Logistics Paper on Transportation impact on vehicle emissions

Transportation impact on vehicle emissions


The issue of transportation and vehicle emissions presents a paradoxical argument. This is because transportation provides substantial economic benefits, but at the same time vehicle, transportation, which uses fossil fuel energy, has an impact on environmental systems through emissions. Vehicle transportation plays an essential role in increasing mobility demands from a logistical perspective. However, transportation activities are also associated with increasing levels of environmental pollution. The increase in logistical mobility in recent decades has resulted in the expansion of the role of vehicle transportation as a major source of emissions and their multiple impacts on the environment.

Impact of vehicle emissions

Direct impact

These are the immediate consequences of vehicle transportation activities on the environment where there is a clear relationship between the cause and effect. When logistical companies transport cargo from one destination to another they engage large trucks for successful transportation. The use of large vehicles is to enhance quantity of cargo transported over a long distance. Despite the benefits, these trucks also consume large amounts of fossil fuel energy, which are responsible for the emission of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (Fahimnia et al., 2015). An increase in the level of carbon dioxide has direct harmful consequences not only on the atmosphere but also on other environmental externalities such as plant, animal, and human health (Fahimnia et al., 2015).

Increased levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emission from the heavy duty trucks affect the environment considering that high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases the amount of heat retained on earth hence the effects of global warming. Existing studies indicate that vehicle emissions are the largest contributors of the contemporary environmental effects in the society.

Indirect impacts

The decision to use large trucks in the transportation of cargo from and to different destinations also has secondary and tertiary effects on the environmental systems. These consequences are often considered relatively life threatening compared to the direct impacts. Despite the impending threats, they also involve relationships that are often subject to misunderstanding and difficult to establish (Coyle et al, 2012). However, existing studies indicate that when heavy trucks are burning fossil fuel for their operationalization, there are often particulates produced from incomplete combustion of the fuel within the internal combustion engines. These particulates have an indirect link with the increase in cardiovascular and respiratory problems. This link is because of their contribution together with other factors contributing to such conditions (Macharis, 2014).

Cumulative impacts

Transportation activities through vehicles also have multiplicative consequences resulting from the emissions. The cumulative impact of these multiplicative consequences takes into account the plethora of effects from the indirect and direct environmental effects of the emissions, which are often unpredictable (Coyle et al, 2012). Climate change is an example of the cumulative impacts that can be derived from the direct and indirect effects of emissions. This is because climate change is a phenomenon whose formation is from complex use and consequences considering that there are several factors in which vehicle transportation plays an essential role (Fahimnia et al., 2015). According to existing studies, about 15% of carbon dioxide emissions are can be attributed to the transportation sector. This is an indication that the process of managing the causes and effect of climate change can be realized if the transportation sector develops effective systems in the management of vehicle emissions (Golińska, 2014).

Controversies in the link between transportation and vehicle emissions

The effects of vehicle emissions on the environment have resulted in controversy in the development of environmental policies that address the mitigation strategies of the environmental effect of emission from vehicle transportation. This is because the public, through the government, is responsible for subsidizing the transportation sector by constructing and maintaining the road infrastructure, which is often free to access (Coyle et al, 2012). In some cases, public incentives in transportation terminals, modes, and infrastructure can be in contradiction with the underlying environmental issues. This is because if the government is the owner and the regulator of transportation there are risks that the existing regulation on mitigation of vehicle emissions will not receive the most effective implementation and compliance. This might increase the economic gains of public and private logistic companies and businesses at the expense of environmental conservation (Macharis, 2014).

The overall cost arising from transportation activities such as damage to the environment are not fully addressed by the users. Insufficient consideration to the cost of transportation can provide reputable explanation on several environmental problems emanating from vehicle emissions. This is because there is a relatively complex hierarchy of cost, which ranges from the internal, which in most cases are operational, to compliance issues, which arise from inability to abide by the existing regulations (Coyle et al, 2012). Other costs within the hierarchy include the contingent costs and the external costs, which are often assumed by the society. For example when the external cost accounts for more than 25% of the overall estimate of the automobile cost, and the environmental cost are not included in the appraisal, then the society subsidizes the usage of the car (Golińska, 2014). This implies that the society is also responsible for subsidizing the cost accumulated from environmental pollution resulting from vehicle emissions. This issue is in need of due considering that within the logistic sector there is an increase in the number of heavy duty trucks used in the transportation of cargo to varieties of destinations (Macharis, 2014).

The link between the environment and transportation

The environment and transport have a multidimensional association. This type of relationship arise from the undemanding that there are new findings related to the emissions that may result in drastic changes in the formulation of environmental policies. These findings indicate that there are growing concerns of global environmental issues resulting from vehicle emissions. The epitome of these issues is in the growth in the level of concern between climate change and anthropogenic effects (Coyle et al, 2012). In the contemporary society, transportation has become one of the major pillars of the concept of environmental sustainability, which is increasingly becoming a major area of focus for logistical activities. This is based on the realization that for effective management of the issue of vehicle emissions it would be effective to introduce green supply management practices. The process of implementing these developments requires an elaborate understanding of the reciprocal influence between transportation infrastructure and the physical environment. Within the physical environment, the transportation sector must consider animal life, hydrology, geographical location, and topology among other factors (Golińska, 2014).

The environmental dimensions of transportation have a relationship with the activities, causes, outputs, and resulst of the transportation system. Through the establishment of an association between varieties of environmental dimensions, it will be possible to evaluate the extent to which vehicle emissions are related to the increase in cardiovascular and respiratory diseases (Coyle et al, 2012). Moreover, transportation is embedded on within environmental cycles such as the carbon cycle. This cycle describes the flow of carbon from one elements of the biosphere to another, its accumulation, whether permanent or temporary and its passage (Macharis, 2014). This leads to an understanding that the establishment of environmental policies targeting transportation must consider the level of contribution and the scale of impact to ensure they address bot the intended and unintended consequences of vehicle emissions. The traffic levels, network, and the modes of transportation define transportation structure. These factors provide an understanding of the environmental impact of transportation considering that transportation networks influence the spatial distribution of vehicle emissions, while traffic levels focus on the intensity and modes address the nature of emissions. Addressing these factors contributes to improvements in the process of developing policies and mitigation strategies (Golińska, 2014).

The increase in logistical mobility in recent decades has resulted in the expansion of the role of vehicle transportation as a major source of emissions and their multiple impacts on the environment. Vehicle transportation plays an essential role in increasing mobility demands from but they are are also associated with increasing levels of environmental pollution. It is through strategies such as the use of green and renewable energy that the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of these emissions can be addressed to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of transportation not only to the economic sector but also on the ecosystem. The process of implementing these developments requires an elaborate understanding of the reciprocal influence between transportation infrastructure and the physical environment.




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