Sustainable Transport: Consequences of a 80-90'A Emlsslon Reduction

Sustainable Transport: Consequences of a 80-90'A Emlsslon Reduction


GEURS K T and WEE B van, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, The Netherlands


What will the transport system look like if transport emissions are reduced by 80%- 90% by 2030? What are the policy instruments available and when will they have to be implemented to realise these sharp emission reductions? Eight countries, Germany, Swit


What will the transport system look like if transport emissions are reduced by 80%- 90% by 2030? What are the policy instruments available and when will they have to be implemented to realise these sharp emission reductions? Eight countries, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Norway, Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands, have answered these questions in six pilot studies conducted in Phases 2 and 3 of the four- phase OECD project "Environmentally Sustainable Transport" (EST).

This paper will summarise the results for the Netherlands pilot study, carried out by the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) by order of the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (see also Van Wee et al., 1996; Geurs and Van Wee, in prep.). This pilot study differed from existing sustainable transport scenario studies for four reasons: i.e. (i) very sharp emission reductions are assumed, (ii) not only "forecasting" but also "backcasting" scenarios are constructed, (iii) instrument packages and implementation time paths are described which - if carried out - would result in the necessary technological and behavionral changes to realise environmentally sustainable transport, and (iv) the social and economic impact of sustainable transport is assessed. Reasons under (i) and (ii) are described below.

The OECD concluded during the project preceding Phase 1 that for transportation to be sustainable, transportation should not result in exceedances of generally accepted international objectives for environmental quality, it should not reduce the integrity of ecosystems, and it should not contribute to potentially adverse global phenomena such as climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion. There are international guidelines (WHO, IPPC, UNECE, etc.) for all of these ecological targets. The OECD has defined EST as: transportation that does not endanger public health or ecosystems and meets needs for access consistent with (a) use of renewable sources below their rates of regeneration, and (b) use of non-renewable resources at below the rates of development of renewable substitutes (OECD, 1996). The current situation is that critical levels and loads are typically exceeded by at least a factor of 2 to 5; therefore improvements of 50% to 90% will be needed to achieve acceptable risk levels. During Phase 2, the following quantitative criteria for EST were derived from the ecological targets: 50% reduction in COz emissions globally and 80% for OECD countries between 1990 and 2030 if stabitisation of CO2 emissions is to be achieved; 90% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and particulate matter (PMI0) emissions between 1990 and 2030 if acceptable health risk levels in urban areas are to be achieved 2.

The EST study comprises "forecasting" as well as "backcasting" scenarios 3. Scenario studies in the Netherlands are usually forecasting studies. For example, the recently published National Environmental OutIook 4 (RIVM, 1997) contains likely future developments in the transport sector (and others) for the 1995-2020 period. In contrast to forecasting, backcasting starts with a desirable future situation, usually described by a set of goals or targets established by assumed events between the current and future situations. Therefore backcasting is capable of highlighting discrepancies between the current and desirable future, and incorporating large and even disruptive changes. Two examples from the Netherlands are the so-called trend-breach scenarios for passenger transport (Peeters, 1988) and freight transport (Peeters, 1993). For this study, backcasting meant that first, criteria were set (see above), and second, measures were assumed to meet the (environmental) criteria, tn this study, one "forecasting" business-as-usual scenario and three "backcasting" scenarios were constructed: (i) a "high-technology" scenario containing only technological changes, (ii) a "capacity- constraint" scenario containing only mobility changes and (iii) a "combination" scenario, combining technological and mobility changes. This paper describes the results from the business-as-usual scenario (BAU) and the "combination" scenario, which in this paper is simply referred to as the environmentally sustainable transport scenario (EST).

It must be emphasised that the scenarios are seen as examples which "paint pictures" of what transportation might be like in 2030 if stringent environmental criteria are applied. The effects of developments and measures represent no more than rough indications to illustrate the scenarios. The instrument package and implementation time path do not offer a blueprint for sustainable transport; instead they should be taken as an illustration of a possible and plausible path towards a more sustainable transport system.

Section 2 describes the main results of the business-as-usual scenario, Section 3 the EST scenario. The scenario descriptions are focused on passenger and freight transport; see for other vehicle categories Van Wee et aL (1996). Section 4 describes an instrument package and a possible instrument implementation time path for the EST scenario, while Section 5 outlines the social and economic impact assessment. Section 6 presents the conclusions of the Netherlands' pilot study, followed by further research described in Section 7.


Association for European Transport