Toronto - A City Implementing Energy Conservation
One of the largest planning challenges for most large cities during the next ten years will be the development of their energy efficient infrastructures. Those cities that take this challenge on now will find that their economic infrastructures are adapted to both the future higher costs for energy and the new emissions targets that must be put in place to reverse the course of global warming.
Its very easy to measure whether your city is ready for the challenges of higher energy costs and contributing to the global reduction of emissions by the degree of public transit installed. Energy conservation requires efficient high quality public transportation systems, yet there are some cities where these are virtually nonexistent and people are totally dependent on individual cars for transport. This process of moving people around may work now, but the rising cost of energy will cause this process to become absolutely unsupportable and make the city's infrastructure globally uncompetitive.
Trams, buses, local train infrastructures, and high speed inter-city trains are common in many energy efficient cities and this lowers operating costs for their surrounding businesses by enabling employee compensation that is linked to the availability of public transit. If this infrastructure was not in place for these cities they would need to raise average compensation just to pay for the inefficiency of the transportation network.
Because of rising energy costs, moving large cities over to energy efficient transportation infrastructures is absolutely necessary to maintain the quality of life and the global competitiveness of the city for its inhabitants. Some very large cities have a huge amount of work to do in planning their total transportation networks towards reduced energy use. Some of the most inefficient cities could reduce their enegy utilisation for transport by as much as 75% if they put in place high quality public transit infrastructures over the next ten to fifteen years. Starting with a pedestrian only shopping street, reducing the number of public parking lots, and installing high quality major volume public transit links (railways), a city gradually begins to change to a more energy efficient approach and the world benefits from reduced emissions.