Investing in sustainable transport would also be cost-effective

Acting quickly now to make a shift to sustainable transport can be cheaper than sticking with existing infrastructure, in terms of investments.

At the World Summit of Transport Ministers in Leipzig, Germany, on 24 May, the OECD International Transport Forum released its ITF Transport Outlook 2023 report. The main message of this report was presented at the summit.

By the year 2050, all measures of decarbonization Implemented in land transport, it will have played an important role in reducing global CO2 emissions by 3%. The transport sector is far behind in reducing its emissions enough to prevent climate change. This is a matter of great concern and needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

Taking radical steps to decarbonize the transport sector could help reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80% over the next 25 years (compared to 2019). Rapid implementation is essential to achieving this ambitious goal.

Meeting the Paris Climate Agreement targets requires this drastic reduction in transport emissions, which would keep global temperatures “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“Achieving this high-ambition scenario requires a complementary policy mix that successfully avoids unnecessary transport activities, shifts more journeys from fuel-burning transport to carbon-free transport, and improves the overall efficiency of transport,” said the Secretary-General. of ITF Young Tae Kim, presenting the report.

“It will be absolutely essential to rapidly scale up cost-competitive technologies and fuels to transport people and goods with much, much less emissions. We can do all of that if we take more decisive action now.”

Moving towards sustainable transport requires a major investment

Making a quick switch to low-carbon or carbon-neutral transport requires a significant financial investment. Despite requiring less investment than current policies, ITF projections show that the core infrastructure required for the High Ambition scenario in this report would be around 5%.

“Freight transport will almost double over the next 25 years if we continue on the current path, and passenger transport will grow by 79%. Therefore, we will also need to invest heavily in this scenario to accommodate this additional demand, and for all we know, probably more than if we invested in a low-carbon future,” said Orla McCarthy, ITF Transport Outlook project lead. 2023.

These estimations take into account the capital investment expected for basic transport infrastructure, such as railways, roads and muelles, that are required to satisfy future demand. The report also includes estimates of the investments that are required to expand the network of electrical charge. This edition of the ITF Transport Outlook is unique in that it contains estimates of the capital investment requirements for both scenarios, which aids in the decision-making process.

This report outlines five crucial recommendations for policymakers to help them make informed decisions:

1. Governments need to plan ahead and develop sound strategies for future mobility and infrastructure. Rather than simply responding to forecasted demand, they should take an active “decide and deliver” approach to investment with the ultimate goal of achieving specific policy goals.

2. Promoting the shift to green transport is essential for a sustainable environment. To achieve this, governments must set clear and ambitious goals and provide the necessary financial support. In addition, investment in infrastructure is also vitally important to make the transition viable.

3. Implementing policies designed specifically for mode switching and demand management will be more successful. Reducing the distances traveled, the number of trips and promoting more sustainable transport options, such as public transport, are effective strategies to be followed in densely populated cities. To reduce the carbon footprint of long-distance travel, it is essential to transition to greener vehicles and cleaner fuels.

4. Municipalities should assess all potential benefits of proposed policies. Decarbonizing transport brings many benefits, such as better air quality and lower carbon emissions. The change to urban transport based on renewable energies could be very advantageous: it can make mobility more economical, help make services easily accessible, reduce traffic jams, free up space, potentially minimize setbacks and reduce energy levels. air contamination.

5. To accurately reflect negative externalities such as pollution, congestion and emissions associated with driving new vehicles, vehicle taxation must be reformulated. This will ensure that the cost of these externalities is not borne by society, but by individuals who use motor vehicles. As vehicles move away from combustion engines, fuel taxes will become less and less effective. To avoid a revenue shortfall and ensure traffic keeps flowing, road pricing and congestion charging can be great alternatives.

With information from International Transport Forum

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