading up to your, uh, up to the mall. So what is that work to do the, uh, due to the air quality in otherwise, uh, you will be, uh, residential, suburban area. So that is the kind of a health impact assessments that is happening. Uh, this has to be a very multidisciplinary approach. Uh, only transportation engineers are trafficking. Uh, traffic engineers cannot, uh, conduct this. Uh, you need a health experts. Uh, you need, uh, uh, you need experts from, uh, even, uh, regular technology, uh, to understand all the impacts of, uh, uh, uh, all the impacts on health due to transportation. Uh, this is, uh, kind of a flow flowchart that allows you to, uh, understand the big picture of how health impact assessment is done. Uh, so if you, uh, if you know the current exposure, uh, like we have told you in the earlier ones, if you know, the current traffic engineers in fatalities and also the current level of physical activity in people, right? Uh, the, uh, if the, if the transportation facility that is coming out there, Uh, is going to help change their physical activity or they're going to make it more active. Is it going to make them less active? So what impact will that going to have? Right. So all of this can be the input. Uh, to your, uh, uh, transportation improvements scenario as a result of the project that you're, uh, that you are, uh, going to construct, uh, you also know, uh, your vehicle kilometers of travel existing with two kilometers of travel. And as a result of this improvement scenario, is it changing, uh, any fatalities, uh, per we, Katie? Uh, is it reducing the actual number of BKT actual amount of VKT as a result, what is happening to your. Um, pollutants that are being emitted, uh, is the risk, uh, is the mortality risk, uh, based on exposure to certain kinds, reducing, and also does it, uh, impact the physical activity of the people, for example? Well, uh, if you are putting in, uh, uh, Metro project, uh, maybe a person who was now, uh, using their two Wheeler to go to work, uh, maybe now walk to the Metro station and take Metro to work. Right now by, uh, by walking, he, or she's improving his or her physical activity or they're becoming more active. So by becoming more active, your health is improving. So that is the kind of impact assessment that, uh, SA, uh, that is being now, uh, sought for many of the transportation improvement projects. Uh, this has not taken off in very many countries yet, but, uh, it is at a thesis phase, but this is something that is very, very interesting and challenging. Uh, this is something that I've already talked about. Uh, uh, there's a need for intersectoral cooperation. You have to be, uh, working with, uh, actual, uh, uh, doctors, uh, and transportation engineers have to be working together in order to assess the impact, uh, health impact, uh, of transportation improvement projects. Uh, let us look at now, uh, one externality that usually we don't look at a whole lot, but, uh, in our Indian context, it is definitely something that we are always, uh, exposed to, which is a vehicular knives. Right. So if you start looking at the scale of impact of the, of the nice level, you would see that, uh, we are constantly listening to this, right. Uh, Carhartt, which has almost at a extremely loud level of 110 decibels or more, uh, which is almost similar to an aircraft taking off. So imagine how much of a vehicular noise are we exposed to every day? So what, uh, what is that going to do? It may con contribute to, uh, uh, stress levels. Maybe it will lead to subsequent effects of cardiovascular and immune system are definitely the cause. Uh, of hearing loss. So you would see that people who operate heavy machinery all the time, the year they use ear plugs, uh, otherwise, uh, uh, they may be, uh, prone to, uh, hearing losses. So, uh, the next time we are, uh, uh, in a taxi or in our car, Uh, we should always make sure that we are not unnecessarily honking our horn. So this is, uh, uh, there is some avascular noise that comes out because of, uh, uh, the introduction of the tires and the road. Uh, but apart from, um, that the, uh, the artificial nice that we bring about as a result of honking horns, uh, uh, for no real reason, uh, has to be really taken into account and. Uh, really minimized. Uh, so, uh, this chart gives you, uh, uh, the noise limits, uh, which are, are not taking into consideration. Uh, the, uh, honking of your heart. This is just, uh, based on, uh, the noise that is generated between the tires and the surface of the road. Uh, so, uh, again, if you go, uh, it has a relationship with the speed limit. So if your speed, if you start going faster and faster, the noise levels keep on increasing, uh, in case of motorcycles, passenger cars. Uh, buses, uh, and, uh, any kind of heavy vehicles as well. So, uh, that is the other, uh, also benefit of driving, uh, care, uh, driving at, uh, at, or below the speed limit so that, uh, not only emit less, but you also, uh, create less noise, right? So you would, uh, uh, if you get into, uh, noise and transportation, you will see there is some research that is going on, uh, on what is called as quite pavements, right? Uh, pavements that make less noise. When in coming in contact with, uh, um, uh, your tires. So, uh, how do you