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Polish scientists explore trams as biodiversity booster

19.05.2024 12:00
In an intriguing international research collaboration, scientists from Poland, Germany and Brazil have been investigating an unexpected environmental hero: trams.
A tram in the south-western city of Wrocław, March, 2024.
A tram in the south-western city of Wrocław, March, 2024.Photo: PAP/Maciej Kulczyński

Their findings, recently published in Scientific Reports, reveal that trams might be more than just a convenient mode of transport—they could also play a crucial role in enhancing urban biodiversity.

The research highlights the exciting possibility of trams becoming key elements of sustainable urban development.

The team reviewed global data and discovered that tram infrastructure significantly impacts local ecosystems, a topic surprisingly underexplored in the broader public transport debates.

"We were astonished to see so few studies on the interaction between trams and wildlife compared to other transport methods," a leading author of the study, Prof. Piotr Tryjanowski of the Poznań University of Life Sciences was quoted as saying by the scienceinpoland.pl website.

"This highlights the need for more detailed research in this area”, he argued.

According to Prof. Dawid Moroń of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kraków, the research suggests that trams could be part of a 'landscape sharing policy' within green urban planning. In his opinion, this approach not only enhances biodiversity but also improves residents' mental health.

"Managing tram stations and tracks with low vegetation can bring ecological and aesthetic benefits, especially in heavily urbanized areas," Moroń explained.

As tram systems gain popularity worldwide, the potential environmental benefits of eco-friendly practices for trams should be rigorously tested and implemented.

Tryjanowski stressed the need to evaluate the non-market benefits of green tramways for sustainable urban decision-making.

Some cities in Europe are considering battery-powered trams to avoid disrupting picturesque locations such as monuments or parks.

Battery-powered and hydrogen fuel cell trams promise to reduce the ecological footprint of trams.

With proper management, trams could harmoniously blend transport needs with nature protection, enhancing the quality of urban life for both humans and wildlife, according to scienceinpoland.pl.


Source: scienceinpoland.pl