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Green Transportation Revolution

December 24, 2016

If you’re reading this…you probably have a car. How did I know, you ask? With 87% of U.S. households having at least one car (and many with more than one!), statistics are one my side. If you’re not reading this, good chance have a car too, for that matter.

Having a car is somewhere between very convenient and an absolutely necessity for most of North America. There are the select few cities that are quite accesible by public transportation – New York, Chicago, Toronto, to name a few – but for the L.A’s, Dallas’, and Phoenix’s of the continent, car access is seen as a right of passage by many. And that doesn’t even begin to talk about rural communities, where car transportation is often the only real viable option.

Drivers in Atlanta abandoned their vehicles when the city was hit with an unusual snowstorm - of just 3 inches
Drivers in Atlanta abandoned their vehicles when the city was hit with an unusual snowstorm – of just 3 inches

Before I mount my high horse, I should admit: I am a current car owner. With that admission, however, I am no less adamant in the stance that: cars are stupid. An average of 90 people per day (32,000 per year) died in the U.S. from car crashes as of 2007 – which actually represented a 13% decrease per capita over the prior 13 years (https://www.cnn.com/2016/07/07/health/us-highest-crash-death-rate/)! Cars and trucks are one of the leading causes of air pollution – contributing to an addition 30,000 premature deaths each year (https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/vehicles-air-pollution-and-human-health#.WF7-mfkrI2w). And the mental toll of traffic and road rage, while harder to quantify, is easy to spot in any major city.

Los Angeles traffic leading up to Thanksgiving weekend, 2016
Los Angeles traffic leading up to Thanksgiving weekend, 2016

One of my favorite protests, which creatively demonstrated the waste of space cars represent, was recently held in Riga, the capital of Latvia. For International Car Free Day, cyclists transformed their bikes into car-sized structures to demonstrate how much more space would be taken up on the Latvian capital’s roads if they chose to drive instead of bike. Brilliant!

Bicyclists protest the wasteful size of cars
Bicyclists protest the wasteful size of cars

There is a bit of good news trickeling down the green transportation pipeline:

  • Tesla is re-inventing the game, so to speak.
  • In March 2016, the Netherlands’ parliament voted to support a motion stating it wants only sustainable, zero-emission vehicles to be sold on the Dutch market from 2025 (https://blog.ballard.com/the-green-transportation-revolution-is-now)
  • In March 2016, South Korea announced plans to deploy thousands of zero-emmision hydrogen fuel cell buses at a rate of about 2,000 vehicles per year (https://blog.ballard.com/the-green-transportation-revolution-is-now)
  • And if Uber is able to launch safe and effective self driving car technology, that could make car ownership obsolete within the forseeable future

Change is possible, and happening. But there are strong forces opposed to it as well (specifically the oil and gas and car industries, representing powerful lobby groups). It’s not wonder that we’re still using gas gussling cars while the technology for greener transportation has been available for years (and by years, I mean decades in not centuries).

An electric taxi, from 1897 !
An electric taxi, from 1897 !

Evolve is proud to be launching ‘green trips’, harnessing zero emission transportation and striving for a net carbon neutral footprint from the green trips we run. It is a small step in the right direction we are excited to be taking. It’s up to everyone as an individual to do whatever is within their power to help proceed the green transportation revolution forward. Together, we can and will create a new world.

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