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Towards a Sustainable Transport System

Posted by Dietmar Mager on August 20, 2011 at 5:35 AM


(Extracts from the Department of Transport research paper Oct. 2007)

 

 

People’s aspirations are changing, and our transport planning needs to keep pace with that. 

For much of the post-War period, people were interested in personal mobility and demanded a wider range of goods on supermarket shelves.

Road traffic grew inexorably and there was a rapid increase in air travel.

Use of ‘greener’ forms of transport – bus, cycling and rail – all declined.

More recently, however, whilst people continue to value mobility highly, they have also become much more concerned about the adverse impacts of transport on climate, health and quality of life and about their own travel experience as congestion mounts. At face value, this appears to suggest a stark choice between being ‘rich and dirty’ or ‘poor and green’.

 

The independent Stern Review, published in October 2006, makes it clear that the option of being ‘rich and dirty’ does not exist, because catastrophic climate change would have a huge economic cost, as well as damaging people’s lives and the planet. But nor do we have to be ‘poor’ to be ‘green’. Stern says developed countries must cut CO2 emissions by at least 60 per cent by 2050, but that this can be achieved at a material, but manageable, global cost of 1 per cent of GDP, provided the right policies are put in place, although for developed countries like the UK this cost could be higher.

This cost is significant, but is far lower than the costs of inaction.

Similarly, the costs of failing to adapt to a changing climate would exceed those of taking early action. The UK Government’s climate change goals will be enshrined in legislation in the Climate Change Bill.

 

Since delivering CO2 reduction and economic growth are both essential and

mutually consistent, we propose for the first time to set explicitly transport goals for both.

  

Presented to Parliament by the

Secretary of State for Transport,

by Command of Her Majesty

October 2007

 

 

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