Transport and energy must work together to decarbonise


As the largest contributor to domestic greenhouse gas emissions and major source of air pollution, the transport sector must decarbonise.

The new ‘Decarbonising transport, let’s get moving together’ report brings recommendations on how to re-think travel demand, re-mode away from cars and re-power transport away from fossil-fuels.

Decarbonisation is not just some technocratic process. It’s about a second, green, industrial revolution, creating hundreds of thousands of new, skilled jobs, in some of the towns and cities that were the cradle of the first one. It’s not about stopping people doing things: it’s about doing the same things differently.

Key insights from the new report by London Transport Museum, Mott MacDonald, Gowling WLG and Thales GTS, include: Public sector investment, policy and structure is important, but so too is cross-sectoral collaboration outside of the normal siloes. The transport and energy sector must come together to help re-power transport systems. Uptake of Electric Vehicles will help, but is only part of the answer and still brings congestion – improved public transport and greater active travel is needed, particularly for the first and last mile.

Location matters, one size does not fit all, what may be right for an urban environment may not be the best approach for a village, equally, what works in London may not work in the regions of the UK. A place-based systems approach is critical.

User-friendly real-time data is essential to encourage public transport, such as tracking when the next tram or bus arrives, and MaaS (mobility as a service) could improve access for remote and marginalised people and communities.

The full recommendations can be seen in the new report says that whilst big issues such as policy and technology are key, that cross-sectoral systems thinking, collaboration and innovation can help make great progress.

“As on all climate-related issues we need to move urgently to the real nuts and bolts of delivery,” said Giles Clifford, partner at Gowling WLG. “As well as identifying guiding principles the report gives tangible examples of successful strategies, and those who have delivered them, gathered from a series of workshops around the UK expertly presented by Mott Macdonald in collaboration with London Transport Museum, Thales GTS and ourselves. This report will contribute significantly to help all involved in generating their own plans, and we at Gowling WLG stand ready to support them.”

Sam Mullins OBE, director for London Transport Museum, said: “The elephant of decarbonisation can seem like an impossibly big animal for a city or country to digest. The only solution is to tackle the beast in bite-sized chunks. This report is brimming with ideas, insights, case studies and recommendations about how to make travel more sustainable for everybody in the country, whether they live in an urban environment or in a village”.

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