Overview about: Ecological Footprint of Transport

Ecological Footprint of transport is considered part of recourses whereas the emissions from transport are considered waste produced which, in turn, must be absorbed by the planet. The ecological footprint of transport combines a number of important activities that have an impact on the environment (Barrett, Scot and Vallack, 2001). These include emission of traction energy, emissions of manufacturing energy, emission of the construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure in addition to the land occupied by the transport infrastructure. This can be for different transport modes such as land transport by car, bus, train, and others.However the ecological footprint of transport planning is a recent approach and develops slowly as evidenced in few studies conducted in this filed.

Ecological footprint has been done to study the relationships between urban form and commuting for the Barcelona Metropolitan Region (BMR) (Muniz and Galindo, 2005). In this study explored of the ecological footprint determinants of the municipal variability by have been done by using different indicators like population density, accessibility, average household and job ratio. The study used component based ecological footprinting approach. They calculated the total and per capita ecological footprint of six municipalities in BMR by used trips length, energy consumption of mode of transport and ecological land require per energy used by transport. The results confirm that urban form appears as the main determinant of ecological footprint variation among the municipalities of BMR.


In another study estimating the ecological foot print of vehicle travel in future years including some GIS applications have been done in Houghton county, Michigan.  (Chi and Stone, 2005). They presented a methodology for measuring the ecological footprint in a county level transportation network in currant and future time period. The estimated the quantity of land require for constructing county highway and remediation annual greenhouse gas emissions through forest carbon sequestration in years 2001, 2011 and 2021. In the results the indicated that, despite a projected vehicle fuel efficiency the ecological footprint of transport will increase in the future years because of the projected increase in the total annual vehicle kilometers of travel along the network.


In Merseyside at UK, Barrett, Scot and Vallack (Barrett, Scot and Vallack, 2001) measured the ecological footprint of passenger transport They conducted the ecological footprint mainly to measure the potential environmental impact of passenger transport. At the administrative unit the calculated the total passenger kilometers to maintain the total ecological footprint and per capita ecological footprint for different transport modes. The concluded that each person in Merseyside requires just over on half of a hectare of land. 


Finally in 2003 Wood (Wood, 2003).carried modeling the ecological footprint of company travel plans for its employees using GIS and network analysis. He explored the use of ecological footprint analysis for evaluating and communicating the environmental implications of transport alternatives within a Vodafone company travel plan. He applied the component ecological footprint approach in which GIS and network analysis employed to ascertain the environmental implication of commuting and its management through travel plan. Eventually he conclude that ecological footprint may be used as a management tool for formulating, implementing, and refining company travel plans, in addition to its well established role as a metaphor for communicating the consequences of consumption.

Mohammed Aljoufie(ITC-Netherlands)


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