Thursday, August 6, 2009

The pedestrian's influence on greenhouse gas emissions

Discussing greenhouse gas emissions its clear in most discussions that the technology producing them is the problem. And in principle this is true of course. But as said in an earlier blog post, the driver has a lot of influence on the amount of greenhouse gas emitted.
But there are other influencers too, for example the pedestrian. In Switzerland we have a law that a pedestrian on a crosswalk has the right of way and can walk over, while the car has to break and wait. This law was established to give the pedestrian more protection and make his life less miserable. But of course if misused it's creating a lot of extra breaking and acceleration and therefore additional greenhouse gas emissions. Take two scenarios. In the first one there's a compound queue of cars going through a city. A passenger needs to go from one side of the road to the other. Thanks to the law he can stop the queue and walk over. Fair enough. In the second scenario only two cars are driving up the hill. A pedestrian comes to this same street and crosses it immediately without letting the two cars pass. With this both cars have to fully break to 0 and thereafter accelerate again, a total waste of energy, besides some extra noise. In this second scenario the pedestrian could have prevented quite some greenhouse gas emissions. But sadly enough, many people don't think that far, they just take the right given by the law. There are even people out there having fun doing so, as I could read in a column of a local newspaper.
So, here's the conclusion. Pedestrians can help saving the planet by letting pass a car once in a while. Thank you.