Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit
Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit

Driving Change: Transit is Key to a Greener Future

Burlington Pier
Photo: Satyakam Khadilkar/Unsplash
by Zara Paris

In an era marked by the growing urgency to address climate change coupled with rapid urbanization, efficient and accessible public transit is a crucial player in fostering sustainability.

Burlington is one of many cities in the region – and in the world – experiencing rapid growth, and the need for efficient transportation solutions is becoming more evident than ever.

The transportation sector is responsible for a quarter of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions, as personal vehicles continue to be the primary mode of transportation in the country. Public transit systems play a pivotal role in mitigating the environmental impact of transportation. By offering a collective and shared mode of transportation, public transit reduces the number of individual vehicles on the road, leading to a decline in overall emissions.

Public transit is inherently more energy-efficient than individual modes of transportation. A single bus or train carries a significant number of passengers, spreading the energy cost across a larger group. This efficiency is amplified when public transit vehicles are electric vehicles (EVs). Buses, trams, subways, and trains powered by cleaner energy sources contribute to lower carbon footprints, making public transit an environmentally responsible choice.

The rise of electric vehicles (EVs) is being touted as a solution to combating climate change, but EVs cannot replace public transit. While they are certainly better for the environment than gas vehicles, their production is unsustainable due to the rare minerals required for their batteries. Moreover, EVs don’t reduce our over-reliance on cars, and don’t require us to change our car-centric community design in favour of more sustainable transportation options. Rather than being seen as a solution, EVs should be used as a tool for making transit more sustainable.

As cities like Burlington grow, more efficient public transit systems can alleviate traffic congestion which not only contributes to increased fuel consumption and emissions, but also leads to wasted time and reduced air quality.

As we navigate the challenges of a rapidly changing climate, embracing and investing in public transit becomes not only a practical solution but a collective commitment to a more sustainable future.

BFAST is committed to advocating for better transit solutions in Burlington; for a more resilient city and planet.

Zara Paris is a member of the BFAST Steering Committee.

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