This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.
Skip to the content

[IOP] A community website from IOP Publishing

Tag Archives: carbon footprint

Decarbonizing urban transport might bring considerable benefits

By Felix Creutzig

Citizens of Europe enjoy high accessibility to energy-efficient modes of transportation, such as public transit, and often can cycle safely in cities. Still, CO2 emissions in urban transport measure about two tonnes per capita each year even in well-designed cities such as Barcelona, Freiburg, Malmö, and Sofia. For ambitious mitigation these numbers need to be cut considerably. But automobile-centered structure of the periphery makes decarbonizing a daunting task. In a new study in Environmental Research Letters (ERL) I, along with colleagues, investigated possible options for reducing the CO2 emissions in urban transport of the four cities mentioned above.

(more…)

Posted in Sustain to gain | Tagged , , | Leave a comment | Permalink
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile

Does urban form really matter? – a reply

By Felix Creutzig

In a recent blog, I discussed an article. The paper points out that urban form policies have a rather moderate impact as population growth and land consumption trends dominate the overall dynamics. In my blog I suggested that EU fuel efficiency regulation for new cars should demonstrate higher impacts on reducing GHG emissions. Anil Namdeo from the author team responds with the following reply:

“The Trend trajectories are largely driven by the high rate of growth in the region (London and South East): the number of dwellings increase by 30% over the Trend, a product of a 19.1% growth in population and a reduction in household size. Road traffic grows from 220 billion vehicle kms in 1997, to 338 billion vehicle kms in 2031, an increase of some 1.57% per annum. This growth eventually counteracts the gains in noxious emission (NOX, PM10, CO, VOC) reduction won via clean technology. Although newer vehicles will be more fuel efficient, CO2 emissions continue to rise because of the growth in vehicle travel and the increase in congestion and because we have not assumed carbon neutrality for new dwellings as these have yet to be achieved in mass market building. The lower speeds associated with congestion create additional emissions due to frequent stop-start operation of vehicles.”

From my point of view, this discussion demonstrates that urban form measures are insufficient on their own to achieve ambitious GHG abatement and other environmental targets. Instead, I argue that a combination of land use, push and pull policies can achieve synergies resulting into a relatively low-carbon urban transport world.

Posted in Sustain to gain | Tagged , , | Leave a comment | Permalink
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile

Does urban form really matter?

By Felix Creutzig

“Does urban form really matter?” This is the subtitle of a paper by Echenique et al., just published in the Journal of the American Planning Association.

The paper scrutinizes the claim that compaction makes cities more sustainable. Starting point is the finding of the US Commission of Integrated Transport (2009) that compaction has a modest effect in reducing vehicle travel. Echenique et al. posit that the social and economic costs needs to be treated comprehensively. Using modifications of the advanced transport-land-use model software MEPLAN, the authors model the impact of three different land-use developments in three English regions/cities, identifying 26 sustainability indices. The three developments are labeled dispersal, planned expansion, and compaction. Compaction reduces CO2-emissions from buildings and transport only between 1–5% compared with the dispersal scenario running from
1997 to 2031. Moreover, the differences in land-use due to spatial configurations are small compared to the impact of socioeconomic change and population growth.

(more…)

Posted in Sustain to gain | Tagged , , | Leave a comment | Permalink
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile

Low Carbon Transport in Asia

By Felix Creutzig

Developing Asia is at a crossroads, transport-wise. And integrating co-benefits in transport decision-makes the difference. That in a nut-shell is the message of the book Low Carbon Transport in Asia – Strategies for optimizing co-benefits by Zusman, Srinivasan and Dhakal, just getting published at Earthscan.

The book builds on established approaches to quantify co-benefits of sustainable transport benefits. According to perspective, climate change mitigation is a co-benefit of air pollution combat or transport management or, the other way around: a better air quality is the co-benefit of ambitious climate protection. With close to half of the world population living
in mostly densely populated Asia, the exposure of transport impact is particularly relevant on this continent – a co-benefit approach will deliver most in Asia. The book, an organized collection of articles around this topic summarizes conceptualization efforts and developes case studies on realizing transport co-benefits. Crucially, the book manages to transcend pure quantification efforts and analyzes barriers to co-benefit strategies and corresponding
solution strategies. Zusman et al. identify two main avenues: A) clean and affordable technologies for motorized vehicles that can have huge impact on improving the health of billions of Asians while also substantially reducing non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions; and B) transport demand management strategies that are even more comprehensive, also addressing congestion, safety, and accessibility issues, but are also more ambitious.

While there is some overlap across chapters, all a well edited and are a very good read. The true value of this book, however, is its success in bringing the transport co-benefit literature together, providing an excellent overview for scientists and policymakers.

Disclosure: I contributed to this book project.

Posted in Sustain to gain | Tagged , , | 1 Comment | Permalink
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile