Sustainable Transport: A Comparison of Ecological Footprint and Travel Patterns in Three Cities in Vietnam, New Zealand and Finland

  • Tran Thuc Han
  • Brenda Vale
  • Robert ValeEmail author


There have been many debates on how to reduce the environmental impacts of travelling. Common suggestions are: increasing urban density, reducing travel distance to walkable and cyclable distances, using more public transport and so on. However, there is growing evidence which reveals that it is still unclear how urban form and density can be associated with travel distance. Hence, this article explores what forms the largest part of individual transport footprint in terms of domestic travel and the reasons why. Using ecological footprint measurement, this article will examine the environmental impact of domestic travel in three different cities: Hanoi in tropical Vietnam, Wellington in temperate New Zealand and Oulu in cold Finland. The argument is that the mode of travel is what should be the focus in order to reduce transport footprint, and high-density settlement is meaningless if travel still largely depends on the car. In the future of sustainability, people do not have to reduce travel distance within the city, but they do need to make smarter choices of travel.


Sustainable transport Ecological footprint Urban density Travel mode Travel distance 


  1. Business Oulu (2011) High quality of living [Online]. Available: Accessed Mar 2013
  2. Dravitzki V, Lester T, Walton D (2009) Social/recreational travel and its influence on transport’s greenhouse gas emissions [Online]. Australasian Transport Research Forum. Available: Accessed May 2013
  3. EVERYCULTURE (2006) Culture of Finland [Online]. Available: Accessed Dec 2012
  4. FIMTC (2011). Oulu region travel survey 2009 [Online]. Oulun kaupunki - City of Oulu Office. Available: Accessed Feb 2013
  5. Hanoi Urban Planning Institute (2009) Thuyết Minh Quy Hoạch Chung Xây Dựng Thủ đô Hà Nội đến năm 2030 và Tầm Nhìn đến năm 2050 (Master Plan for the Capital Hanoi to 2030 and Vision to 2050)Google Scholar
  6. IPENZ (undated) Wellington trolley buses, 1924–1932 and 1949–to date [Online]. Engineering Heritage New Zealand. Available: Accessed Mar 2013
  7. Jenks M, Burgess R (2000) Compact cities: sustainable urban forms for developing countries. Spon Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Kati K, Ylinampa J, Heikkinen J, Hivornen M (2010) The secret of winter cycling’s success in Oulu. Velo-city Global 2010. CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  9. Liikenennevirast, WSP Finland (2006) The National Travel Survey 2004–2005 [Online]. Finnish Transport Agency and WSP LT Consultants Ltd. Available: Accessed Mar 2013
  10. Liikenennevirasto, WSP Finland (2012) National Travel Survey 2010–2011. Finnish Transport Agency and WSP LT Consultants LtdGoogle Scholar
  11. Nguyen HTT (2011) Élements Pour Une Mobilite Quotidienne Compatible Avec Le Transport Durable Au Vietnam: Enjeux Et Perspectives D’un Report Modal Vers Les Transports Collectifs Et Les Transports Non Motorises, Le Cas De Hanoi (Factors for a Daily Mobility Compatible with Transport Sustainable in Vietnam: Challenges and Prospects for a Modal Shift Towards Public Transport and Non-Motorized Transports, The Case of Hanoi). Doctoral degree, National Institute of Applied Science, LyonGoogle Scholar
  12. NZMT (2013) Latest results – New Zealand Househols Travel Survey: Regional Travel Results [Online]. Available: Accessed Feb 2013
  13. OUKA (2013) Information about Oulu: population and area [Online]. Available: Accessed Jan 2013
  14. Rickwood P, Glazebrook G, Serle G (2008) Urban structure and energy: a review. Urban Policy Research 26(1):57–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Schipper L, Anh TL, Orn H (2008) Measuring the invisible: quantifying emissions reductions from transport solutions [Online]. World Resources Institute. Available: Accessed Dec 2011
  16. Tran HA, Schlyter A (2010) Gender and class in urban transport: the case of Xian and Hanoi. Environment and Urbanization 22:139–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Tran HT (2008) Asian cities and compact urban form: a study of Hanoi. Master of Sustainable Design, The University of AucklandGoogle Scholar
  18. Tran HT (2013) A study of Hanoi. In: Vale R, Vale B (eds) Living within a fair share ecological footprint. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  19. Tran HT (2014) Sustainable patterns of living based on an investigation of footprint in Hanoi-Vietnam, Wellington-New Zealand and Oulu-Finland. Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture, Victoria University of WellingtonGoogle Scholar
  20. Vale B, Vale R (2010) Is the high-density city the only options? In: Ng E (ed) Designing high-density cities for socila and environmental sustainability. Earthscan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  21. Wackernagel M, Monfreda C (2004) Ecological footprints and energy. In: Encyclopedia of energy, vol 2. Elsevier Academic Press, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  22. WCC (2005) Wellington City Profile and Policy StocktakeGoogle Scholar
  23. WCC (2010) Compact and connected [Online]. Available: Accessed Mar 2013
  24. WCC (2011) About Wellington: facts and figures [Online]. Available: Accessed Jan 2013
  25. WRC (2013) Walking [Online]. Available: Accessed Mar 2013

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, Faculty of TechnologyUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  2. 2.School of Architecture and DesignVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations