Transport technologies

One of the greatest consumers of energy is transport, and personal transportation accounts for a big part of our fossil-fuel consumption.

Transport is not just about where you travel, it is also a system of moving commodities around the globe; and our management of supply and demand to the economy is reducing the Earth's capacity to repair the damage to the forests and the pollution of seas. Contrary to the trends in most other sectors, greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing, and are predicted to grow further in the coming years.

There is no simple solution to the challenge of achieving significant CO reductions in transport, however it is clear that a large range of efficient and effective reduction measures will have to be taken. Alternative appropriate energy transport such as electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles could play a significant role in the move towards sustainable transport, however electric/hybrid cars are expensive to buy and there is the obvious issue about the carbon footprint of investing in a new car as opposed to a used one.

One of the main aims of good permaculture design is to redesign our homes and community so that we have all our resources to hand, and without the need to travel to access them. In the short term, reducing the external cost of transport (e.g. land take for roads, noise pollution, global warming, road accidents and policing) can be addressed by saving energy (e.g using car alternatives such as switching to public transport, cycling and walking), reducing our purchasing power and transport energy consumption.

In this category...

Animal powered

Throughout the world cattle, buffalo, horses, mules and camels continue to be used by farmers in all aspects of agriculture e.g. ploughing, planting, and water and produce transportation.


The human body is one source of energy that should not be overlooked, and bicycles are the most energy efficient way to travel.


Biofuels are any kind of fuel made from living things, or from the waste they produce and include: wood (chippings and straw), pellets or liquids made from wood, biogas (methane) from animal excrement and ethanol and diesel, or other liquid fuels


Biological transport remains the ideal way to reduce our consumption of energy, however it is not possible for everyone to use this mode of transport.