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Environment & Climate Change

Efficient and effective transportation systems are essential to economic and social development and play a crucial role in the quality of our lives. It connects us with goods, services, and each other. Through technological advancements, people can travel further and faster than before. Today, it's impossible to imagine life without mobility through complex transport systems. However, the transport sector affects the environment in a multitude of ways, with the most detrimental effect being its contribution to climate change.

The biggest contributor to climate change is the rise in greenhouse gas emissions which trap heat within the Earth’s atmosphere and cause a global increase in temperature. As emissions continue to rise, it is projected that the global temperature will increase by 3.4°C. There is an international effort to keep the global temperature increase below 2°C, as to avoid the grave environmental repercussions.

The transport sector specifically contributes to climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases from the burning of fuel. Transport is currently responsible for 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 27% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Finding effective solutions to reduce the transport sector’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions will significantly reduce the overall impact of climate change.

The transport sector contributes to other environmental issues as well, such as soil depletion, biodiversity loss, land use, increase in noise levels, acidification, habitat loss, and water pollution.

The two-fold challenge we are all confronted with is how to enhance mobility while simultaneously mitigating climate change and preserving the environment and the quality of life.

Though traditionally suffering from a reputation of  an “unsustainable industry,” the road sector is extremely proactive and advanced in the research, development and implementation of new environmentally friendly technologies and sustainable solutions. Rather than promoting an ideological approach to environmental mitigation regardless of cost and outcome, increasingly affordable solutions are being sought to bring real improvements in environmental performance. This is the approach that the road sector is effectively implementing.

As we move into the future, better roads must be planned, designed, built and operated by practitioners who are fully aware of the impact of their activities and of the possibilities for reducing that impact. The road infrastructure sector is taking on its responsibility.

This section of the gTKP website is designed to facilitate knowledge sharing in order to address these issues. It provides a focal point for accessing detailed knowledge (policies, issues and actions) and information (key resources, organizations and expertise) grouped within the following topic areas.

This page is managed by the gTKP Environment & Climate Change Theme Champion, Susanna Zammataro (info@irfnet.ch).