Greenways Can Take Us Where We Want to Go
Improvements in bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure, such as greenways, could have a major impact in lowering emissions, achieving at least half of President Obama’s 2020 goal and saving money too, according to an article on Sustainable Energy Transition.
Transportation accounts for about 28% of US greenhouse gas emissions. A recent study showed that only about 12% of Americans use active transportation regularly (9% walk, 1% bike and 2% take the bus or train). By increasing the bicycling and walking numbers by just 12.5% annually over the next decade, we would reach an active transportation share of more than 36% in 2020. That would mean a greater than 5% drop in total US emissions – equal to at least half of the 10% reduction below current levels that has been proposed as a target (and 17% below 2005 levels).
The article points to the East Coast Greenway, a developing trail system 3,000 miles long, as an example of the type of infrastructure needed to make that goal possible and reminds readers that countries such as The Netherlands and Sweden already have 50-65% active transportation shares – 36% here should certainly be possible.
– Suzanne Bopp