Sustainable transport refers to the broad subject of transport that is sustainable in the senses of social, environmental and climate impacts. Components for evaluating sustainability include the particular vehicles used for road, water or air transport; the source of energy; and the infrastructure used to accommodate the transport (roads, railways, airways, waterways, canals and terminals). Transport operations and logistics as well as transit-oriented development are also involved in evaluation. Transportation sustainability is largely being measured by transportation system effectiveness and efficiency as well as the environmental and climate impacts of the system.
Short-term activity often promotes incremental improvement in fuel efficiency and vehicle emissions controls while long-term goals include migrating transportation from fossil-based energy to other alternatives such as renewable energy and use of other renewable resources. The entire life cycle of transport systems is subject to sustainability measurement and optimization.
Sustainable transport systems make a positive contribution to the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the communities they serve. Transport systems exist to provide social and economic connections, and people quickly take up the opportunities offered by increased mobility, with poor households benefiting greatly from low carbon transport options. The advantages of increased mobility need to be weighed against the environmental, social and economic costs that transport systems pose.
Transport systems have significant impacts on the environment, accounting for between 20% and 25% of world energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The majority of the emissions, almost 97%, came from direct burning of fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas emissions from transport are increasing at a faster rate than any other energy using sector. Road transport is also a major contributor to local air pollution and smog.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that each year 2.4 million premature deaths from outdoor air pollution could be avoided. Particularly hazardous for health are emissions of black carbon, a component of particulate matter, which is a known cause of respiratory and carcinogenic diseases and a significant contributor to global climate change. The links between greenhouse gas emissions and particulate matter make low carbon transport an increasingly sustainable investment at local level—both by reducing emission levels and thus mitigating climate change; and by improving public health through better air quality.
The social costs of transport include road crashes, air pollution, physical inactivity, time taken away from the family while commuting and vulnerability to fuel price increases. Many of these negative impacts fall disproportionately on those social groups who are also least likely to own and drive cars. Traffic congestion imposes economic costs by wasting people's time and by slowing the delivery of goods and services.
Traditional transport planning aims to improve mobility, especially for vehicles, and may fail to adequately consider wider impacts. But the real purpose of transport is access – to work, education, goods and services, friends and family – and there are proven techniques to improve access while simultaneously reducing environmental and social impacts, and managing traffic congestion. Communities which are successfully improving the sustainability of their transport networks are doing so as part of a wider programme of creating more vibrant, livable, sustainable cities.
The term sustainable transport came into use as a logical follow-on from sustainable development, and is used to describe modes of transport, and systems of transport planning, which are consistent with wider concerns of sustainability. There are many definitions of the sustainable transport, and of the related terms sustainable transportation and sustainable mobility. One such definition, from the European Union Council of Ministers of Transport, defines a sustainable transportation system as one that:
Sustainability extends beyond just the operating efficiency and emissions. A life-cycle assessment involves production, use and post-use considerations. A cradle-to-cradle design is more important than a focus on a single factor such as energy efficiency.
Most of the tools and concepts of sustainable transport were developed before the phrase was coined. Walking, the first mode of transport, is also the most sustainable. Public transport dates back at least as far as the invention of the public bus by Blaise Pascal in 1662. The first passenger tram began operation in 1807 and the first passenger rail service in 1825. Pedal bicycles date from the 1860s. These were the only personal transport choices available to most people in Western countries prior to World War II, and remain the only options for most people in the developing world. Freight was moved by human power, animal power or rail.
The post-war years brought increased wealth and a demand for much greater mobility for people and goods. The number of road vehicles in Britain increased fivefold between 1950 and 1979, with similar trends in other Western nations. Most affluent countries and cities invested heavily in bigger and better-designed roads and motorways, which were considered essential to underpin growth and prosperity. Transport planning became a branch of Urban Planning and identified induced demand as a pivotal change from "predict and provide" toward a sustainable approach incorporating land use planning and public transit. Public investment in transit, walking and cycling declined dramatically in the United States, Great Britain and Australia, although this did not occur to the same extent in Canada or mainland Europe.
