How transport can deliver a 60% reduction in CO² gases by 2030

Meeting chaired by Jeremy Douch

John Grimshaw


11 October 2005

John Grimshaw is the Chief Executive of SUSTRANS, the organisation promoting sustainable transport.

Global warming and CO² reduction in transport will require wide ranging changes. It is estimated that 50% of CO² gases in the atmosphere are due to transport. As it becomes clear that the reduction in CO² is essential, the Department of Transport’s target of 60% cuts by 2050 (or 2030) will become mandatory. Some authorities are looking for 90% reductions. This can only be met by a combination of increased vehicle efficiency and by changing cultural habits. For example, doubling of the whole transport fleet efficiency, a doubling of occupancy to halve vehicle mileage and a further halving of mileage by travelling less far will become a necessary combination.

In this context, short journeys are to be valued and genuine priority should be given to walking and cycling trips and the infrastructure culture needed to sustain them. The bicycle in particular has been much neglected in the UK where its range of 3–8 kilometres covers many routine journeys.

The transport professionals will need to review their own conduct. For example, will it be ethical to promote any scheme, which would result in an increased distance travelled? How can all new developments be arranged so as to bring about a net reduction in travel? Should the professionals as a whole simply refuse to promote increased travel?

Once global warming, and its consequences, are generally recognised, then we may have no choice but to travel down this road – to travel less.

Jeremy Douch