Exploring approaches towards a sustainable transport system

Potter, Stephen (2007). Exploring approaches towards a sustainable transport system. International Journal of Sustianable Transportation, 1(2) pp. 115–131.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15568310601091999


This paper undertakes a ‘backcasting’ analysis exploring strategic approaches for overall systems sustainability in personal transport. Starting from a robust definition of sustainability for the personal transport sector, the research examines the impact of combinations of transport technologies and changes in travel behaviour in reducing CO2 emissions towards a sustainable level. In doing this a simple equation model is used. This is purposely simple to provide a tool developing understanding by anyone exploring transport’s sustainability challenges.

It is concluded that technical measures in isolation are likely to be ineffective and politically problematic. Equally, even substantial modal shift to public transport cannot of itself attain the sustainability target. Trip length in particular needs to be a focus for demand management measures. A combined strategy of both technical improvements and demand management addressing trip length, trip generation and modal share can deliver the necessary improvement, although the implementation of such a package remains politically challenging.

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