reduce these knives are you would look at, uh, uh, newer highway projects that are going, uh, through a very congested neighborhood.They would build what is called sound walls on both sides of the highway, or even Metro projects in some cases, Right because these are the sound walls are then going to shield the houses that are very close to the, uh, transportation project so that the noise does not go into the houses, uh, beyond the stipulated limit. So these are the ambient noise standards, uh, during daytime and nighttime, which should be followed, uh, especially when, uh, especially when, uh, a project or Metro rail or Metro rail or highway project is very. Uh, next to your house, uh, because all these noise measurements are usually done, uh, 50 meter away from the center line of the transportation project. Uh, so, uh, so as to assess its impact, not at the, uh, at exactly where it is generated, where the noise is generated, but how it dissipates at least 50 meters away, uh, from, uh, where it is generated. So all these are these admin quality I'm in my standards have to be taken into account. Uh, when you were talking about, uh, uh, noise and transportation, uh, again, nice pollution. Uh, as we have already talked about, uh, if it is anywhere up to 30 decibels, uh, that does not create any disturbance, however, as you see. It goes, uh, as it starts, uh, increasing, uh, it may have, uh, even longterm impacts as well, uh, beyond, uh, beyond just, uh, fatigue. It may lead to a deafness and definitely these are non auditory effects, which. Um, which have to be taken into consideration. So, uh, uh, the next time you are impacting, uh, or you're conducting impact assessment of any transportation projects, uh, along with conducting environmental and environmental impact assessment, you have to make sure that, uh, that is some noise impact assessment that is also taken into consideration and some mitigation measures are taken. Uh, usually you would find, uh, such a sound level meters. Uh, which will give you an idea of what is the, uh, road noise that is coming out, uh, of a, of a project, uh, that is, uh, uh, handle device, uh, gives you a gross level, uh, gross a decibel level at the road. But of course, if you have to know what each vehicle is emitting, then you have to use multiple, uh, equipment, uh, and understand the impact of different vehicles on the noise levels that are coming out. Uh, what are some of the, uh, Bettman measures, uh, raising, uh, of course noise, uh, awareness is something that we have to make people, uh, aware or have to be aware of. Uh, that noise might create a problem, uh, and not just neglected, uh, uh, reception standards has to be a, uh, especially when, uh, the project is very close to you. Uh, nighttime speed limits have to be really enforced because, uh, if the, if the noise, uh, yeah, I mean, my levels are increased or are heightened during the nighttime that causes, uh, greater, uh, uh, health impacts to us. Uh, like I was saying, there's some sort of surface design and maintenance issues. Uh, traffic management has to be, uh, such that, uh, Not, there's not a lot of people using their hands all the time. So there are different, uh, soft initiatives that can be done different, uh, hard initiatives that can be implemented. But, uh, one thing, uh, that has to be done is to, uh, raise awareness about this. Especially if you have, uh, vulnerable users, such as children and elderly people living, uh, close to such. Noisy places. You have to be very careful about the exposure, about their exposure to, uh, high decibel, uh, high decibel levels. Uh, as we, uh, as we come to a close of this, uh, of this course, uh, what I'd like to, uh, make you aware of, uh, is this, uh, is the approach that is known as a wide shift improve, right? This is an approach, a broad level approach that is being. Yeah used, uh, by, uh, various urban local bodies or by various, uh, governments across, uh, across the world in order to reduce the impact of transportation on not only environment and finally on, uh, its impact on, uh, climate or its impact on climate change as well. So what it usually says is, uh, we have to avoid or reduce the use of. Uh, personalized travel vehicles, right? Uh, let us not unknown. Uh, let us, uh, not unnecessarily, uh, travel on the roads. Uh, let us not always use our personal vehicles for every the purpose. Let us shift or let us create a scenario where we shift to alternate modes of transport. We use public transport a lot. We should use a non-motorized modes of transport that will help, uh, mitigate the impacts. Uh, transport impacts our environment and we have to improve at the same time. We are to improve the, uh, vehicle technology, the field technology that is available, uh, maybe move, uh, uh, towards renewable energy sources. So all the, all the three things have to happen, patently right. Avoid shift. And. Improve, uh, unless you do each of these things, uh, at the same time, apparently, uh, you may not see the complete benefits of, uh, uh, mitigating the impacts of, uh, transportation on the environment. Uh, so, uh, one classic, uh, one example of this is to, uh, make a city compact, right? So when people are now, um, as a part of smart cities, you will see that. A lot