Transportation: The Road Ahead
EM—A look at road-based transportation, exploring three distinct intersections between mobile sources and the environment: compliance, balancing energy drivers, and estimating impacts.
by Teresa Raine and Brian Noel
Movement is essential to everything we do and how we assess the environmental world. How air moves, how waste is transported, emissions being emitted and dispersing, energy transmissions, and so forth; movement is key to all environmental discussions, but none likely more so than in how it relates to transportation.
A holistic discussion of the environmental impacts of transportation is needed because the transportation sector dominates usage of energy globally, yet impacts individuals daily. Historically the largest consumer of petroleum, environmental regulations for all modes of transportation have varied as widely as automotive styles in the last century, focusing on operational standards and idling, engine emissions, alternative fuels, alternative transport modes, and/or some combination of each. Regulations are promulgated by local and federal governments alike, and standards have focused on minimizing localize carbon monoxide impacts, reducing regional smog issues, or countering the impacts of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The focus of this issue is road-based transportation, as opposed to sea and air mobile sources, which each face their own unique challenges, regulations, and emission profiles. This issue looks at three distinct intersections between mobile sources and the environment: compliance, balancing energy drivers, and estimating impacts.