Transport carries multiple opportunities to exert a less harmful impact on the environment. In a world in which consumers are becoming more climate-conscious, anything the transportation world can do to protect the planet as human beings or businesses go about their activities is welcome.

Below is a look at the issue of sustainable transportation, how we can make transport more sustainable, the impact of sustainable transportation on the economy and on society, at some of the possible solutions and at the advantages sustainable transport can offer to reduce outdoor air pollution. We’ll also look at how some of our logistics solutions can help operators to conduct some of their processes in a more sustainable way, to be more energy-efficient and to slow down the impact of global warming.

We begin, of course, with a fundamental question...

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what is sustainable transportation?

‘Sustainable transportation’ refers to safe modes of transportation that have a low impact on the environment. You’ll often see the term ‘green transportation’ too. Where possible, this type of transportation tends to use renewable energy, rather than coal or other fossil fuels that can harm the Earth.

Not all forms of transportation have to use an energy source to be sustainable, however, Cycling is one environmentally-friendly form of transportation that doesn’t require any energy other than that of the human using the bicycle.

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the importance of sustainable transportation

According to the World Bank, transport is the fastest-growing source of energy-related carbon emissions. Depending on where you live, transport contributes between 12 and 70% of urban air pollution. Data on the organisation’s blog suggests that at least 184,000 deaths in 2010 were attributable to air pollution.

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examples of sustainable transportation

Green modes of transportation exist in various forms. Here are a few examples:

Electric vehicles

Electric vehicles are another environmentally-friendly form of transport. Electric cars, bikes, trains, boats and scooters are all possible as they carry a battery pack and electric motor. Commercial electric vehicles are on the up too, such as electric trucks, electric vans and electric pickup trucks. Although they might not produce harmful emissions, admittedly the plants that manufacture them may do so when generating electricity. Solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal are all forms of power or energy plants could harness to produce these vehicles and limit their emissions, and subsequently, reduce the total greenhouse gas emissions.


Cycling is the most obvious form of sustainable transportation and, as well as helping to conserve the planet, provides the owner with a good workout. Bikes are affordable to buy and maintenance is much cheaper than that of a car. Of course, bikes don’t emit greenhouse gases, either.


Not so much a mode of transport in the sense of being a vehicle like a car or a bike, but it’s a way in which people can reduce the amount of traffic on the roads, particularly in built-up areas and urban areas. Since people are sharing a multi-occupant vehicle and all going in the same direction, there will be less traffic on the roads and less pollution.

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how can we make transport sustainable?

It’s a big question, but thankfully, it’s one for which there are plenty of answers. There’s still time for the planet. Below are some suggested ways that we can make transport more sustainable.

Decide what sustainability means for cities

Sustainable transport can mean a variety of things, depending on the location in which it’s being implemented. It could create scope for a better quality of life for the citizens. It could mean working towards a more functional but green city. It could even mean bridging an inequality gap.

Defining what sustainable transport will be like in a city requires the consideration of questions such as:

  • Will wider pavements be necessary?
  • Will there be a need for more cycle lanes?
  • Will the public system require more buses?
  • Will residents be able to access the buses (or other forms of transportation in the city)?

Reflect on the balance between humans, transport and the environment

Sustainable transportation entails a healthy balance between humans, transportation and natural systems. To make transportation sustainable, city roads and streets must become accessible to everyone. Naturally, consideration should also be directed towards the environment, which should always remain as close to how it is without transportation or urban structures as possible (or at least experience minimal impact).

Develop a framework to guide implementation and updates

Three guiding elements sit at the core of sustainable transport: economic, environmental and social considerations. This trio should form the basis of a framework to plan, implement and maintain a sustainable system:

  • economic: making the cost of transportation affordable for everyone, including residents who have a lower income;
  • social: the development of safe, secure and accessible mobility choices for people, regardless of their gender, age or physical abilities;
  • environmental: creating solutions that decrease emissions and pollution, and protect the environment.

Use time as a milestone to work towards sustainable transportation goals

Making transport sustainable will require setting a timeframe to track and evaluate progress. It also means dispensing with vague notions such as ‘near future’ and ‘soon’. Whether it’s hours, months or seasons, projects should have a specific starting point and ending one so that actors involved in sustainable transportation projects can measure changes and determine whether they’re moving closer towards the goals of the project.

Low carbon vehicles

To make deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions from transport, a reduction in the carbon dioxide intensity of travel is necessary. The materialisation of COVID-19 may have had an impact on travel and reduced it, but otherwise, such a reduction would have been unlikely, so technological change is essential. Improving the fuel efficiency of conventional engines and then gradually introducing alternative engines is one solution.

