TRAVELLING SMOOTHLY FROM ‘A’ TO ‘B’ . . . WITH ZERO EMISSIONS

By 2050 polluting modes of transport are now a thing of the past, thanks first to the adoption of low-emission options and more latterly by 100% carbon-free alternatives. Transport is decarbonized by shifting to a more sustainable and diverse range of modes and vehicle technologies. The clean electrification of all light-duty vehicles and trains marked a real breakthrough, as did the development of zero-emission liquid fuels for planes, vessels and other long-distance transport.

Global society experiences higher levels of wellbeing and equality. The physical benefits of an uptake in walking, cycling and other forms of active mobility are very noticeable. So are the positive effects of having cleaner air, less noise and safer roads. The social gains from upgrades to transport infrastructure have begun to filter through strongly. Everyone says that traveling from “A” to “B” is considerably more efficient, reliable and affordable than before, which provides equal access to opportunities. Women report feeling safer when travelling on public transport thanks to new security measures.

One of the biggest changes is the seamless connectivity between different parts of the transport system. This makes switching between different transport modes infinitely easier. The assistive hand of digital technologies and advanced data management systems is particularly apparent here. These same tools have also radically increased the resilience of today’s transport systems, making them better prepared for extreme weather and other shock events.

None of this would have been possible without updating institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks so that policymakers can give maximum priority to sustainability issues. Likewise, reforms to out-dated financing and funding structures have caused capital investment in zero-carbon solutions to skyrocket.

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How to Take Action
  • Re-engineer approaches to urban planning and transit-oriented development to create inter-modal public transport systems that are convenient, affordable and accessible to all.
  • Develop and implement national, regional and local plans for sustainable transport and 100% zero-emission vehicle sales transition that are fully financed, easy to scale and collaborative by 2040.
  • Link financial support packages for airlines to the achievement of emissions reductions targets and the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels.
  • Phase out the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles and ensure that all light duty vehicles and heavy duty vehicles are 100% zero-carbon by 2035 and 2040 respectively in leading markets; all trains are electrified by 2040.
  • Reduce business travel, shift all vehicle fleets to electric, and set a target for zero-carbon freight (together with an agreed premium).
  • Invest in sustainable aviation fuels, increasing consumption to 10% of all aviation fuel by 2030 and 90% by 2040.
  • Develop an ambitious, output-driven strategy for public-private investment in capital-intensive transport infrastructure projects covering both the short and long-term.
  • Support the greater flow of investment capital into breakthrough research and development projects, such as synthetic fuels for aircraft, advanced batteries for road vehicles, and electrolysis for ships.
  • Provide differentiated interest rates based on the emission profiles of shipping vessels and link sectoral insurance premiums to demonstrated investment in climate resilience.
  • Back attempts to accelerate the development of advanced battery technology for heavy-duty vehicles as well as short-haul shipping and aviation.
  • Help determine which sustainable aviation fuel (i.e. hydrogenated esters and fatty acids, gasification, alcohol-to-jet fuels, and synfuels) has the highest potential and support its rapid commercialisation.
  • Advise and encourage large-scale demonstration projects for early-stage sustainable transport technologies, such as the use of green hydrogen in ocean shipping and other heavy-duty sectors.
  • Reduce private vehicle ownership and use, increase levels of active mobility, and switch to more sustainable modes of transport wherever possible (e.g. train travel rather than short-haul flights).
  • Respond enthusiastically to market incentives to travel more sustainably, such as the use of bike lanes and the purchase of an all-electric vehicle.
  • Pressure shipping companies and freight purchasers to commit to quantified targets for zero-carbon freight; call on airlines to adopt science-based emission reduction targets.