An effective transport system is vital for economic well being and good quality of life. However, there is widespread concern that the continuing growth of transport is damaging our environment, and in particular the atmosphere. Transport is responsible for emissions of many harmful pollutants that lead to acid rain, poor air quality and global warming.
To maintain the standard of transport that is required for society and the economy to function efficiently without placing too much pressure on the environment, it is necessary for governments to devise a policy that will take these factors into account. This can be done through a sustainable and integrated transport policy. "Sustainable" in this context means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
In the Sustainable Development Strategy for the UK, the government has acknowledged that it will need to take action to control the rate of traffic growth, improve the performance of vehicles and initiate public awareness about the environmental impacts of polluting emissions from transport. People need to be encouraged to reduce their dependency on cars, but affordable alternatives must be available to allow them to do this.
Sustainable transport policies will involve more than traffic reduction. New technology is required to increase vehicle efficiency and investment in other modes of transport, for example public transport. Cycling and walking incentives will be needed to encourage people to leave their cars behind.