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Issues in sustainable transportation


  • Todd Litman
  • David Burwell


There is growing interest in sustainability, sustainable development, and sustainable transportation. This paper identifies issues related to the definition, evaluation and implementation of sustainable transportation. Significant issues include the range of definitions of sustainability, the range of issues considered under sustainability, the range of perspectives, criticism of sustainability analysis, evaluating sustainability, transportation impacts on sustainability, goals vs. objectives, sustainable transport decision making, approaches to sustainable transport, automobile dependency, equity, land use, community liveability, and sustainable transportation solutions. Sustainable development originally focused on a few resource consumption issues, but it is increasingly defined more broadly to include economic and social welfare, equity, human health and ecological integrity. A narrow definition of sustainable transport tends to favour individual technological solutions, while a broader definition tends to favour more integrated solutions, including improved travel choices, economic incentives, institutional reforms, land use changes as well as technological innovation. Sustainability planning may require changing the way people think about and solve transportation problems.

Suggested Citation

  • Todd Litman & David Burwell, 2006. "Issues in sustainable transportation," International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(4), pages 331-347.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijgenv:v:6:y:2006:i:4:p:331-347

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    1. Vaz, Eric & Aversa, Joseph, 2013. "A Graph Theory Approach for Geovisualization of Anthropogenic Land Use Change: An Application to Lisbon," Journal of Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, CIEO-Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, University of Algarve, vol. 1(4), pages 254-264.
    2. Chung, Jin-Hyuk & Bae, Yun Kyung & Kim, Jinhee, 2016. "Optimal sustainable road plans using multi-objective optimization approach," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 105-113.
    3. Jones, Steven & Tefe, Moses & Appiah-Opoku, Seth, 2013. "Proposed framework for sustainability screening of urban transport projects in developing countries: A case study of Accra, Ghana," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 21-34.
    4. Francesco Pinna & Francesca Masala & Chiara Garau, 2017. "Urban Policies and Mobility Trends in Italian Smart Cities," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(4), pages 1-21, March.
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    7. Yancang Li & Lei Zhao & Juanjuan Suo, 2014. "Comprehensive Assessment on Sustainable Development of Highway Transportation Capacity Based on Entropy Weight and TOPSIS," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(7), pages 1-9, July.
    8. Chaoren Lu, 2014. "The role of sustainability policy in influencing service innovation. a case study of Changzhou BRT system," ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(3), pages 167-168.
    9. repec:spr:annopr:v:250:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10479-015-2009-z is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Miranda, Hellem de Freitas & Rodrigues da Silva, Antônio Nélson, 2012. "Benchmarking sustainable urban mobility: The case of Curitiba, Brazil," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 141-151.
    11. Ryley, Tim J. & A. Stanley, Peter & P. Enoch, Marcus & M. Zanni, Alberto & A. Quddus, Mohammed, 2014. "Investigating the contribution of Demand Responsive Transport to a sustainable local public transport system," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 364-372.
    12. repec:ris:cieodp:2013_021 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:eee:retrec:v:60:y:2016:i:c:p:3-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Marcelo Maciel & Luiz Rosa & Fernando Correa & Ursula Maruyama, 2012. "Energy, Pollutant Emissions and Other Negative Externality Savings from Curbing Individual Motorized Transportation (IMT): A Low Cost, Low Technology Scenario Analysis in Brazilian Urban Areas," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(3), pages 1-27, March.
    15. Holden, Erling & Linnerud, Kristin & Banister, David, 2013. "Sustainable passenger transport: Back to Brundtland," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 67-77.
    16. Pietro Lanzini & Andrea Stocchetti, 2017. "The evolution of the conceptual basis for the assessment of urban mobility sustainability impacts," Working Papers 02, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    17. Cohen, Maurie J., 2010. "Destination unknown: Pursuing sustainable mobility in the face of rival societal aspirations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 459-470, May.
    18. Yen, Jeff & Bras, Bert, 2012. "A system model for assessing vehicle use-phase water consumption in urban mobility networks," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 474-492.
    19. Amekudzi, Adjo A. & Jotin Khisty, C. & Khayesi, Meleckidzedeck, 2009. "Using the sustainability footprint model to assess development impacts of transportation systems," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 339-348, May.
    20. Bojkovic, Natasa & Anic, Ivan & Pejcic-Tarle, Snezana, 2010. "One solution for cross-country transport-sustainability evaluation using a modified ELECTRE method," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 1176-1186, March.
    21. Nuri Cihat Onat & Murat Kucukvar & Omer Tatari, 2014. "Towards Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Alternative Passenger Vehicles," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(12), pages 1-38, December.
    22. Zhang, Xiaoling, 2013. "Going green: Initiatives and technologies in Shanghai World Expo," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 78-88.
    23. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:408-:d:130223 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Erling Holden & Geoffrey Gilpin, 2013. "Biofuels and Sustainable Transport: A Conceptual Discussion," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(7), pages 1-21, July.


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