Transport policy between economy and ecology

Hermann Knoflacher, Veli Himanen

Research output: Book/ReportReport


Activity patterns within the built-up environment are sustained by the transport system. Both transport system and built-up environment are in their turn sustained by the natural environment. The mass consumption system, in which we live is all the time diminishing the capacity of the natural environment to sustain us. The negative development can already be seen across the Europe. In this paper the transport system is analysed according to the system-keeping principles of evolution, which are variety, closed circles (recycling), maximum efficiency in using energy and resources, self-regulation, and regionalisation. When comparing the modem transport system with the five system-keeping principles of the ecosystem, we can observe an increasing discrepancy between the rules with which life goes about solving problems and the technical and economic solutions used in the transport system. Two factors can be derived from this analysis as the main causes for the discrepancy: The quantity and the speed of traffic. Both factors are developing in a synergetic process which takes no account of the ecosystem. At least in the short run, there are not enough feedbacks for the self-regulation of the transport system to keep the development within the bounds of the environment needed for the dignity of human life. The effortless and unbridled use of energy in Me existing transport system indicates that no effective control system is functioning. An open question is whether our insight is good enough and our ability to learn is faster than the damaging process brought on by uncontrolled development?
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)951-38-3852-8
Publication statusPublished - 1991
MoE publication typeNot Eligible

Publication series

SeriesValtion teknillinen tutkimuskeskus. Tiedotteita


  • transportation
  • management
  • traffic
  • vehicular traffic
  • travel
  • policies
  • ecology
  • life cycles
  • environments
  • builtup areas
  • economic analysis
  • control
  • energy consumption
  • velocity
  • quantitative analysis
  • regulation


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