Development – Term Paper

Automobile Dependency in Port Louis

Congestion in the city of Port Louis is mainly contributed by the many vehicles that get in and out through the busy traffic routes. When traffic jams occur in the city, it hinders movement of people and commodities. Immediate negative impacts of this are as a result of air pollution from waste gas emissions from car exhaust systems and noise pollution from tooting vehicles. The waste of time and delay of transport stalls the economy.

Urbanization raises per capita incomes, and richer people consume more fossil fuels, urban growth, and Green House Gas emissions are therefore directly linked. There is no global price on carbon, polluters mainly vehicle owners face little incentive to economize on emissions. There are other many other damaging effects of car dependence on cities that manifest over an extended period. For instance, the carbon footprint that increases tremendously over a few decades could result in respiratory health complications in city dwellers. The rise of stress levels among city dwellers has also been linked to automobile dependence because of the frustration caused by the difficulty to move.

Recommendations for Reducing Automobile Dependence

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Car dependence can be addressed through better infrastructure. This entails widening roads to accommodate more vehicles and supplementing road networks with fast speed trains and rail systems. Vehicles on the road could also be reduced through an effective economic policy. For example, raising taxes on car importation in Mauritius and raising fees on car parking slots in Port Louis would ensure that fewer vehicles get into the country and even fewer get into the city.

The transport system is an aspect of spatial planning. The degree of accessibility of facilities is conditioned by distances and by either public transport connections, or the form of private transportation that is available. Congestion in the city of Port Louis would have to be reduced by constructing roads at the periphery of the CBD fed with crisscrossing footpaths and pedestrian walkways that could only accommodate people and two-wheel vehicles. The mode of walking is useful for short distances in densely populated areas as opposed to vehicles.

Urban Heat Island Effect in Port Louis

The rise in temperature that results from built environment in cities is known as Urban Heat Island Effect. Urban Heat Islands (UHI) occur due to artificial land cover. The surfaces of buildings, roads, and other concrete structures in urban areas absorb a lot of solar radiation. Heat is reserved during the day and released during the night. Due to this, cities like Port Louis experience relatively higher temperatures as compared to surrounding rural areas. Data of average monthly and daily temperatures is usually high, as illustrated by the charts below; 

                                                                     Daily mean UHI trend, Port Louis

                  Source: University of Mauritius Research Journal

The high-rise buildings in the city obstruct wind and trap heat in their corridors. The fall in UHI for days such as Thursdays is due to the reduced commercial activity in the afternoon in Port Louis. Less commotion means fewer objects and ample space for heat to escape. The highest UHI on a single day was observed at 5.8°C in winter. Temperatures are significantly higher at night. UHI of 1.9°C per month in Port Louis is observed, with the highest monthly average in August with a value of 3.4°C, and lowest in April with a value of 1.3°C.

              Source: University of Mauritius Research Journal