Focus of work
Greener Transport Solutions is a not for profit organisation dedicated to the decarbonisation of transport. Their current focus is Pathways to Net Zero, which builds on their Manifesto for Decarbonising Transport. The key conclusion of the Manifesto was that technological solutions will be insufficient to get to net zero and that urgent attention must be given to traffic reduction.
Pathways to Net Zero aims to raise awareness of the vital importance of traffic reduction as part of the strategy to decarbonise transport and to focus Government attention on what is needed to deliver that reduction. The Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan and Net Zero Strategy acknowledge the need for modal switch, but the hard work of delivering behaviour change has been delegated to local authorities.
Much greater support is needed for local leaders. Pathways to Net Zero includes consumer research, consultation and in depth focus on key areas necessary for delivering traffic reduction including pricing, planning, behaviour change, changes needed to the wider economy and the politics of local delivery.
Transport is the biggest emitting sector of the UK economy. Government policy is underpinned by a technology-led approach. However, there are inherent limitations to this strategy. People have driven more, and further, as the costs of running a car have fallen relative to public transport. Van traffic has risen exponentially as people have increasingly bought products online with the expectation of next day delivery.
There is a clear policy gap. In its assessment of the Government’s Net Zero Strategy, the Committee on Climate Change highlighted “demand measures” as one of the key areas requiring urgent attention, noting that “policies to reduce or reverse traffic growth are underdeveloped”. Pathways to Net Zero aims to raise awareness of the vital importance of traffic reduction, and to be of benefit to decision makers at all levels of government responsible for reducing transport emissions.
Government urgently needs to begin an honest conversation with the public. Greater focus on traffic reduction would deliver significant wider benefits not only in terms of reducing carbon emissions but also in improving local air quality, delivering greater social inclusion and supporting local economies.