The Environmental Relationships of Transportation Systems


  • Large scale diffusion of pollutants.
  • High growth on a short term basis of the concentration of pollutants because of local conditions (e.g. smog).
  • Photochemical reactions caused by ultraviolet rays, notably over ozone, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
  • Climatic changes.
  • Acid rain.
  • Synergetic and cumulative effects when pollutants are combined (e.g. smog and greenhouse gases).
  • Diffusion of pollutants in a dissolved or colloidal state.
  • Acidification and loss of neutralizing potential of ground and underground water.
  • Drops of pH following snow melting (aquatic organism are particularly vulnerable).
  • Growth in the solubility of several metals because of acidification.
  • Additions of organic compounds, aluminum, manganese, calcium, magnesium and potassium by runoffs.
  • Contamination of ground and underground water by nitrates.
  • Modifications of hydrological systems by the construction and maintenance of infrastructure.
  • Acid depositions.
  • Liberation of toxic metallic ions (aluminum, cadmium, etc.) through acidification.
  • Loss of nutrients, notably calcium and magnesium.
  • Inhibition of the mineralization of nitrogen.
  • Modifications in the compositions and the depth of decomposition gradient.
  • Inhibition of decomposition.
  • Loss of the soil flora and fauna.
  • Fixation by plants of heavy metals (e.g. lead) and contamination.
  • Removal and consumption of land.
  • Extraction of raw materials like mineral products and energy.
    • Alteration of ecosystems in unforeseeable ways.
    • Disappearance of vulnerable species and proliferation of tolerant ones.
    • Reduction of bacterial treatment of organic matter by nitrification.
    • Reduction of available nutrients to aquatic species.
    • Reproductive impediments.
    • Damages over the vegetation modifying: hydric cycles, the level of underground water resources, soil erosion, air purification capacity of the ecosphere, food sources (agriculture) and entertainment and tourism potential.
    • Reduction of the vital space.
    • Reduction of the genetic potential of species.
    • Reduction of the food supply and alteration of the food chain.
    • Consumption of resources.
    • Odors.
    • Noise.
    • Cardiovascular and respiratory problems.
    • Susceptibility to infection.
    • Drops in life expectancy.
    • Injuries, incapacity, hospitalization, death.
    • Damage to structures: loss of useful life. (amortization) loss of property values, corrosion of metal structures (bronze, steel, etc.) destruction of historical and cultural monuments.

There are number of relationships between the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the lithosphere and the ecosphere and some noted impacts.