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Promoting sustainable transport

One cannot overemphasize the importance of transportation in our lives. It affects almost every aspect of it—from our access to food and basic necessities, school, work, health care, and other services, to our favorite stores being able to provide us with what we need and want. It’s essentially why roads and bridges are important—to make transportation easier, so that more people have better access to their needs and more opportunities are laid out for the population, such as farmers and entrepreneurs gaining better access to a wider market. 

But transportation is also a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the main culprit for the changing climate that has been melting the glaciers, causing ocean acidification, and rising sea levels, among many other impacts.


The 1st World Sustainable Transport Day 

According to the United Nations Interagency report for second Global Sustainable Transport Conference published in 2021, transport is responsible for about a quarter of direct carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion.

In line with this, on May 16, 2023, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to observe World Sustainable Transport Day every Nov. 26, starting this year. It aims to tackle pressing challenges and identify opportunities for sustainable mobility that align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

World Sustainable Transport Day advocates for safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems. It will be a catalyst for enhancing intermodal transport connectivity, promoting environment-friendly transportation, and developing socially-inclusive transport infrastructure. It also hopes to encourage individuals to look at how they can contribute to reducing their carbon footprint by supporting sustainable modes of transportation. 

Based on UN statistics, the average annual carbon footprint per individual is 5.9 tons. Living car-free can reduce this annual carbon footprint by up to 3.6 tons; while switching from a regular vehicle to an electric vehicle (EV) can reduce this carbon footprint by an average of two tons per year.

It will also be healthy for both individuals and our environment if we can choose walking or riding a bicycle as often as we can.


Bike-friendly communities

Here in the Philippines, there have been efforts to make our roads and communities bike-friendly.

The 6.94-kilometer Laguna Lake Expressway that was launched in 2018 under the Build Build Build program, features a three-meter-wide protected bicycle lane. 

Moreover, the Cagayan de Oro (CDO) Coastal Road, Davao City Coastal Road, Leyte Tide Embankment Project, Pasig River Flood Control Project, Tagaytay Bypass Road, Bacolod Economic Highway, Antique Esplanade, Sorsogon Coastal Highway and Boracay Circumferential Road, have been built with bicycle lanes.

Promoting, supporting, and advocating for walking, cycling, and other sustainable mobility options might be a simple act, but it can actually have a lasting impact in our communities, in the world, and of course, in our own lives as these modes of transportation are always the healthier options. But aside from the support, what each of us must do is to actually walk the talk. 

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