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Publication - Report

Climate change: evidence review of mitigation options in the Transport sector

Published: 19 Jan 2017
Part of:
Environment and climate change

Evidence review of potential climate change mitigation measures in the Transport sector.

51 page PDF


51 page PDF


Climate change: evidence review of mitigation options in the Transport sector
5 Reduce the need to travel

51 page PDF


5 Reduce the need to travel

Transport options to reduce the need to travel can include: land use planning resulting in shorter distances travelled or making modal shift more plausible, and the use of teleworking to reduce trips made. Demand reduction can also include the use of fiscal measures for example parking or congestion charges to reduce demand and encourage the use of more sustainable modes.

5.1 Land use planning

5.1.1 Overview

Well planned cities can reduce the need to travel and facilitate the use of active travel and public transport modes (Rode et al., 2014). The proposition is that higher density cities result in shorter travel distances meaning that travelling by walking, cycling and public transport becomes more attractive (Karathodorou et al., 2010). In the Scottish context research by Waygood and Susilo (2015) identifies that living within "reasonable walking distance" to a school was a key explanatory variable for children commuting through walking, with attention to the development of urban areas identified as a need. There are clear synergies therefore with the co-benefits arising from the use of public transport (see Chapter 4). In terms of broader thinking with regard to co-benefits, one challenge with potential urban sprawl and reliance on private vehicle use is 'community severance', this severance can encompass three key themes (Bradbury, Tomlinson and Millington, 2007): physical barriers, e.g. a busy road limiting interaction; psychological challenges e.g. related to traffic noise; and longer term consequences relating to isolation and barriers. Those who are already disadvantaged may be most vulnerable to this severance. There is comparatively limited quantification and consideration of these outcomes within a co-benefits framework.

5.1.2 Quantitative approaches

The impacts of land use planning can be captured in a number of ways. At a broad, overview level, the Transport Model for Scotland and the Transport and Economic Land-use Model of Scotland allow the capture of aspects related to land use planning and associated transport demand related aspects e.g. the potential for increased use of public transport and increased levels of walking and cycling. However, further analysis would then be required to capture wider impacts of this. Here, existing key quantitative approaches of relevance are covered in Chapter 7.

5.1.3 Equalities

Land use planning which facilitates the increased viability of public transport and walking and cycling as modes contributes to the equality agenda as identified in Sections 4.1.3 and 4.2.3 One aspect of particular relevance is with regard to the role that the built environment can play in facilitating access to outdoor environments and the role that this can play in improving older people's quality of life. Key research in this area includes the Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors ( I'DGO) consortium with outcomes considered further in the Evidence Review of Wider Impacts of Climate Change Mitigation - Built Environment research report, which accompanies this work. Similarly there is also the Place Standard Tool, developed by the Scottish Government in partnership with Architecture & Design Scotland and NHS Health Scotland. This tool allows the user to evaluate the quality of an area and identify their priorities, for example access to public transport, natural space or social interaction, with these aspects being key in facilitating well-being.

5.2 Teleworking

5.2.1 Overview

Teleworking involves the use of working from home for some or all of the time, where it is appropriate for the job. Teleworking can have potential benefits for organisations for example:

  • Reductions in their property portfolio (since less desks are required). For example, BT - a long time user of teleworking - have reduced their portfolio by 40% since introduction in 2005. This has allowed a reduction in rental costs and utility bills (Scottish Government, 2013b).
  • Recruitment of broader, potentially higher skilled, range of staff.
  • Increase in staff productivity. For example, BT reported a 30% increase in productivity and a 20% reduction in absenteeism from implementing teleworking (Scottish Government, 2013b).

Benefits to employees can include:

  • Flexible hours and potential for work-life balance
  • Reductions in travel costs and commute time savings.

Potential adverse side effects, however, can also be identified: for example, for employees with regard to the setting of appropriate work-life boundaries. In addition, it is possible that heating and lighting costs may increase if they are less efficiently provided in the home than in an office serving many people.

For the majority of teleworking high speed broadband access will be key. Here potential challenges exist in terms of a Scottish rural urban divide with respect to internet access ( e.g. Philip et al., 2015). This is discussed further with respect to equalities below.

5.2.2 Equalities

Digital exclusion refers to those where '… a discrete sector of the population suffers significant and possibly indefinite lags in its adoption of ICT through circumstances beyond its immediate control' (Warren, 2007, p 375). In the Scottish context, there are distinct differences in the average and maximum sync speeds between urban, accessible rural and remote rural areas of Scotland ( e.g. Philip et al., 2015). These speeds are identified as being to the benefit of urban inhabitants but can limit the participants of rural residents and business to benefit from ICT. In terms of accessibility steps to reduce this exclusion are required. In terms of determinants for uptake - income levels play a role - with uptake by higher incomes more likely ( e.g. Popuri and Bhat, 2003), thus these opportunities may be less available to those in lower income roles.

5.3 Demand management

Demand reduction includes the use of fiscal measures for example parking or congestion charges to reduce demand and encourage the use of more sustainable modes, including the adoption of lower emission vehicles.

5.3.1 Overview

As with modal shift from car, the benefits of demand management are linked to reductions in car use, with benefits including air quality improvements and noise reduction. The availability and cost of parking is one of the key factors influencing car use (Tsamboulas, 2001). Mechanisms include limits on the number of parking spaces and other parking restrictions. Parking fees can act as a significant deterrent to car use with an increase in the price resulting in a decrease in car use.

Urban congestion charging has been introduced to manage traffic, with key European examples including London and Stockholm. In Stockholm traffic levels have reduced by 22% and this has resulted in a reduction in congestion (travel time) of 30-50 %, with emissions decreasing by 12-14% within the central charging zone ( JEG, 2010). In London, the congestion charge zone resulted in traffic levels being reduced by 15 % ( JEG, 2010). This has synergies with public transport for example, there was an increase of 37 % in the number of bus passengers entering the congestion charge zone in London, in the first year of introduction of the scheme, with half linked to the introduction of the zone ( TfL, 2004).

The role of up-front incentives, for example, exemption from congestion charging and parking charges in taking forward lower carbon vehicle ownership is also well established (Gallagher and Muehlegger, 2008; Ozaki and Sevastyanova, 2011). Exemption from congestion charging has played a key role in the take-up of hybrid vehicles in London (Ozaki and Sevastyanova, 2011) and in Stockholm, where clean vehicles as a proportion of vehicles entering the charging zone increased from 3% in 2006 to 14% in 2009, decreasing to 10% in 2011 reflecting the removal of the exemption in 2008 (Börjesson et al., 2012).

5.3.2 Equalities

Policies such as congestion charging and parking charges could be considered to be potentially progressive, as higher income groups own and use cars more than those on low incomes (Skinner et al., 2011). Care is required, however, since potentially the most adversely affected groups will be low income groups who need to use a car to access the affected zones for example, for employment purposes. Ways to reduce potential negative impacts, include additional funding for alternative transport modes ( e.g. buses) and infrastructure (walk and cycle) which would be used by the most vulnerable (Skinner et al., 2011). Revenue from the congestion charge could be hypothecated for these measures, as occurred when the charge was first introduced in London.


Email: Debbie Sagar