Rising to the Challenge

This report by Claire Haigh examines what is needed to decarbonise our transport system.

The climate crisis is already hitting worst case scenario levels that if left unchecked will lead to the collapse of entire ecosystems. Our thinking needs to change if we are to rise to the scale of the challenge.

Transport is the fastest growing source of global greenhouse gas emissions and the biggest emitting sector of the UK economy.  If we’re serious about achieving net zero, every aspect of how we plan for transport will need to change.  This will require new thinking, creative solutions and systemic change.

Greener Transport Solutions has been assembling thought leadership on how to decarbonise the sector.  Five key themes have emerged:

  1. The decarbonisation of transport cannot occur without changes to the wider economy.
  2. Technical solutions will be insufficient, we also need behaviour change.
  3. We must ensure that fares and taxes encourage people to make lower carbon travel choices
  4. We must ensure that access to essential services, whether by transport or digital means, is available for all.
  5. More devolution deals would drive faster delivery of UK wide net zero targets.

A year ago, the Department for Transport (DfT) set out a vision that acknowledged the need for us to use our cars less.  This new emphasis by Government is welcome, but if the DfT’s forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan is to succeed it will need to recognise that the decarbonisation of transport must be planned in the context of the wider economy and across all key enablers of economic activity.