Congestion charges

Managing congestion is a crucial part of implementing policies for sustainable transportation infrastructure. Charges can bring congestion down to more efficient levels. The question is whether users will accept charges. The cost of running such a scheme must also be considered. These charges can have bigger financial impacts when it comes to planning where to place crucial business facilities, such as between warehouses and factories.

Investment in high-speed rail

Investment in high-speed rail transport is likely to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and can compete strongly with transportation by car, especially where traffic is dense enough, which is for journeys up to around 1,000 km, such as between major centres of population.

As well as the cost of construction of a high-speed railway line, however, is the issue of the level of impact. The reduction could only be small, and it may take some decades for the existence of the line to compensate for the emissions construction itself has generated.

the potential impact of sustainable transportation has on society and people

Sustainable transport offers all sorts of beneficial impacts for society.

It reduces carbon footprint

Modes of transport such as walking or cycling have virtually zero environmental impact because they don’t emit greenhouses gases, use energy or create pollution such as noise or air pollution. Public transportation can decrease the amount of traffic on the roads, which leads to fewer emissions per passenger mile than single-occupancy vehicles.

It creates safer transportation

Sustainable public transportation is a lot safer than travelling into the city in a privately owned vehicle. You’re much less likely to get involved in a crash. Unfortunately, not driving to some locations isn’t an option for some

It lowers congestion levels

Sustainable transport creates fewer bottlenecks because there are fewer private and commercial, such as trucks and cars on the road. Even in more metropolitan locations, people can reach their destinations faster. More open roads and areas will also help to conserve the natural ecosystem better.

It promotes health and well being

Lower emission levels and less pollution can help to promote better health. Many people live in areas in which levels exceed legal limits. If more people used public transport, the levels of pollution could drop dramatically. People would be able to breathe easier and live longer. Incidentally, studies also show that people who live in walkable communities are happier. That’s understandable. Who doesn’t like to breathe in fresh air first thing in the morning?

When people use sustainable modes of transportation such as walking and cycling, they can improve their health naturally because they’re taking exercise. So not only does sustainable transport benefit the health of individuals but also contributes to that of the larger local community.

It bridges gaps in society by creating opportunities

Making transport more sustainable can bridge gaps by creating opportunities. More affordable transport creates more mobility. People have more access to jobs and to education. This brings us onto the subject of the benefits for the economy.

the potential impact of sustainable transportation has on the economy

Of course, just as citizens and society benefit from the availability and provision of sustainable transport, the economy benefits too.

Sustainable transportation creates jobs

Often, investment in sustainable transportation projects creates jobs as well. Building infrastructure, finding and forming alternatives to diesel-fuelled vehicles, and employing people to operate and manage sustainable forms of transport all generate job opportunities for people who may need them desperately. Sustainable transportation development is also highly inclusive since it calls on the skills of designers, construction workers, maintenance workers and a wide range of other professionals.

Sustainable transportation saves money

Investing in sustainable transportation is expensive at the start, in the long run, it can transform into savings for the economy and for the citizens. Building roads, creating the right infrastructure for transport systems and buying buses all cost money. Maintaining roads, however, can cost more than maintaining systems.

Employers and sustainable transportation

Employers who encourage employees to use sustainable transportation can reap a range of benefits from doing so. These include:

  • increased productivity;
  • lower turnover rates and less absenteeism: the commute and lack of availability of public transport can persuade employees not to come to work;
  • lower fuel costs;
  • a safer working environment: employers should promote the use of sustainable transportation because it can make the workplace safer, and ultimately, it helps to improve the business’s bottom line.
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disadvantages of sustainable transportation

Clearly, sustainable transportation offers lots of benefits for society and for the economy. Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages and challenges, too.

Electric vehicles present a lot of challenges

High prices, long charging times, limited range, availability of charging points and an inadequate charging structure are all problems with which electric cars have to contend.  Some vehicles will also only have two seats and short battery life. All of this could put people and businesses off from buying and investing in electric cars and fleets.

Infrastructural issues

In some developing countries, for instance, the roads aren’t suitable for pedestrians or for cycling. This is a major challenge and will take massive investment if sustainable transportation is going to become a more common part of life there or anywhere else that faces the same challenges.

Then there’s the fact that some cities are perfectly equipped infrastructurally for electric scooters and some other forms of green transportation, whereas more remote areas are not. This is another issue to address when considering sustainable transportation.