Concerns about the sustainability of this approach became widespread during the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 energy crisis. The high cost and limited availability of fuel led to a resurgence of interest in alternatives to single occupancy vehicle travel.
Transport innovations dating from this period include high-occupancy vehicle lanes, citywide carpool systems and transportation demand management. Singapore implemented congestion pricing in the late 1970s, and Curitiba began implementing its Bus Rapid Transit system in the early 1980s.
Relatively low and stable oil prices during the 1980s and 1990s led to significant increases in vehicle travel from 1980–2000, both directly because people chose to travel by car more often and for greater distances, and indirectly because cities developed tracts of suburban housing, distant from shops and from workplaces, now referred to as urban sprawl. Trends in freight logistics, including a movement from rail and coastal shipping to road freight and a requirement for just in time deliveries, meant that freight traffic grew faster than general vehicle traffic.
At the same time, the academic foundations of the "predict and provide" approach to transport were being questioned, notably by Peter Newman in a set of comparative studies of cities and their transport systems dating from the mid-1980s.
We recognise that we cannot simply build our way out of the problems we face. It would be environmentally irresponsible – and would not work.
A companion document to the White Paper called "Smarter Choices" researched the potential to scale up the small and scattered sustainable transport initiatives then occurring across Britain, and concluded that the comprehensive application of these techniques could reduce peak period car travel in urban areas by over 20%.
A similar study by the United States Federal Highway Administration, was also released in 2004 and also concluded that a more proactive approach to transportation demand was an important component of overall national transport strategy.
Transport systems are major emitters of greenhouse gases, responsible for 23% of world energy-related GHG emissions in 2004, with about three quarters coming from road vehicles. Currently 95% of transport energy comes from petroleum. Energy is consumed in the manufacture as well as the use of vehicles, and is embodied in transport infrastructure including roads, bridges and railways.
The first historical attempts of evaluating the Life Cycle environmental impact of vehicle is due to Theodore Von Karman. After decades in which all the analysis has been focused on emending the Von Karman model, Dewulf and Van Langenhove have introduced an model based on the second law of thermodynamics and exergy analysis. Chester and Orwath, have developed a similar model based on the first law that accounts the necessary costs for the infrastructure.
The environmental impacts of transport can be reduced by reducing the weight of vehicles, sustainable styles of driving, reducing the friction of tires, encouraging electric and hybrid vehicles, improving the walking and cycling environment in cities, and by enhancing the role of public transport, especially electric rail.
Green vehicles are intended to have less environmental impact than equivalent standard vehicles, although when the environmental impact of a vehicle is assessed over the whole of its life cycle this may not be the case. Electric vehicle technology has the potential to reduce transport CO2 emissions, depending on the embodied energy of the vehicle and the source of the electricity. The primary sources of electricity currently used in most countries (coal, gas, oil) mean that until world electricity production changes substantially, private electric cars will result in the same or higher production of CO2 than petrol equivalent vehicles. The Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV), developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), is an electric vehicle that can be charged while stationary or driving, thus removing the need to stop at a charging station. The City of Gumi in South Korea runs a 24 km roundtrip along which the bus will receive 100 kW (136 horsepower) electricity at an 85% maximum power transmission efficiency rate while maintaining a 17 cm air gap between the underbody of the vehicle and the road surface. At that power, only a few sections of the road need embedded cables. Hybrid vehicles, which use an internal combustion engine combined with an electric engine to achieve better fuel efficiency than a regular combustion engine, are already common. Natural gas is also used as a transport fuel. Biofuels are a less common, and less promising, technology; Brazil met 17% of its transport fuel needs from bioethanol in 2007, but the OECD has warned that the success of biofuels in Brazil is due to specific local circumstances; internationally, biofuels are forecast to have little or no impact on greenhouse emissions, at significantly higher cost than energy efficiency measures.
