New technologies and their potential to reduce the environmental impact of transportation
This paper is based on a study to provide the European Commission recommendations on the priorities for research and development in transport technologies and other related areas in technologies. The paper provides a synthesis of the findings of five studies and elucates the interactions between technology, transport, and environment. The first partdescribes the different types of environmental impact of transport, e.g., global and local pollution, quality of life aspects, and resource utilisation. We argue that the environmental problem remains hitherto unresolved because very few of the technological possibilities are without some accompanying disadvantages. Four so called trade-offs are distinguished. The potential technological advances are described for five clusters of technologies and the picture that emerges from the assessment of these technologies is complex: some impacts can be reduced substantially by rapid diffusion of best practice technology, further technological developments can be envisaged that will reduce the adverse impacts of transport on the environment, other improvements need a longer timescale and are more speculative so that a policy concentrating solely on research and development support is not enough. It is improbable that a technological break through will take place on the short term. A sophisticated appreciation is proposed of those time scales and balances and a strategy. This involves a whole range of instruments capable not only of getting the best technology and getting the best out of the technology, but also of controlling the use of technology to ensure that environmental standards are not irrevocably damaged while we wait for a "technological fix" that is unlikely to arrive in time.
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Volume (Year): 28 (1994)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
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