Public transportation is generally safer, but some other forms of sustainable transportation, such as carpooling, entail sharing a privately owned vehicle. Driving into a city like in a truck, let alone a private vehicle creates more of a safety risk as there is more potential for accidents. A mode of transport can be sustainable, but that doesn’t always make it safe.

Not always affordable

Although bikes have become more affordable, not everyone may have the money to use green transportation. They might not have the money, for instance, to buy an electric car. Failing that, they may live long distances from wherever they need to be to cycle or walk.


solutions in sustainable transportation

The World Bank suggests two evidence-based things: a mass transition to a more efficient, electrical fleet, which, to do in cities worldwide, would call for a total incremental investment of US$8.6 trillion. This includes the extra costs of owning, operating and fuelling electric vehicles and vehicles that have a higher fuel efficiency.

The organisation believes the investment would pay for itself in as little as eight years, with annual returns reaching US$320 billion by 2030 and exceeding US$1 trillion by 2050. The returns come largely from the savings from reduced fuel usage and avoided fuel costs. Lower emissions and cleaner air will produce even higher economic returns.

Coupling this with a shift to mass transit

The World Bank highlights that making transport more sustainable won’t necessarily reduce congestion, but merely electrify it. To make the transition suggested above, cities must do this with a modal shift to mass transit.

According to the organisation, this shift would generate even larger economic returns. If a total investment of US$4 trillion was to be made in public buses, trains and railway tracks, this would pay for itself in as little as a year, generating annual benefits of US$1 trillion by 2030. The savings from vehicle ownership, operation and fuel costs through lesser vehicle usage, plus travel time and congestion reduction, would all produce substantial returns. The shift could lower carbon emissions by 0.73 GtCO2-e by 2050 and support 12 million jobs.

how logistics operators and departments can help

Shorter waiting times for loading and unloading, better use of trucks and the use of alternative forms of fuel are all more obvious ways logistic operators and departments can contribute to a more sustainable way of performing their duties. They do this by decreasing CO2 emissions and the consumption of fossil raw materials around road transport freight services.

There is, however, more these agents could do. They must address certain challenges such as:

  • transparency regarding emissions or employee concerns about the value chain;
  • dovetailing of sustainability and corporate strategy;
  • under-ambitious targets that have no long-term horizon;
  • sketchy implementation of the corresponding initiatives to those targets.

Tackling these challenges could go further towards operating more sustainably.

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Joloda Hydraroll and sustainability

Our Automated Loading Systems support businesses with their logistics, enabling them to load and unload their vehicles safely and efficiently.

Not only that, though, but they offer several sustainability benefits. These can include:

  • lowering fuel consumption by reducing the need for forklift trucks or trucks;
  • reducing waste by minimising product damage;
  • increasing safety in the workplace through less need to use forklift trucks in loading and unloading.

Operating more sustainably

We don’t just help our customers to make their own operations more sustainable when they buy our products, however; we’ve been working hard on enhancing the levels of sustainability in our own operations, too.

Measures we’ve taken in this regard include;

  • cutting our emissions by shipping in larger quantities;
  • switching to renewable gas and electricity at our European site in the Netherlands to lower our emissions;
  • and amalgamation of some of our UK premises into a larger, more sustainable site.

Our first ESG report has highlighted the company’s need to transition to zero emissions more swiftly. As a result, we intend to replace part of our fleet, including forklifts, with electric or hybrid vehicles. To replace 10% is our goal in 2023. We’ll also be conducting driver training to ensure the behaviours of the company’s drivers minimise emissions.

We mentioned above our switch to renewable gas and electricity at our European site in the Netherlands. In 2023, our goal will be to procure 100% renewable energy for our sites and operations.

As part of our move towards greater sustainability, we’ll also be looking at our supply chain. We’ll be analysing the sustainability maturity of our suppliers and will be working with them to reduce emissions.

Sustainable transportation can work towards a better future, offering benefits for citizens, the economy and, of course, the planet. If you’d like to find out more about our solutions, which can help you to operate more sustainably, contact us. We’ll be happy to help you choose the right loading system for your business.

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the benefits of sustainable logistics

It's indisputable that sustainability has become an important aspect for businesses. Consumers want to buy from companies that operate in an eco-friendly way.

The real challenge is in the logistics industry where the use of transport to manoeuvre goods from one destination to another is heavily dependent on the use of vehicles. Businesses who can rise to it (or at least make a clear, concerted effort to), however, can enjoy some considerable benefits.

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