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Sustainable Transport Transitions

As urban environments either push or pull us into sustainable modes of transport, Jessé Hamman, Sustainable Building Consultant at Solid Green, shares her personal behavioural shift from single-occupant vehicle use to carpooling, commuting and cycling.


My initial mind-shift occurred when I joined Solid Green in 2014, driving a total of 20km daily by single-occupant vehicle (SOV). I soon realised that I didn’t ‘have’ to commute daily in an unsustainable way just because I lived in a car-centered city. In 2015, I found a well-priced apartment within 3km of the office and started to Uber on the company account with my colleague Annelide Sherratt. Granted, the shift from independent commute to shared schedules was challenging but we made it work.

By 2016, my partner and I were using Uber daily and sharing one vehicle, which we used only on weekends. The criticism from friends and family was interesting to hear as vehicles in South Africa represent a symbol of wealth and achievement.

I concluded my transition to sustainable carbon-free commuting by renting my first bicycle in Rotterdam in October 2018. Now I commute a total of 6km daily to the University of Rotterdam where I am doing my Masters in Urban Planning and Sustainability – outdoors in all types of weather conditions. When there is inclement weather, trams, trains and Ubers are available. However, these options usually extend the commute time.

The behavioural shift for me has taken over 4 years, and I have found that the type of urban environment does play a role in facilitating the process. Be that as it may, there are always opportunities to transition towards more sustainable modes of commute. Perhaps a thought to consider when next you jump in your Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) for a quick drive down the road.

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