The top-down approach has failed to drive significant change to reach carbon neutrality.
Existing international agreements haven’t delivered material change or enforced emission reduction rates for different economies.
The now replaced Kyoto Protocol had many compliance challenges from the world’s leading emitters of GHG – China and the US.
The varying ‘price’, nature and scale of carbon reductions across countries undermines the motivation to comply with targets, posing a challenge for ongoing consistent strategy at international policy level.
If the appropriate transport policy tools are implemented in the UK, we are more likely to see positive behavioural change and transformed attitudes, but a decisive action plan is required at national government level.
1. Road User Charging
A re-think on road user charging is needed to reflect imperative targets to deliver a carbon-neutral transport sector. The powerful, though unpopular, tool, discourages long distance car-based travel.
2. Transport Appraisal
Department for Transport Appraisal Guidance at its current application does not offer a well-defined carbon narrative for scheme appraisal.
It is a necessity in a devolved input to demand future scenarios testing.
3. Demand Reduction Strategies
Travel Demand Reduction must become a primary vector. Without significant cuts in car kilometres travelled, a net zero future isn’t realistic or deliverable.
However, the importance of carbon considerate local policies cannot be overrated.
4. Local Spatial Planning
To achieve a materialistic cut in travel demand, it is imperative to ensure a sufficient complementary land use mix, which would enable activities — working, shopping, education — to be accessible within a sustainable geographical extent.
5. Development Planning
Impacts of new developments should be considered far beyond the red line application boundary.
It is crucial to understand how well the emergence of the proposed development serves the aspiration for sustainable travel. Does it complement the existing land use? Which activities does it enable?
6. Sustainable transport links
Priority of sustainable travel modes and connectivity of their networks needs to be clearly articulated in the local investment allocation.
Read the full article on the worth of a net zero carbon economy from the Smart Transport Journal