Transportation technology is no exception: the single largest element responsible for the high-output power requirements of internal combustion engines had always been the need to overcome friction. For the same reason, all mechanical means of producing energy for transportation systems also require copious amounts of lubrication, adding another major source of environmental impact from petroleum waste products (Rodrigue, 2010).
The physical mechanics of thermal friction also contributes greatly to the pollution of the environment by virtue of the minute rubber particles from millions of truck and automobile tires continuously released into the atmosphere. In many cases, the materials used to manufacture rubber tires are highly toxic in the form of its absorption in soil and water (Rodrigue, 2010). More importantly, the gaseous release of carbon emissions from internal combustion engines contributes tremendously to acid rain and may account for as much as one-quarter of all nitrogen fallout on bodies of water. Naturally, this unnatural chemical change introduced to the ecosystem accounts for numerous types of disruption to delicate habitats of indigenous biological organisms (Rodrigue, 2010).
Over time, the continuous exposure of road surfaces and infrastructure to acid rain and the constant mechanical loading and unloading of many tons of commercial traffic combines to erode the physical and structural integrity of the roads and infrastructure supports themselves (Rodrigue, 2010).
Roads and infrastructure left in states of disrepair pose safety risks to all vehicles using those roads and, in many cases, to the surrounding communities as well. Ironically, even the repairs necessary to prevent those potential negative consequences are associated with their own independent potential risks to the environment. Specifically, the very construction processes necessary to repair roads and infrastructure utilize additional commercial transportation and also chemical and other byproducts of those construction processes that become additional sources of pollution and artificial changes to the ecosystem that threaten the environment (Rodrigue, 2010).
In that regard, the most realistic solutions include developing alternate forms of energy production (such as electrical power) for transportation systems and the economization of loading to minimize inefficiency and waste in commercial transportation. Finally, the prompt, continuous, and timely repair of roads and infrastructure to protect them as much as possible from long-term damage would avoid much of the.