There are four broad approaches to reducing Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions from the transport sector. These are:
1. Integration of land use and transport planning, establishing virtual mobility alternatives using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and better traffic management and route designs using Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). The following measures help to reduce travel demand both by way of the number of trips and trip lengths:
- Integration of land use and transport planning helps to develop high-density cities where shops, businesses, schools and services are close to residential facilities.
- Virtual mobility alternatives involve the use of ICT to transact business to substitute for motorised trips. In the city of Bangalore in India, citizens can pay municipal and utility bills by computer from home or local kiosks. ICT can also facilitate home working for part of the week.
- ITS meanwhile has been used in Hong Kong to enable commuters to plan their trips so that unnecessary journeys and congested routes are avoided.
2. Improving vehicle and fuel technologies, setting fuel economy standards and introducing an efficient inspection and maintenance regime to improve the performance of in-use vehicles. These measures help to reduce fuel consumption by increasing the distance traveled both of freight and passengers per unit of fuel.
3. Supporting a shift to less energy intensive modes of transport. Shifting from motorized road transport to cycles, rail and waterways for freight, increasing the share of public transport and non motorised transport for passengers (for example, through Mass Rapid Transport systems and dedicated cycle paths ), and restraining the ownership and usage of vehicles (for example through road pricing and parking charges) all contribute to reducing fuel consumption and GHG emissions.
Cities like Curitiba and Bogota in Columbia are well known for increasing use of public transport through Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and restricting use of vehicles. This has freed up road space for pedestrians, cycles and public parks.
4. Clean and technologies: Introducing alternative fuels with lower carbon density such as biofuels, and technology such as electric, hybrid and hydrogen fueled vehicles.
These various measures will not only help to reduce GHG emissions but will also achieve co-benefits in terms of better air quality, savings in travel time, road safety and energy security. The choice of policy options will, no doubt, vary across countries and regions and be influenced by the level of economic development, the extent of urbanisation, culture and geography.
Various studies have been carried out by research institutions like TERI and international agencies like the ADB and IEA to assess the impact of each policy option, on energy consumption and GHG emissions using different country examples,. These studies have established that the each option has the potential to bring about a reduction in energy consumption and GHG emissions. Taken together they can go a long way to mitigate climate change.
The adoption and implementation of these various options call for an appropriate policy and regulatory framework and institutional arrangements to bring about a holistic an integrated approach to transport planning and management. They also call for capacities, resources and political will which may not be readily available in all developing countries.
- National Energy Map for India:Technology Vision 2030 Summary for policy-makers. TERI Press
- Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Considerations for On-road Transport in Asia ADB/DFID, 2006
- China and India Insights World Energy Outlook 2007, IEA
- euroFOT- testing intelligent vehicles across European roads Video presentation, euroFOT, 2009