In practice there is a sliding scale of green transport depending on the sustainability of the option. Green vehicles are more fuel-efficient, but only in comparison with standard vehicles, and they still contribute to traffic congestion and road crashes. Well-patronised public transport networks based on traditional diesel buses use less fuel per passenger than private vehicles, and are generally safer and use less road space than private vehicles. Green public transport vehicles including electric trains, trams and electric buses combine the advantages of green vehicles with those of sustainable transport choices. Other transport choices with very low environmental impact are cycling and other human-powered vehicles, and animal powered transport. The most common green transport choice, with the least environmental impact is walking.
Transport on rails boasts an excellent efficiency (see fuel efficiency in transportation).
Cities with overbuilt roadways have experienced unintended consequences, linked to radical drops in public transport, walking, and cycling. In many cases, streets became void of “life.” Stores, schools, government centers and libraries moved away from central cities, and residents who did not flee to the suburbs experienced a much reduced quality of public space and of public services. As schools were closed their mega-school replacements in outlying areas generated additional traffic; the number of cars on US roads between 7:15 and 8:15 a.m. increases 30% during the school year.
Cities are shaped by their transport systems. In The City in History, Lewis Mumford documented how the location and layout of cities was shaped around a walkable center, often located near a port or waterway, and with suburbs accessible by animal transport or, later, by rail or tram lines.
In 1939, the New York World's Fair included a model of an imagined city, built around a car-based transport system. In this "greater and better world of tomorrow", residential, commercial and industrial areas were separated, and skyscrapers loomed over a network of urban motorways. These ideas captured the popular imagination, and are credited with influencing city planning from the 1940s to the 1970s.
The popularity of the car in the post-war era led to major changes in the structure and function of cities. There was some opposition to these changes at the time. The writings of Jane Jacobs, in particular The Death and Life of Great American Cities provide a poignant reminder of what was lost in this transformation, and a record of community efforts to resist these changes. Lewis Mumford asked "is the city for cars or for people?" Donald Appleyard documented the consequences for communities of increasing car traffic in "The View from the Road" (1964) and in the UK, Mayer Hillman first published research into the impacts of traffic on child independent mobility in 1971. Despite these notes of caution, trends in car ownership, car use and fuel consumption continued steeply upward throughout the post-war period.
Mainstream transport planning in Europe has, by contrast, never been based on assumptions that the private car was the best or only solution for urban mobility. For example, the Dutch Transport Structure Scheme has since the 1970s required that demand for additional vehicle capacity only be met "if the contribution to societal welfare is positive", and since 1990 has included an explicit target to halve the rate of growth in vehicle traffic. Some cities outside Europe have also consistently linked transport to sustainability and to land-use planning, notably Curitiba, Brazil, Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Canada.
There are major differences in transport energy consumption between cities; an average U.S. urban dweller uses 24 times more energy annually for private transport than a Chinese urban resident, and almost four times as much as a European urban dweller. These differences cannot be explained by wealth alone but are closely linked to the rates of walking, cycling, and public transport use and to enduring features of the city including urban density and urban design.
The cities and nations that have invested most heavily in car-based transport systems are now the least environmentally sustainable, as measured by per capita fossil fuel use. The social and economic sustainability of car-based transportation engineering has also been questioned. Within the United States, residents of sprawling cities make more frequent and longer car trips, while residents of traditional urban neighbourhoods make a similar number of trips, but travel shorter distances and walk, cycle and use transit more often. It has been calculated that New York residents save $19 billion each year simply by owning fewer cars and driving less than the average American. A less car intensive means of urban transport is carsharing, which is becoming popular in North America and Europe, and according to The Economist, carsharing can reduce car ownership at an estimated rate of one rental car replacing 15 owned vehicles. Car sharing has also begun in the developing world, where traffic and urban density is often worse than in developed countries. Companies like Zoom in India, eHi in China, and Carrot in Mexico, are bringing car-sharing to developing countries in an effort to reduce car-related pollution, ameliorate traffic, and expand the number of people who have access to cars.
