Authored by Helena Moll Bown, green guide and bachelor’s student in geography and geoinformatics
In Denmark, we have almost 75,000 km of road where more than 1300 km are highway. This is 12.8 m road per person! And the network is expanding. The Danish Energy Government Agency estimates a 21% growth in traffic volume by 2030 where 9% will come from infrastructure investments.
These investments are part of the new Danish infrastructure plan “Infrastructure Plan 2035” that was backed up by a large part of the Danish parliament last summer. Infrastructure plan 2035 is simultaneously claimed to be CO2-neutral “in itself”. This is claimed even while a large part of the investments are for car infrastructure. So how does this work? Among other things, it has required the hiding of CO2-emission calculations from the parliament and the public and creative cataloguing of CO2-emissions in the Danish CO2-budget.
Downsides of Road Network Expansion
There are several downsides to promoting an expansion of the already existing road network – especially highways. Expansion makes it way easier for people to choose the car. This leads directly to increased use of fossil fuel driven transportation. The electric car is no solution to this due to production costs that remain resource intensive. The construction of roads themselves also require both resources and that land that could have been spent on nature or people. Additionally, the construction of highways is associated with a range of human well-being impacts including noise pollution, particle emissions and loss of local shops and community-based activities.
There is an Alternative…
On the contrary the more we invest in public transportation and infrastructure for bicycles, the more equally mobility can be spread. Investing in bicycle infrastructure also has the extra bonus of promoting health since movement is good for both our physical and psychological well-being. So why are we still investing in a mode of mobility that is bad for people and planet? This can seem quite puzzling. It has a lot to do with what positive effects we expect from reduction in transportation time. How does we act on this fact?
You can be part of putting pressure for change on those institutions who promote black modes of transportation. So many powerful groups are gathering to resist their local expansion of polluting infrastructure projects. You can be part of seeing this movement of resistance grow. You can explore your own ways of movement and choose to use public transportation and your bike.
Come See for Yourself!
With Green Bike Tours we are exploring with one of the most green and healthy modes of transportation, while also learning about how our cities can promote sustainable transport. To explore more about why riding a bike is so much better for you, mankind and the rest of our planets living species join us for a tour. Check out our public tour at https://greenbiketours.org/copenhagen_public/ or book a private tour at https://greenbiketours.org/copenhagen-private-tours/. We look forward to seeing you!