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Increasing ambition to decarbonise transport: back to basics

Dionisio González



Monday, June 27, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 8
UITP - International Association of Public Transport
Greener Urban Futures
NE 8


The event on greener urban futures is organised by UITP together with long-standing international partners (UIC, ITF-OECD, Slocat,... to be confirmed). It will be a space for multi-stakeholder dialogue on the global challenges faced by local, regional and national governments and urban mobility stakeholders on urban mobility decarbonisation. The struggle for sustainable development, climate change and clean air is as important as building back better from the pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that public transport is essential and a common good we have to preserve. We must avoid a car-led recovery as this will not be a recovery for people or planet. Climate change cannot be stopped without decarbonising transport. Transport emits around 23% of the energy-related CO2 that feeds global warming. Without immediate action, its share could reach 40% by 2030. Transport emissions have grown faster than those of any other sector – with one mode of transport driving that unsustainable growth in road transport emissions, more than any other. We need to rebalance the debate on mobility solutions, especially in our cities. There is a real risk that we will end up swapping dirty, polluting traffic jams for ones consisting of electric cars. Cities are better when people can move around them, not when people are stuck behind a steering wheel. While e-mobility is part of the solution for our climate crisis, it is not the only solution neither the core part of it– especially for the Global South. We must embrace all three pillars of the avoid-shift-improve approach to decarbonising transport. Integrating land use and transport planning, facilitating modal shift towards active mobility and more efficient modes (rail, bus, etc.), the natural first choice for all, alongside technology will result in significantly more carbon savings now and can be fast tracked everywhere for the benefit of all. Integrated public transport systems (suburban rails, metros, trams, buses, bicycles,…) are the backbone of this resilient approach. They are the affordable, efficient, safe and environmentally fit sustainable solution. One that promotes economic growth, enables access and reduces inequalities while bolstering the fight against air pollution, climate change and traffic accidents. If we really want to enable the transition towards zero emissions road transport and make it faster, safer, accessible and easier for all, we need public transport to feature in all countries´ National Determined Contributions. The event will consist of an opening (10´), 1 moderated round table (50´), a questions & answers session (10´) with the public + the closing (5´).


In the current world, full of uncertainties, there are, however, some key principles that would definitively help us to build back to greener cities. During the session, decision-makers and relevant actors inside and outside the mobility sector will discuss about ready-to-implement actions to look back to "the basics": - PRIORITISE breathable and walkable streets through urban planning. Walking and cycling should be the first choices for mobility within a city, based on an integrated public transport system. Active modes are not only good for public health, but innately release zero emissions. Walking and cycling are also the natural neighbours of public transport with most journeys involving a walk to and from the nearest stop or station. - STRENGTHEN public transport’s role as the backbone of all mobility services. Mass public transport must remain firmly as the backbone of an integrated public transport system, combined with shared and on-demand modes—this redefinition of public transport is necessary to provide door-to-door seamless journeys that eliminate the need for a private car. - GUARANTEE financial incentives and a regulatory framework for an emission transition. Governments should set up funds to assist with the procurement of cleaner vehicles, but must start with implementing an institutional framework. -ENSURE clean energy sources are accessible to further reduce carbon footprint leading cities towards a sustainable future.

Session speakers

Ms. María NEIRA
Ms. Claudia LÓPEZ
Mr. Mohamed MEZGHANI
Secretary General
Mr. Gonzalo MUÑOZ
High-Level Champion