How can we integrate urban biodiversity into our transportation systems?

  • Pierre Darmet

    Pierre Darmet

    Director of Marketing, Communication, and Business Development at Les Jardins de Gally

20 February 2024

Today, we are not just dealing with biodiversity loss; we are witnessing a true collapse.

To limit the impact of mobility on biodiversity, we must first and foremost work with what we’ve already got. As opposed to building new infrastructure, working with available resources is the most effective approach to tackle the primary forces causing biodiversity to collapse.

These pressing issues include environmental fragmentation, i.e. land-use change. From an ecological perspective, ecosystem size plays a crucial role in maintaining a habitat. The more a natural ecosystem is artificially fragmented, the less large and small species can move around. In France, this fragmentation translates into the multiplication of railways and roads. As a result, the introduction of new motorway projects can spark environmental concerns. This is the case of the controversial A69 Toulouse-Castres freeway project, which involves the felling of 200-year-old plane trees. To prevent this kind of tension, we need to work with what we’ve already got, without creating new road infrastructure or even widening existing ones.

Secondly, we need to improve our measurement of grey biodiversity, which encompasses the combined impact of various activities on natural ecosystems. When it comes to automobile fleet electrification, our strategy shouldn’t merely move pollution elsewhere. Rather than damaging ecosystems elsewhere, we need to focus on solutions that extend the lifespan of equipment or convert thermal cars into electric vehicles.

Last but not least, transport infrastructure renovation projects must integrate biodiversity policies which protect water, soil and vegetation. The emergence of pedestrian, bus and bike lanes must systematically incorporate vegetation. Through the rise of artificial intelligence and car-sharing, we can optimize the number of vehicles on the roads to transform temporary green roads into permanent ones. These are the first steps needed to support the sustainable transformation of mobility.