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How can transport engineering assist

“green mobility” in urban areas?





January 2018






report will discuss the numerous ways that transport engineering can assist
green mobility in urban areas.  Numerous case
studies will be explored where sustainable transport engineering is currently
in place and areas where it could be expanded to support green mobility in
urban areas.



1.1 Background

Green mobility is sustainable transportation that allows the basic
access needs of individuals and societies to be met. safely and in a manner
consistent with human and eco-system health, and with equity within and between
generations. (2015, IJIRSET) Green Mobility generally
refers to sustainable modes of transport, for example cycle highways, bus,
trams and trains.

Transport plays a
vital role in our everyday lives, from our daily commute to the transport of
goods and access to vital services. 
Britain was designed around the rail and road systems, Venice the canals
system, and North America the car, all designed with best modes of transport at
the time.  However now with our carbon
footprint at the forefront of our minds how can transport engineers assist with
green mobility?

 As a society we constantly complain about
delays and cancellation or the mundane aspects of our transport network,
however they are from ideal from a sustainable prospective.  Transport Engineers design and implement
urban designs, this is vital in larger cities which are already developed and
heavily congested.

Green mobility is
sustainable transportation that allows the basic access needs of individuals
and societies to be met. Safely and in a manner consistent with human and
eco-system health, and with equity within and between generations. (2015,

Sustainable transport in recent years has
gained popularity due to pressure from
campaigner’s ands the general public, especially in metropolises like London,
formerly known as ‘The Big Smoke’, due to the Great smog of 1952.  Society as a whole is more aware of its
impact on the environment and in turn on our health as individuals, hence the
increase in the number of cyclists in London today. 

In the past transport engineering was driven
mainly by economics factors which were dictated by government policy or the
world markets.  Over the last 2 decades
this has changed drastically and the focus has shifted and more focus has been
given to the sustainable issues, their environmental and societal impact.  The global position on climate change and how
countries should respond has pushed large cities to respond by leading the way
with innovative transport engineering solutions, in order to reduce emissions
and provide cleaner air for their residents.





1.2 Green mobility

Case study 1 – Copenhagen

Copenhagen is one of Europe’s greenest city,
leading the way in green mobility with an audacious target of becoming the
first carbon neutral city in Europe by 2025, by achieving the targets below.

of journeys in Copenhagen are done on foot, by bike or by public transport
of all journeys to work or education in Copenhagen are done by bike
more passengers using public transport compared to 2009
transport is carbon neutral
of all light vehicles use new fuels
of all heavy vehicles use new fuels

(2012 City of


Copenhagen have many intelligent transport engineering systems in place
to support these targets, a number of these will be looked at in this case
study and will highlight the integral part engineers play in achieve targets
like those above.


In Odense Denmark they have installed sensors on the traffic signals for
cyclists, this enables the signal to stay green for longer in favour of
cyclists when is it raining.  This
reduces congestion, and increase the number of cyclists using the routes, as
they no longer must wait in the rain for long periods.  This system is supported by sensors that
monitor the precipitation levels and the number of cyclist to ensure
intelligent decision are made about the time between signal changes.  Due to the success this system is being
adopted in many parts of Holland and other countries in Europe where there are
many cyclists in urban areas.


Intelligent traffic signals have been installed
across the city as part of a plan to upgrade the whole network it allows
cyclist to navigate the main routes without stopping, thus reducing travel
time.  In addition, they are already
piloting a system across the whole network where the number of cyclists will be
monitors and if five or more cyclists approach the signal it will remain green

Cycle Superhighways are being implemented
across Copenhagen in an inter municipal approach to encourage commuters to
cycle rather than use cars.  They have
already seen a 52% increase on one route since its implementation and predict a
30% increase in cyclists overall across the highways. 

Bus rapid transit is also employed as part of
Copenhagen plan to increase green mobility, it is designed to increase capacity
and reduce travel time compared to the conventional bus system. There are at
least 10 traffic signals in Copenhagen that can recognise the bus ensuring it
can get over the lights, this is achieved through the use off 66 cameras and a
GPS located on the bus.  Also, there are many
dedicated bus lanes with advance green traffic signals that help in reducing
commuters travel time.

Bringing the Bike along for the Train Commute

Electric Vehicles Sell Power to the Grid

Accelerating the Public Transport Industry

Køge Nord
Station is currently under construction and designed to be the next phase in
green mobility in Copenhagen.  The design
concept was simple with minimal maintenance costs, allowing integrated
transport modes meeting at one hub.  This
transit hub will consist of a double track that will allow high speed trains to
connect the 90,000 daily commuters to the capital.  This is ensuring that futures demand is met, with
its park and ride scheme, and bridge that connects the current station to this
upgrade.  This is a prime example of
transport engineering supporting green mobility, as it allows commuters ease of
access to the city, across many modes, it links to multiple areas.


Case study 2 – London

Cycle superhighways in London are being
upgraded and segregated to improve cyclist safety and support green mobility
across the city.

London, Oslo,
Singapore and Stockholm all have congestion zones, all begin with mild public opposition
followed by some version of acceptance. 
Essentially a congestion zone means charging a fee for entering the
restricted areas, ideally to reduce congestion, improve air quality and create
revenue to further improve infrastructure. 
The congestion zone could not have been adopted without transport
engineers, using intelligent transport systems to collect the data on cars
entering and leaving the area, through many methods such as inductive loops,
sensors and Automatic Number Plate Recognition to collect fees.


Modes of green transport

Intelligent signals reduce travel time

Intelligent buss bus priority

Electric vehicles

Accelerating public transport industry




Civil Engineers complete the code of conduct and within that they agree to the
following ‘All members shall show due regard for the environment and for the
sustainable management of natural resources’ (ICE. 2017) This is far more
relevant today than before, as a society we are under pressure to make the
necessary changes to prevent further damage, therefore transport engineers play
a key role in creating and maintaining Green mobility now and in the

Sustainable transport is a vital part of the
present and imperative to the future generations, especially with the growing
global population.  Transport engineers
play a pivotal part in providing green mobility, from reducing congestion to
increasing capacity.  However, this is
only possible with communication and collaboration with all parties involved,
from local government to the public.

Transport engineers need to be mindful of the
design life and function of their plans, it is important that not only environmental
goals are met when taking into consideration green mobility.  The current and future transport demands must
be met along with safety issues, the financial
limitations must be met without impairing the current local economy.  It is essential that transport engineers work
with planners and local governments to get the balance just right for
successful green mobility to be adopted.

Transport engineers have the knowledge at their
disposal to implement intelligent systems that assist green mobility across
urban areas, from rain sensors improving signal times to integrated transit
hubs that can support current and future demand. Transport engineers are in a
position to design change for the greater good, and through their technical
knowledge they are essential to green mobility movement both now and in the























2015.  International Journal of Innovative Research
in Science, Engineering and Technology. 
Vol 4.




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