The European Commission adopted the Action Plan on urban mobility on 2009-09-30 for sustainable urban mobility. The European Commission will conduct a review of the implementation of the Action Plan in the year 2012, and will assess the need for further action. In 2007, 72% of the European population lived in urban areas, which are key to growth and employment. Cities need efficient transport systems to support their economy and the welfare of their inhabitants. Around 85% of the EU's GDP is generated in cities. Urban areas face today the challenge of making transport sustainable in environmental (CO2, air pollution, noise) and competitiveness (congestion) terms while at the same time addressing social concerns. These range from the need to respond to health problems and demographic trends, fostering economic and social cohesion to taking into account the needs of persons with reduced mobility, families and children.
Sustainable transport policies have their greatest impact at the city level. Outside Western Europe, cities which have consistently included sustainability as a key consideration in transport and land use planning include Curitiba, Brazil; Bogota, Colombia; Portland, Oregon; and Vancouver, Canada. The state of Victoria, Australia passed legislation in 2010 – the Transport Integration Act – to compel its transport agencies to actively consider sustainability issues including climate change impacts in transport policy, planning and operations.
Sustainable transport is fundamentally a grassroots movement, albeit one which is now recognised as of citywide, national and international significance.
Whereas it started as a movement driven by environmental concerns, over these last years there has been increased emphasis on social equity and fairness issues, and in particular the need to ensure proper access and services for lower income groups and people with mobility limitations, including the fast-growing population of older citizens. Many of the people exposed to the most vehicle noise, pollution and safety risk have been those who do not own, or cannot drive cars, and those for whom the cost of car ownership causes a severe financial burden.
An organization called Greenxc started in 2011 created a national awareness campaign in the United States encouraging people to carpool by ride-sharing cross country stopping over at various destinations along the way and documenting their travel through video footage, posts and photography. Ride-sharing reduces individual's carbon footprint by allowing several people to use one car instead of everyone using individual cars.
Car travel increased steadily throughout the twentieth century, but trends since 2000 have been more complex. Oil price rises from 2003 have been linked to a decline in per capita fuel use for private vehicle travel in the US, Britain and Australia. In 2008, global oil consumption fell by 0.8% overall, with significant declines in consumption in North America, Western Europe, and parts of Asia. Other factors affecting a decline in driving, at least in America, include the retirement of Baby Boomers who now drive less, preference for other travel modes (such as transit) by younger age cohorts, the Great Recession, and the rising use of technology (internet, mobile devices) which have made travel less necessary and possibly less attractive.
Several European countries are opening up financial incentives that support more sustainable modes of transport. The European Cyclists' Federation, which focuses on daily cycling for transport, has created a document containing a non-complete overview. In the UK, employers have for many years been providing employees with financial incentives. The employee leases or borrows a bike that the employer has purchased. You can also get other support. The scheme is beneficial for the employee who saves money and gets an incentive to get exercise integrated in the daily routine. The employer can expect a tax deduction, lower sick leave and less pressure on parking spaces for cars. Since 2010, there has been a scheme in Iceland (Samgöngugreiðslur) where those who do not drive a car to work, get paid a lump of money monthly. An employee must sign a statement not to use a car for work more often than one day a week, or 20% of the days for a period. Some employers pay fixed amounts based on trust. Other employers reimburse the expenses for repairs on bicycles, period-tickets for public transport and the like. Since 2013, amounts up to ISK 8000 per month have been tax-free. Most major workplaces offer this, and a significant proportion of employees use the scheme. From the year 2019 half the amount is tax-free if the employee sings a contract not to use a car to work for more than 40% of the days of the contract period.
The term green transport is often used as a greenwash marketing technique for products which are not proven to make a positive contribution to environmental sustainability. Such claims can be legally challenged. For instance Norway's consumer ombudsman has targeted automakers who claim that their cars are "green", "clean" or "environmentally friendly". Manufacturers risk fines if they fail to drop the words. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) describes green claims on products as very vague, inviting consumers to give a wide range of meanings to the claim, which risks misleading them. In 2008 the ACCC forced a car retailer to stop its green marketing of Saab cars, which was found by the Australian Federal Court as misleading.
