Intergenerational Equity and the Future of Transportation
Intergenerational equity refers to the principle that the current generation has a moral obligation to ensure that future generations have access to the same opportunities and resources that we have enjoyed. This principle is particularly relevant when it comes to transportation, as the choices we make today will have a significant impact on the mobility and quality of life of future generations.
Transportation is one of the most significant contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for around 14% of global emissions in 2016. The transportation sector is also a major contributor to air pollution, noise pollution, and habitat fragmentation. To ensure intergenerational equity, we need to transition to a sustainable transportation system that reduces these negative impacts while ensuring that future generations have access to safe, efficient, and affordable transportation.
One of the most promising ways to achieve this goal is to transition to electric vehicles (EVs). EVs emit zero tailpipe emissions and have the potential to reduce the transportation sector’s impact on the environment significantly. However, to ensure intergenerational equity, we need to ensure that the transition to EVs is done in an equitable manner.
Currently, EVs are more expensive than gasoline-powered vehicles, making them inaccessible to many low-income households. To address this issue, policymakers can provide incentives for EV adoption, such as tax credits or rebates, and invest in charging infrastructure in low-income communities.
In addition to promoting EV adoption, policymakers should also focus on improving public transportation options. Public transportation is a critical part of a sustainable transportation system as it can reduce emissions, alleviate traffic congestion, and provide affordable and accessible transportation options. However, many public transportation systems in the US are outdated and underfunded, resulting in poor service and limited coverage. To ensure intergenerational equity, we need to invest in public transportation infrastructure to make it a viable option for all.
Another critical aspect of a sustainable transportation system is active transportation, such as biking and walking. Active transportation not only reduces emissions but also promotes physical activity, improving public health. To ensure intergenerational equity, we need to invest in infrastructure that supports active transportation, such as bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly streets.
Finally, we need to prioritize transportation solutions that prioritize environmental justice. Low-income communities and communities of color are often disproportionately impacted by transportation-related pollution and lack access to affordable and accessible transportation options. To ensure intergenerational equity, we need to prioritize transportation solutions that address these inequities.
In conclusion, the choices we make today regarding transportation will have a significant impact on the mobility and quality of life of future generations. To ensure intergenerational equity, we need to transition to a sustainable transportation system that reduces negative impacts on the environment while ensuring that future generations have access to safe, efficient, and affordable transportation options. This requires investing in EV adoption, public transportation, active transportation, and environmental justice. By doing so, we can create a transportation system that serves the needs of all while preserving the planet for future generations.