Better Connected Transport Will Drive Greener Growth

The creation of seamless transport systems that combine greener mobility solutions with more efficient networks will boost economic growth while better protecting the environment, according to this latest annual report on mobility trends produced by the International Transport Forum at the OECD.

“Transport and technology form the backbone of global trade,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría at the presentation of Transport Outlook 2012. “Connecting places and people creates opportunities for new markets and better connections can increase productivity. Making well-targeted investments in new capacity and intelligent, smart mobility technologies and ensuring their best possible use can provide a new source of growth.”

According to the Outlook, entitled “Seamless Transport for Green Growth,” the transport sector could play a key role in moving the world economy toward a more sustainable path.

“Going green in transport does not mean giving up mobility: it implies mobility with a smaller environmental footprint,” said Gurría. “Thinking seamless is a bid to align mobility aspirations with aspirations for greener growth.”

Key findings of the 2012 Transport Outlook include:

Mobility will grow strongly, particularly strong outside the OECD area:

  • Global passenger transport volumes could be 2 to 2.5 times as large in 2050 as they are now. Outside the OECD, passenger volumes could rise by a factor of 2.5 to 3.5; in the OECD growth could be around 30 percent.
  • Global freight transport volumes in 2050 could be two to four times as large as they are today. Within the OECD, freight volumes could double; outside the OECD they could be more than five times as large.

CO2-emission will grow less than mobility due to carbon-saving technologies:

  • CO2-emissions from transport could grow by a factor of 1.5 to 2.5 between 2010 and 2050.
  • In advanced economies, emissions from passenger transport can be stabilised thanks to improved technology. Freight transport emissions will still rise, however, unless freight transport grows only half as fast as GDP.
  • In emerging economies and developing countries, mobility growth is expected to be larger and emissions will grow strongly. This assumes some new technology deployment, with more efficient standard vehicles and hybrids, but not many alternative-fuel vehicles.

Mobility policy can slow down emission growth, but a policy commitment is needed:

  • Passenger mobility policies could reduce emission growth outside the OECD by anywhere from a quarter to one-third by 2050. Slowing-down emissions growth requires strong, enduring policy commitment. A range of measures is needed for balanced mobility, including, but not limited to: integrating public transport, to make it more seamless and more appealing to users; limiting network capacity for cars, to achieve more efficient network use; and not providing free parking.

Emission growth means that energy technology is key:

  • In 2011, it was estimated that car fuel economy would need to double, at the very least, to stabilize emissions — from about 8 litres/100 km in 2008 to just under 4 litres/100 km in 2050.
  • Internal-combustion engines can be made much more efficient, and downsizing cars contributes strongly to reducing energy intensity. The immediate adoption of increasingly stringent fuel-economy regulations will promote this transition.
  • In the longer run, policy should be used to stimulate alternative energy sources. Diversity in transport energy is preferred to replacing fossil fuels with another dominant source. Electric vehicles are a good technological fit where there are short but frequent trips, including taxi markets and delivery of goods in urban environments.

The International Transport Forum is a global transport policy platform for dialogue among ministers, business leaders and transport experts housed by the OECD. The International Transport Forum’s Transport Outlook 2012 is available here: www.internationaltransportforum.org/Pub/TranspOutlook.html

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