Having just returned from COP21 it is staggering to reflect that this is the first COP at which Transport has found its collective voice. At Bali in 2007 transport was little discussed and at Copenhagen in 2009 no coherent transport sector voice was heard.
How could this be you might well ask when we know that an increasingly dominant source of carbon emissions around the world is transport being 1st or 2nd in most countries emission inventories and the fastest rising. Globally transport is responsible for around 23% of carbon emissions.
Well I think two things have happened which help to explain this shift. Firstly the transport sector has woken up to realise that there is much more potential for the development of the sector in being a part of a proactive climate change solution and secondly a growing recognition that transport needs to be considered as a system within which there are multiple players – it is not simply about the regulation of vehicle emissions.
In consequence, exciting progressive collaborations are forming between city authorities, transport planners, smart technology providers, infrastructure providers and operators, vehicle manufacturer’s – be they road vehicle, planes, trains etc, and of course users. For COP21 one grouping of collaborators have come forward with 14 initiatives addressing road , rail and aviation as well as private and public transport, see www.ppmc-cop21.org These initiatives carry the commitment of 100 cities and 100 countries as well as multi national companies in a major push towards low carbon transport. If successfully implemented at the planned scale, these initiatives could reduce the carbon footprint of over half the worldwide passenger and freight trips made by 2025. I’m delighted to say that Ramboll are now engaged in this collaboration.
There is also a wider recognition that good transport or more specifically mobility is a service or good which we need to require much more intelligently. Within cities and led by C40, it is now increasingly recognised that we need to plan out the need for travel beyond a short walk for every day accessibility. The concept of the 5 minute city as exemplified in Nordhaven Denmark et al has arrived, behaviour change is happening as the younger generation eschew car ownership in cities in favour of the flexibility of foot/pedal power and public transport. These are not worldwide trends yet but they are gathering pace.
From being a hesitant actor could the transport sector become a star performer? Well in my opinion the possibilities have never been so good!