The state of the environment is progressively deteriorating. Climate change and air pollution are showing their dramatic effects. A turnaround is increasingly necessary and urgent. Sustainable mobility makes it possible to consider modes of travel that reduce environmental impact, positively affecting the environment and within society. In a sector such as freight transport, which plays a key role, it is necessary to implement strategies that have sustainable mobility as their password. One of the main objectives of the European Union concerns precisely the increase of sustainable mobility, and Italy, as a founding country and member state of the European Union, shares its values and objectives, gradually committing itself to the fight against environmental pollution. Let us see what the state of the art is.
Environmental emergency: what is the current situation?
According to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we are facing a real climate emergency: heat waves, floods, droughts, tropical cyclones are tangible evidence of climate change, which is becoming increasingly dramatic and frightening. What the report shows is that, in addition to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) – the main culprit of climate change – other greenhouse gases and air pollutants also contribute substantially to influencing the climate, making the environmental situation considerably worse.
It is human activities, however, and in particular those involving the transport sector, that have amplified the increase of CO2 and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These factors have inevitably shown the need for a new transport mobility, for a necessary change that can and must be brought about above all through sustainable mobility in order to cope with the current climate emergency.
What is sustainable freight mobility?
Sustainable mobility, with reference to the transport of goods, has the task of ensuring the use of appropriate transport systems that take into account the economic, social and environmental needs of society, reducing the dramatic outcomes that, due to excessive and improper use of transport, continue to affect the environment and consequently human health. Sustainable mobility is thus a new type of mobility that tends to benefit the environment through the use of means, or combinations of means, that are less polluting and thus able to significantly reduce the impact that the goods transport sector has inevitably caused on the environment.
If the great increase in the mobility of goods has contributed decisively to the arrival of the climate emergency, it is precisely the sustainable mobility of goods that must find those solutions that can help reduce mankind’s ecological footprint on the planet. On the one hand, new forms of traction, such as the aforementioned electric traction. On the other, new intermodal transport strategies that can ensure better transport efficiency and, once again, the reduction of pollutant emissions on the planet.
The situation of sustainable mobility in Italy
In Italy too, the freight transport sector has certainly contributed to increasing the country’s ecological footprint. Climate change, on the other hand, has also had catastrophic consequences on the boot of Italy in recent years. For this reason, as in the rest of the world, there is a need in Italy to build and develop a sustainable mobility strategy. In order to achieve sustainable mobility in Italy, the proposed Plan for Ecological Transition has been presented to Parliament, which envisages important actions and interventions in the transport sector.
The measures range from the development of sustainable road mobility through the use of fuels with a lower environmental impact, thanks to subsidies for the purchase of sustainable vehicles, to the promotion of rail transport, which in the future will allow the realisation of a complete decarbonisation, and thus, the reduction of the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
This is an issue of considerable relevance precisely because it proposes common goals to be achieved with a view to reducing environmental impact, especially at a time when the negative consequences caused by transport are proven by the countless studies on the subject, which show that the negative effects on the environment and people’s health are excessively harmful and increasingly tangible. Gradually, therefore, the foundations are being laid for a real change in the transport sector, a necessary transformation in favour of sustainable mobility in Italy and the consequent protection of a Planet immersed in environmental emergency.
Sustainable freight mobility: what are the possible solutions?
Given the current climate emergency and the importance, therefore, of respect for the environment, it is necessary for companies to understand how essential it is to change their approach to the transport of their goods, increasingly turning their gaze towards transport management that can be defined as ecological. It is therefore necessary to find the most useful and sustainable solutions for the sustainable mobility of goods, not least because it is currently a factor that is less and less negligible and more and more essential for coping with the climate emergency. A decisive role in terms of reducing environmental pollution, when it comes to transport that necessarily takes a long time, is certainly played by intermodal transport, and in particular it is rail transport that offers great contributions and advantages that are essential in the context of sustainable mobility.
The majority of transport, however, is by road, and it is therefore necessary to find solutions that enable road freight transport to be less aggressive in terms of environmental impact, through the implementation of more sustainable strategies.
In order to achieve this goal, an imminent reduction in the number of journeys is essential, but not only that, an increase in the energy efficiency of the vehicles used for freight transport, which must be based on energy produced from renewable sources and with a reduced environmental impact, is also essential. These factors, in order to operate and collaborate in the best possible way with respect to the ecological transformation of transport, will have to be accompanied by the increasingly fundamental digitalisation. In fact, online logistics platforms allow numerous advantages for the effective simplification of transport logistics processes. Furthermore, by substantially reducing empty trips, digitisation proves to be a great ally for the growth and development of sustainable mobility.