Environmental Benefits of Active Transportation
This chapter begins with the discussion of climate change, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the contribution of the transportation sector to GHG emissions. The chapter then introduces three key mechanisms through which active transportation can be beneficial to the environment: (1) it requires less space; (2) it produces fewer emissions per passenger kilometre; and (3) it creates fewer wastes and has lower life cycle costs. Next, we extend the discussion to a broader environmental impact by exploring various environmental dimensions related to active transportation, including land consumption, GHG emissions, air pollution, life cycle and ecological impacts, and urban run-off and soil contamination. The chapter is followed by a brief discussion about the risk trade-off between physical activity and air pollution exposure for pedestrians and cyclists. By summarizing the most recent literature, we provide a current consensus that active transportation far outweighs the risks associated with air pollution exposure. The chapter concludes with recommendations for maximizing the environmental benefits of active transportation, which can foster environmental stewardship in schools and at home.