Eco Friendly And Sustainable Transportation

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In this paper two aspects of eco-friendly transportation has been discussed. Transportation is a huge consumer of energy and resources and also a major source of environment pollution (basically air pollution). People tend to use motorized vehicle even for the short distances because of inconvenience and unsafe conditions for bicycling. This leads excessive use of fuel. Limiting the motorized transportation to a defined boundary is required to control the fuel usage and also to reduce site air and noise pollution. Green vehicles are very much energy efficient, pollution free and convenient mode for short distance travelling. But because of lack of facilities their use is not preferred. Eco-friendly transportation promotes use of such efficient vehicles by adequate provisions. Eco-friendly transportation is beneficial for the users as it keeps environment free of pollution and posses healthy living conditions. The use of green vehicle is one part of eco-friendly transportation, the other and most important aspect of sustainable transportation is the use of the waste materials such as fly ash, steel industry slag, paper industry waste in the construction of pavements, embankments of roads and rails etc. which are dangerous as far as the environmental pollution is concerned.

Key words:– Green vehicle, Eco-friendly or sustainable transportation, fly ash, Construction of pavements.


Transportation provides assistance to economic growth by making accessibility to resources and markets. It also improves quality of life linking persons to employment, health, education, recreation and other amenities. Thus, transportation plays a key role in economic and social development. Nevertheless, it has many spill-over effects such as congestion, safety, pollution and non-renewable resource depletion. The concept of sustainable transportation can be derived from the general sustainable development term that embraces all sectors of human activity. Efficacious and sustainable transportation is a key component to well-functioning and civilized societies. Indeed, both developed and developing countries are confronting critical issues in selecting and planning for their future transportation systems when there is a need towards sustainable development that balances accessibility, mobility, protection of human safety and environment. The concept of sustainable transportation is derived from these general terms that imply movement of people and goods in ways that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.Vehicle emissions contribute to the increasing concentration of gases linked to climate change. In order of significance, the principal greenhouse gases associated with road transport are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Road transport is the third largest source of greenhouse gases emitted in the UK, and accounts for over 20% of total emissions , and 33% in the United States. Of the total greenhouse gas emissions from transport, over 85% are due to CO2 emissions from road vehicles. The transport sector is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases. Road transport also remains the main source of many local emissions including benzene, 1, 3-butadiene, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates (PMs). Within urban areas, the percentage of contributions due to road transport is particularly high. In London, road transport contributes almost 80% of particulate emissions.


Now we will discuss the various methodologies to be adopted for eco-friendly transportation. The first methodology in this regard is the use of Green vehicles and other is the utilization of waste materials causing environmental pollution in the construction of embankments for railway tracks and roads

Green Vehicles
A green vehicle or environment-friendly vehicle is a road motor vehicle that produces less harmful impacts to the environment than comparable conventional internal combustion engine vehicles running on gasoline or diesel. Green vehicles are powered by alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies and include hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles, compressed-air vehicles, hydrogen and fuel-cell vehicles, neat ethanol vehicles, flexible-fuel vehicles, natural gas vehicles, clean diesel vehicles, and some sources also include vehicles using blends of biodiesel and ethanol fuel or gasohol. Several author also include conventional motor vehicles with high fuel economy, as they consider that increasing fuel economy is the most cost-effective way to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in the transport sector in the short run. As part of their contribution to sustainable transport, environmentally friendly vehicles reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to energy independence by reducing oil imports.

Table:- Comparison of several types of green car basic characteristics (Wikipedia……2010)

Type of vehicle/
power train

Fuel economy
(mpg equivalent)

Production cost for given range

Reduction in CO2compared to conventional

Payback period

Conventional ICE






Excluding battery cost: 200
Including battery cost: 10-50



Hybrid electric



5 years

Conversion of conventional vehicles into Green vehicles
The conventional vehicles can be converted to green vehicle. A conventional vehicle can become a greener vehicle by mixing in renewable fuels or using less carbon intensive fossil fuel. Typical gasoline-powered cars can tolerate up to 10% ethanol. Brazil manufactured cars that run on neat ethanol, though there were discontinued. Another available option is a flexible-fuel vehicle which allows any blend of gasoline and ethanol, up to 85% in North America and Europe, and up to 100% in Brazil. Another existing option is to convert a conventional gasoline-powered to allow the alternative use of CNG. Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Iran, India, Italy, and China have the largest fleets of natural gas vehicles in the world. Diesel-powered vehicles can often transition completely to biodiesel, though the fuel is a very strong solvent, which can occasionally damage rubber seals in vehicles built before 1994. More commonly, however, biodiesel causes problems simply because it removes the entire built-up residue in an engine, clogging filters, unless care is taken when switching from dirty fossil-fuel derived diesel to bio-diesel. It is very effective at ‘de-coking’ the diesel engines combustion chambers and keeping them clean. Biodiesel is the lowest emission fuel available for diesel engines. Diesel engines are the most efficient car internal combustion engines. Biodiesel is the only fuel allowed in some North American national parks because spillages will completely bio-degrade within 21 days. Biodiesel and vegetable oil fuelled, diesel engined vehicles are the best amongst the green vehicles.