Three referendums were held in Liechtenstein during 2002. The first two were held on 10 March on amending the constitution on sustainable transport and raising money for the "Little Big One" musical festival, both of which were rejected by voters. The third was held on 29 September on the law on land-use planning and was rejected by 74.3% of voters.Active mobility
Active mobility, active travel, active transport or active transportation, is a form of transport of people and sometimes goods, that only uses the physical activity of the human being for the locomotion. The most well-known forms of active mobility are walking and cycling, though other mobility means such as running, skateboard, kick scooter and roller skates are also forms of active mobility. In certain latitudes and elevations, practical transportation may also include cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, perhaps only in the winter season.
The academical literature evidences that public policies which promote active mobility tend to increase health indicators by increasing the levels of physical fitness and reducing the rates of obesity and diabetes, whilst also reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and consequent particulates, Nitrous Oxide and Carbon emissions.Automobile dependency
Automobile dependency is the concept that some city layouts cause automobiles to be favored over alternate forms of transportation, such as bicycles, public transit, and walking.Chariot (company)
Chariot was a commuter shuttle service owned by the Ford Motor Company. The company's mobile-phone application allowed passengers to ride a shuttle between home and work during commuting hours. Chariot operated in cities in the United States and Europe. New routes were determined based on demographic information and crowdsourced data. The company ceased shuttle operations in February 2019.Flexible carpooling
Flexible carpooling is carpooling that is not arranged ahead of time, but instead makes use of designated meeting places. It seeks to replicate the informal "slug-lines" that form in Washington DC, Houston, and San Francisco, by establishing more formal locations for travelers to form carpools without advance contact.
The essence of the systems is the use of a meeting-place to form carpools, without any advance contact between the participants. For people wishing to carpool, going to a meeting place is a very low-effort method for getting into a carpool, compared with any other system that involves contacting potential riders or drivers in advance, and arranging the trip. The key is that other people are also coming to the meeting place, and there need to be sufficient people traveling from any one meeting-place to the common destination so that the waiting time to form a carpool is acceptable.
The Transportation Research Board is carrying out research to determine the feasibility of 'flexible carpooling to transit stations'. Since fewer people are carpooling today than were thirty years ago, the federal government, as well as local governments and the Department of Defense, are trying to reverse the decline.It is estimated that San Francisco saves almost 1 million gallons of gasoline and associated emissions each year because of the operation of the informal flexible carpooling system.Flexicar (carsharing)
Flexicar is an Melbourne membership-based carsharing service owned by Hertz. The company provides automobile reservations to its members, billable by the hour or day. Flexicar was co-founded in 2004 by Monique Conheady and five other partners. In 2008, Conheady was awarded the Winston Churchill Fellowship to investigate public transport systems all over the world that use the latest technology and incorporate new forms of transport like bicycle sharing.Flexicar has been a partner of Honda in 2009 for sharing there mutual commitment to sustainability. Honda provided two Honda Civic Hybrids, a low fuel emission car, to Flexicar as an initiative for sustainable driving.In 2010, Flexicar won an award for Transportation, Warehousing and Logistics – Mindful Movement (supported by Banksia Environmental Foundation).International Association of Public Transport
The International Association of Public Transport (UITP, from the French: L’Union internationale des transports publics) is a non-profit advocacy organization for public transport authorities and operators, policy decision-makers, scientific institutes and the public transport supply and service industry. The association was founded on August 17, 1885 by King Leopold II in Brussels, Belgium to support the Belgian tram and steel industries. UITP supports a holistic approach to urban mobility and advocates for public transport development and sustainable mobility.List of carsharing organizations
This is an incomplete list of currently operating carsharing organizations. Carsharing is model of car rental where people rent cars for short periods of time, often by the hour.Mixed-use development
Mixed-use development is a term used for two related concepts:
In the sense of mixed-use zoning or mixed-use planning, it is a type of urban development, urban planning and/or a zoning type that blends residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, or entertainment uses into one space, where those functions are to some degree physically and functionally integrated, and that provides pedestrian connections. Mixed-use development may be applied in new real estate development projects in a city or suburb, or may apply to a single building, existing or new neighborhood, or in zoning policy across an entire city or other political unit. Related terms are , etc.
