The sector of urban transportation provides several possibilities for the environment educator to delve into sustainability issues. The issues of air quality, noise pollution and dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels for motor vehicles are typically the first ones to come to mind when urban traffic is mentioned. However, it soon becomes clear that the social, economic and political dimensions of traffic problems must be explored to find solutions. How are streets and roads actually used? Informal sector occupations have had a close link to road space for decades, but why are cities not planning for such use? How might mind sets be changed from accepting car-dominated planning to those that create neighbourhoods and cities comfortable and safe for walking and cycling?
Enhancing public understanding about traffic and transportation issues is important since the landscape of Indian cities is changing rapidly with increasing urbanization and increased investments in building urban infrastructure. We can choose city forms that are sustainable - more people friendly, less harmful to the environment. This issue of EfC brings you some thoughts and experiences related to educating for sustainable transportation.
Improving public transport and discouraging private transport are essential elements of sustainable transportation.