of people are trying to make cities compact are developed zones, such as transit-oriented development, DOD zones, uh, around Metro stations and so on and so forth. What they're trying to essentially do is to reduce the impact of, or one of the things that they're trying to do is to reduce the, uh, negative externality of transportation on the environment. So if you, if you, if you want to, for example, if your house and your shopping places are close to each other, so when you want, when you want to go from your home to your, uh, to your shopping complex, Uh, you would now only have to travel, uh, two kilometers versus, uh, that, uh, if your shopping complex was too far and 10 kilometers away, then you had to choose a different kind of a mode, then you decide that. Okay. Well, it is so close that I don't need to, uh, take, uh, take, uh, take out my car. Maybe I can just use mine. Uh, a bicycle to go there. So even if you decide to take a car, maybe you then have an improved car, right? So this is the improved part of it. So maybe you have bought an electric vehicle or a hybrid vehicle or a vehicle with, uh, meets a bottle stage six. Uh, not so, uh, you have, you have not only, uh, you have not only avoided going farther distance, uh, you have now tried to shift to cleaner vehicles. Um, and, uh, you're now trying to shift to organic modes of transport and also you have tried to improve yeah. Or, uh, improve your existing, uh, vehicle that you have. You're try to have better vehicles that you own. So that is, uh, in a nutshell, uh, what this, uh, ASI, uh, strategy allows, uh, at a larger city level. If you want to see a land use planning obviously plays a very important role, uh, make land users close to each other, which will allow you to have a compact city. And as we said in the first, uh, in the, a part of the approach, you are going to then avoid. Traveling for longer distances, uh, finally shift, uh, there are lots and lots of strategies that are being now implemented, uh, in urban areas in order for, in order to attract you to a public transportation mode or a non-motorized travel mode. Right. Uh, you'll see a Metro rail, you will see, uh, BRTs you would see bicycle lanes that are coming out. You're seeing a lot of pedestrian improvements, uh, sidewalks being laid out on all your seats. All of this is to encourage you to shift to different, uh, alternate transportation modes as compared to just using your private. Uh, uh, traffic, transportation mode, and finally, uh, to improve two different types of, uh, regular mode, uh, fuel technology and so on and so forth. You are looking to, uh, uh, reduce consumption, uh, have technological innovations right now. You can even work from home. Uh, so teleworking is something that will reduce. Uh, the impact of transportation on the environment, uh, you can use a, uh, an electric, two Wheeler currently, or a four Wheeler, uh, in order to, uh, reduce the impact. However, uh, yes, we have to also at the same time, move towards a renewable energy sources in order to see the real benefits. So that is to have improve. Or that is what we mean when we say to improve the scenario. Uh, so avoid shift improve is something we are always focusing on. Uh, this is something which I've already told you. What are some of the solutions, uh, have maybe pedestrian, uh, how do you improve pedestrian, uh, facilities? Uh, we have, uh, talk, uh, in detail about this in our NMT section as well. Have proper zebra crossings, pedestrian, uh, signals may be, uh, improve the sidewalks, uh, that are there in your area. Uh, provide specialized facilities for non-motorized modes. Uh, do not, uh, improve the, uh, yeah. Infrastructure non-motorized infrastructure provide a better maintenance of, uh, non-motorized modes, uh, make, uh, uh, rapid transit, uh, attractive to people. Uh, let them, uh, uh, see the real benefits of, uh, using public transportation, provide integrated ticketing so that they will allow, uh, they will be you or they can use a simple, smart card. Uh, to buy fairs on different types of, uh, public transportation that are available in the city. All of these strategies put together would help in attracting people to, uh, other modes of transport and help. The emission reduction are helping reducing emissions of urban transport. Right. Uh, you will have already seen, uh, once that step that has been taken in new Delhi, where, uh, you say, uh, the government, the Delhi government has. Uh, usually applies this, uh, during the winter season when it says that, uh, on a particular day only odd numbered, uh, registration plates, uh, vehicles with odd number registration plates are allowed to apply on the daily roads and the other day, uh, and the next day there'll be even numbered, uh, vehicle, uh, even even numbered, uh, vehicles. Uh, similarly, uh, you would see a lot of carpooling that is happening even, uh, the later the latest online Uber. Uh, transportation network companies, uh, and get you to carpool, uh, so that the, your cost of traveling also goes down. But at the same time, now there are four people in a vehicle versus a four people in four different vehicles that are emitting a much larger amount of, uh, uh, emissions. Uh, so that carpooling also helps him. Reducing pollutants.