Public transport cuts CO2 emissions by 40%

September 26, 2014

Public transport is capable of reducing pollution by a staggering 40%, according to a recently released report from the University of California and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), reports Nature World News. Opting for bikes, buses and walking over driving cars is key, as are improvements to existing transport, such as by making cities safer for bikers and walkers, and by expanding bus and rail transport options.

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Developing world emissions, which will worsen problems the developed world created, could be cut drastically with a turn toward public transport. From joiseyshowaa.

Transportation, with its attendant jump in car use, is the fastest growing source of carbon dioxide emissions on the planet, and addressing pollution-producing traffic jams may be one of the simplest environmental changes to implement. Co-author of the report, “A Global High Shift Scenario,” Michael Replogle, ITDP’s managing director, explained to Reuters: “While every part of the global economy needs to become greener, cleaning up the traffic jams in the world’s cities offers the least pain and the most gain.”

Targeting cities is important. According to United Nations data, over 50% of the globe’s population currently lives in cities, with an expected jump to 66% by 2050. Changing the way people not only commute, but move throughout their cities, is a high-impact proposition: Researchers discovered that public transport could cut carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent by 2050, as well as save $100 trillion in both public and private dollars.

Take China, for example: China’s transportation-related carbon dioxide emissions are expected to grow from 190 megatons each year to over 1,100 megatons by 2050, largely because of the country’s booming urban development and its increasing auto dependence. Yet the increase might be reduced to 650 megatons, if China develops metro systems and clean bus networks. Then there’s India: That country’s emissions are forecasted to increase to 540 megatons in 2050 from 70 megatons this year. Researchers noted that this might be reduced by over 33% if car use was reduced.

The United States, which holds the not-so-prestigious title of being the world’s top CO2 emission producer, is expected to reduce its emissions from 670 megatons yearly to 560 megatons yearly by the year 2050 — due to reduced travel growth and improved fuel efficiency. Yet, as the report notes, there is plenty of room for improvement: By implementing sustainable transportation (as well as “fewer and shorter car trips related to communication technologies substituting for transportation”), the U.S. may cut its emissions to around 280 megatons yearly.

Other benefits to making the switch from cars to public transportation or walking include improved economic opportunities, as the poor would receive better access to services and jobs. “It is clear that the success of developing good public transport in wealthy countries has come by governments establishing systems for greater private investment in public transport,” Replogle explained. “That has not been happening as effectively in much of the developing world, but this report describes the framework in which it could happen.”

The ITDP, which is based out of UC Davis, is a nonprofit that “helps cities design and implement high-quality transit systems to make communities more livable, competitive and sustainable.”

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Category: Trends

About the Author ()

Katy is a writer, reporter and editor who, in addition to writing for RoadTrafficSigns, has worked with the United Nations Development Programme, Hamptons magazine, Hearst Corporation, The Daily Mail, People Magazine, and a variety of other publications and nonprofits. After graduating with honors from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and distinctions on her thesis and in the consumer journalism seminar, she moved to Milan, Italy. In Italy, she worked as a writer and consultant for an international magazine, editing and translating text and reporting on such events as the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the annual design fair. A born and raised New Yorker, she has lived in three of five boroughs, relying quite a bit on public transport until getting her driver's license at the admittedly belated age of 21.

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