Transport is central to the lives of citizens across the world, yet the current patterns of transport, dictated mainly by fossil-fuel driven motor vehicles, generate a range of environmental, social and economic costs. It is estimated, for example, that transport is responsible for nearly a quarter of global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2
There is a growing consensus on the need for more sustainable patterns of transport activity but investment patterns are still heavily skewed towards supporting the “motorisation” model of development. The recent economic recession has led to various stimulus packages that focus (with notable exceptions) on preserving current industries and forms of transport such as car manufacturing and road building.
This chapter examines the role of transport in a green economy and makes a case for ensuring future investment in the sector is increasingly green. It highlights a strategy of avoiding or reducing trips, shifting to more environmentally-friendly modes of transport and improving the efficiency of all modes of transport. It explores the challenges and opportunities posed by shifting to a greener transport system and examines the various options for conditions that can enable actions and investments for the development
of sustainable transport1 . The analysis encompasses
all modes of freight and passenger transport, with an emphasis on land transport, and it takes into account the varying circumstances of developed and developing countries, regional differences and rural- urban disparities.
Given the pivotal role of transport in the global economy, much of the analysis of the potential for greening the sector is interwoven with other chapters, notably cities, energy, manufacturing and tourism. The chapter was compiled through extensive collaboration with experts from around the world, whose background papers are available in the accompanying Full Technical Report.
1. Green transport is hereby defined as one that supports environmental sustainability through e.g. the protection of the global climate, ecosystems, public health and natural resources. It also supports the other pillars of sustainable development, namely economic (affordable, fair and efficient transport that supports a sustainable competitive economy as well as balanced regional development and the creation of decent jobs) and social (e.g. allowing the basic access and development needs of individuals, companies and society to be met safely and in a manner consistent with human and ecosystem health, and promoting poverty reduction and equity within and between successive generations). This definition was developed through extensive discussions with transport experts including those at UN agencies and was based on a review of existing and well-acknowledged definitions such as European Conference of Ministers of Transport (2004).
Current transport Actions/Investments
Figure 1: Image of green transport as a goal, and actions and investments to achieve this goal 382