Unsustainability - Transport Problem or Lifestyle Problem?



Unsustainability - Transport Problem or Lifestyle Problem?

Authors

The gloomy news from Rio, reinforced by the more scientific evidence of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) seems to be that the world's consumption of scarce resources (notably fuel and land) and its emission of pollutants (notably car

Description

Transport and notably the car have been clearly and heavily implicated in these matters. It is estimated that at a global level, transport contributes about 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions. A policy concentrating on transport alone is therefore not

Abstract

Transport and notably the car have been clearly and heavily implicated in these matters. It is estimated that at a global level, transport contributes about 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions. A policy concentrating on transport alone is therefore not enough to guarantee greater sustainability but transport is nevertheless an important element of a global strategy and Governments have taken the transport issues seriously, issuing advice about sustainable development. Politicians have added a further reason for developed countries to take a lead, namely that they will otherwise lack the moral authority to persuade developing countries of the much greater sacrifices that they will have to make. Within the UK the problem has also been handed down to local authorities with exhortations to make their transport plans "sustainable".

This paper briefly reviews the nature of unsustainability in transport and raises doubts as to whether applying the conventional wisdom of improved facilities for cycling and walking, better public transport and tougher parking controls and integrated trzn~port and land use planning will do more than scratch the surface of the problem. The paper then reviews what it sees as two, more promising lines of policy:

* technical solutions to make the car clean and independent of petroleum fuels

* changes in lifestyles to reduce the consumption of travel by car.

The paper concludes that to seriously pursue either of these lines of policy requires the application of the economic policy instruments strongly endorsed in "Transport the Way Forward", but not yet introduced.

Publisher

Association for European Transport