In the sense of a mixed-use complex, mixed-use project, etc., a mixed-use development refers to "a development" — a building, complex of buildings, or new district of a community that is developed for mixed-use by a private developer, (quasi-) governmental agency, or a combination thereof. A mixed-use development may be new construction, reuse of an existing building or brownfield site, or a combination.MylesCar
Myles is a self-drive car sharing company in India launched by Carzonrent in November 2013 in Delhi, India. And now in all metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore.Paratransit
Paratransit is the term used in North America for special transportation services for people with disabilities, often provided as a supplement to fixed-route bus and rail systems by public transit agencies. Paratransit services may vary considerably on the degree of flexibility they provide their customers. At their simplest they may consist of a taxi or small bus that will run along a more or less defined route and then stop to pick up or discharge passengers on request. At the other end of the spectrum—fully demand responsive transport—the most flexible paratransit systems offer on-demand call-up door-to-door service from any origin to any destination in a service area. In addition to public transit agencies, Paratransit services may be operated by community groups or not-for-profit organizations, and for-profit private companies or operators.
Typically, minibuses are used to provide paratransit service. Most paratransit vehicles are equipped with wheelchair lifts or ramps to facilitate access.
In the United States, private transportation companies often provide paratransit service in cities and metropolitan areas under contract to local public transportation agencies. Transdev, First Transit and MV Transportation are among the largest private contractors of paratransit services in the United States and Canada.Park and ride
Park and ride (or incentive parking) facilities are parking lots with public transport connections that allow commuters and other people heading to city centres to leave their vehicles and transfer to a bus, rail system (rapid transit, light rail, or commuter rail), or carpool for the remainder of the journey. The vehicle is left in the parking lot during the day and retrieved when the owner returns. Park and rides are generally located in the suburbs of metropolitan areas or on the outer edges of large cities. A park and ride that only offers parking for meeting a carpool and not connections to public transport may be called a park and pool.Park and ride is abbreviated as "P+R" on road signs in the UK, and is often styled as "Park & Ride" in marketing.Peer-to-peer carsharing
Peer-to-peer carsharing (also known as person-to-person carsharing and peer-to-peer car rental) is the process whereby existing car owners make their vehicles available for others to rent for short periods of time.
Peer-to-peer carsharing is a form of person-to-person lending or collaborative consumption, as part of the sharing economy. The business model is closely aligned with traditional car clubs such as Streetcar or Zipcar, but replaces a typical fleet with a ‘virtual’ fleet made up of vehicles from participating owners. With peer-to-peer carsharing, participating car owners are able to charge a fee to rent out their vehicles when they are not using them. Participating renters can access nearby and affordable vehicles and pay only for the time they need to use them.
Businesses within this sector screen participants (both owners and renters) and offer a technical platform, usually in the form of a website and mobile app, that brings these parties together, manages rental bookings and collects payment. Businesses take between 25% and 40% of the total income, which covers borrower/renter insurance, operating expenses, and roadside assistance.