Other alternative vehicles
Solar vehicles are electric vehicles powered by solar energy obtained from solar panels on the surface (generally, the roof) of the vehicle. Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert the Sun’s energy directly into electrical energy. Solar vehicles are not practical day-to-day transportation devices at present, but are primarily demonstration vehicles and engineering exercises, often sponsored by government agencies. Wind-powered electric vehicles primarily use wind-turbines installed at a strategic point of the vehicle, which are then converted into electric energy which causes the vehicle to propel. Human powered transport includes walking, bicycles, row boats, and other environmentally friendly ways of getting around. In addition to the health benefits of the exercise provided, they are far more environmentally friendly than most other options. The only downside is the speed limitations, and how far one can travel before getting exhausted.

Use of waste materials in construction of road and rail embankments
This is another very efficient and scientific approach towards making the transport environment friendly or in other words to conserve the environment through sustainable transportation.
Utilization of Fly Ash in Roads and Embankment Works


Around 110 million tonnes of fly ash get accumulated every year at the thermal power stations in India. Internationally fly ash is considered as a by product which can be used for many applications. Fly Ash Mission was initiated in 1994 to promote gainful and environment friendly utilisation of the material. One of the areas identified for its bulk utilisation was in construction of roads and embankments. Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), New Delhi, chosen as the ‘Nodal Agency’ for this activity, has undertaken many demonstration projects. Some of these are jointly with Fly Ash Mission (Presently Fly Ash Utilisation Programme ). As a result of experience gained through these projects, specifications for construction of road embankments and guidelines for use of fly ash for rural roads were compiled and have since been published by the Indian Roads Congress. Fly ash utilisation in the country rose from 3 per cent (of 40 million tonnes) of fly ash produced annually in 1990s to about 32 per cent (of 110 million tonnes) of fly ash generated annually now. Out of this total utilisation, about 22 percent, amounting to 7.75 million tonnes, was used in the area of roads and embankments last year. As fly ash is very minute, it tends to remain airborne for a very long period leading to serious health problems as the airborne ash can enter the body. It causes irritation to eyes, skin, and nose, throat, and respiratory tract. Repeated inhalation of fly ash dust containing crystalline silica can cause bronchitis and lung cancer. An industrial by-product that is otherwise waste, fly ash is environmentally friendly because it is recycled and has low embodied energy. Broad objective of Fly Ash Utilisation Programme is Confidence Building through “Technology Demonstration Projects for Fly Ash Disposal/Utilisation Technologies”. The use of these by-products offers environmental advantages by diverting the material from the waste stream, reducing the energy investment in processing virgin materials, conserving virgin materials, and allaying pollution.

Utilisation of fly ash will not only minimize the disposal problem but will also help in utilizing precious land in a better way. Construction of road embankments using fly ash, involves encapsulation of fly ash in earthen core or with RCC facing panels. Since there is no seepage of rain water into the fly ash core, leaching of heavy metals is also prevented. When fly ash is used in concrete, it chemically reacts with cement and reduces any leaching effect. Even when it is used in stabilisation work, a similar chemical reaction takes place which binds fly ash particles. Hence chances of pollution due to use of fly ash in road works are negligible.

The use of Paper mill sludge for stabilization of sand roads
A method of stabilizing loose-sand road surfaces with paper mill sludge in aggregate-deficient areas has been developed. Roads in the Chequamegon National Forest have been treated with paper mill sludge from the James River Corporation (formerly American Can Company) since 1977. These roads were constructed in vast areas of glacial outwash sands that consisted mostly of one-sized particles. Aggregate is greatly needed in these large areas and must be imported at a high cost. The sludge is a waste product of a paper recycling process, is available free of charge, and is an effective stabilizing agent. The clays and wood fibers in the sludge give the sand cohesive properties and fill the voids that result from the sand’s uniform gradation. The characteristics of the sand-sludge mixture, its application and incorporation, the performance of roads treated, and its use in conjunction with gravel are discussed in this paper. When the sludge is mixed with sand, it forms a stable all-weather road, reduces substantial erosion problems, and lessens the amount of sludge that needs to be land filled. (Transportation research record vol.-1)


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We at are thankful to Md. Tanveer Khan, M-Tech (Transportation Engg.), Deptt. of civil Engg. IIT Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India for submitting this research paper to us. We hope this will be of great use to many civil engineering students around the world.

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