All parts of the UK must work together to deliver greener and healthier places to live, says new 'Decarbonising Transport' report.

Creating healthier, quieter places with cleaner air and generating new, green jobs are pressing issues across the UK. As the largest contributor to UK domestic Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and major source of air pollution, the transport sector must decarbonise. The why is simple, but the 'how' has been less clear.

The new 'Decarbonising transport, let's get moving together' report brings recommendations on how to re-think travel demand, re-mode away from cars, and re-power transport away from fossil-fuels.

Decarbonisation is not just some technocratic process. It is how we make sure that transport shapes the country and the economy in ways that are good. It's about a second, green, industrial revolution, creating hundreds of thousands of new, skilled jobs, in some of the proud towns and cities that were the cradle of the first one. It's not about stopping people doing things: it's about doing the same things differently.

Convened by London Transport Museum as part of its Interchange thought leadership events and delivered by engineering, management and development consultancy Mott MacDonald in partnership with the international law firm Gowling WLG and global transportation company Thales GTS, a series of workshops were held around the UK, uniting heads of industry, local councils, regional government, transport operators, law firms, consultancies, charities and campaigners.

Key insights from the resulting report include:

  • Public sector investment, policy and structure is important, but so too is cross-sectoral collaboration outside of the normal siloes.
  • The transport and energy sector must come together to help re-power transport systems.
  • Uptake of Electric Vehicles will help, but is only part of the answer and still brings congestion - improved public transport and greater active travel is needed, particularly for the first and last mile.
  • Location matters, one size does not fit all, what may be right for an urban environment may not be the best approach for a village, equally, what works in London may not work in the regions of the UK. A place-based systems approach is critical.
  • User-friendly real-time data is essential to encourage public transport, such as tracking when the next tram or bus arrives, and MaaS (mobility as a service) could improve access for remote and marginalised people and communities.

The full recommendations can be seen in the new report, published today (Thursday, 2 March 2023), and says that whilst big issues such as policy and technology are key, that cross-sectoral systems thinking, collaboration and innovation can help make great progress.

London Transport Museum's Interchange thought leadership programme held workshops in Leeds and Birmingham as well as London, with attendees hotly debating decarbonisation under three topics:

  • re-thinking the times, frequency and our need for travel
  • re-moding to greener forms of travel choices for all groups in society, whichever part of the country they live in
  • re-powering those polluting modes of transport with cleaner fuels if "re-moding" is not possible

Giles Clifford, partner at Gowling WLG, said: "As on all climate-related issues we need to move urgently to the real nuts and bolts of delivery. We are very pleased to see this report. As well as identifying guiding principles it gives tangible examples of successful strategies, and those who have delivered them, gathered from a series of workshops around the UK expertly presented by Mott Macdonald in collaboration with London Transport Museum, Thales GTS and ourselves. This report will contribute significantly to help all involved in generating their own plans, and we at Gowling WLG stand ready to support them."

Sam Mullins OBE, director for London Transport Museum, said: "The elephant of decarbonisation can seem like an impossibly big animal for a city or country to digest. The only solution is to tackle the beast in bite-sized chunks. This report is brimming with ideas, insights, case studies and recommendations about how to make travel more sustainable for everybody in the country, whether they live in an urban environment or in a village".

The 'Decarbonising transport, let's get moving together' report is produced by a leading global engineering management and development consultancy Mott MacDonald and London Transport Museum, in partnership with the international law firm Gowling WLG and global transportation company Thales GTS. The lead author of the report is Katie Chesworth a Technical Specialist in Transport Planning at Mott MacDonald.

Download our report, Decarbonising transport, to find out how to mitigate climate change by decarbonising transport and travel.

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