As with person-to-person lending, the Internet and the adoption of location-based services have contributed to the growth of peer-to-peer carsharing.Peer-to-peer ridesharing
Peer-to-peer ridesharing can be divided along the spectrum from commercial, for-fee transportation network companies (TNC) to for-profit ridesharing services to informal nonprofit peer-to-peer carpooling arrangements. The term transportation network company comes from a 2013 California Public Utilities Commission ruling that decided to make the TNC revenue model legal. Almost all modern peer-to-peer ridesharing schemes rely on web application and mobile app technology.Sevici
Sevici is a community bicycle program in Seville inaugurated in April 2007, modeled after the Vélo'v service in Lyon and Vélib' in Paris. Its purpose is to cover the small and medium daily routes within the city in a climate friendly way, almost without pollution (specially the emission of finest particulate matter), roadway noise, traffic congestion and to reclaim the urban streets with non-polluting vehicles.SkySails
SkySails GmbH & Co. KG is a Hamburg-based company that sells kite rigs to propel cargo ships, large yachts and fishing vessels by wind energy. Ships are pulled by an automatically-controlled foil kite of some hundreds of square meters. For multiple reasons, they give many times the thrust per unit area of conventional mast-mounted sails.
The systems save fuel, and reduce carbon emissions and shipping costs, but have not been widely adopted.Valenbisi
Valenbisi is the name of a bicycle sharing system in Valencia inaugurated on June 21, 2010. It is similar to the Vélo'v service in Lyon or Vélib' in Paris, and using the same bicycles and stations as used in Dublin, Vienna, and Brussels. Its purpose is to cover the small and medium daily routes within the city in a climate-friendly way, eliminating the pollution, roadway noise, and traffic congestion that motor vehicles create.Vanpool
Vanpools are an element of the transit system that allow groups of people to share the ride similar to a carpool, but on a larger scale with concurrent savings in fuel and vehicle operating costs. Vanpools have a lower operating and capital cost than most transit vehicles in the United States, but due to their relatively low capacity, vanpools often require subsidies comparable to conventional bus service. Vehicles may be provided by individuals, individuals in cooperation with various public and private support programs, through a program operated by or on behalf of an element of government, or a program operated by or on behalf of an employer.
The key concept is that people share the ride from home or one or more common meeting locations and travel together to a common destination or work center.
A number of programs exist (within the United States) to help lower the cost of that shared ride to the end user. Among these are traditional funding available to public agencies, public-private partnerships, and the Best Work Places for Commuters (Commuter Choice Programs). A tax benefit is available under 26 U.S.C. §132(f) Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit allowances. These public transportation programs seek to reduce the number of cars on the road (with all the attendant environmental benefits).
Additional benefits include:
Speed: The van can use the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes because normally more than 2-3 people ride.
Fixed schedule (makes life more predictable).
Saving the cost of gasoline (in some cases, it is part of the program).
Riders often can have significant reductions in the cost of personal automobile insurance (insurance for the rideshare component is usually provided as part of the vanpool program).
Incentives from local/federal transportation authorities offset cost.In many cases, an employer may elect to subsidize the cost of the vanpool and the vehicles' maintenance. In some cases, the vehicles are provided and maintained by the municipality; in others in partnership with or by a third-party provider. For example, UCLA operates an extensive network of vans, in which faculty, staff and students are eligible for discounted rates, although anyone commuting to the Westwood area is allowed to participate, with drivers receiving the highest discounts. The vans are centrally maintained, fueled, and cleaned.
The King County Metro Vanpool Program is a successful demand responsive transport program in the Puget Sound area, specifically in King County, Washington. Another successful program is operated by Pace in Illinois.
The oldest multi-employer vanpool program in the country is in Treasure Valley, Idaho. For over 30 years Ada County Highway District’s Commuteride Vanpools have been crisscrossing the Valley helping commuters go to and from work, with their numerous vanpool routes traveling throughout the Treasure Valley. The Vanpools also service the Military at Gowen Field and Mountain Home Air Force Base (MHAFB) with multiple routes to and from Ada and Canyon County. ACHD Commuteride serves the cities, Boise, Meridian, Kuna, Garden City, Eagle and Star as well as Ada County.
Private firms operate vanpools for individuals, as well as in cooperation with employers or under contract.World Resources Institute
The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research non-profit organization that was established in 1982 with funding from the MacArthur Foundation under the leadership of James Gustave Speth.