What does the declaration of a Climate Emergency mean for the Transport Planning profession?

TPS invited Professor Jillian Anable to start our year with a challenging call to action. The collective failure of transport planning to deliver against climate change objectives is evident, with carbon emissions from UK road transport now 3% higher than in 1990 when the first IPCC report was published, while other sectors have achieved reductions. Scientists referring to carbon budgets point out that the longer we delay stringent mitigation, the steeper the reduction required in future years. Anable argues that in order to each the Committee on Climate Change Net Zero target requires 4% per annum sustained reduction, and that to achieve the Paris Agreement commitment to pursue the maximum 1.5°C temperature rise implies a sustained reduction of 14% per annum. The challenge set to the transport profession is to change the narrative from what we think can be achieved to what needs to be done to deliver the committed reductions.

Anable argues that the theory of travel behaviour change is obsolete because it reinforces the idea that incremental change and win-win solutions will solve the issues. She challenges the profession to explicitly call for a stop to all new road building, airport expansion, and the smoke and mirrors approach to siting new development. Anable also calls for a change in focus in transport planning to target the types of travel that are generating the greatest increase in carbon, notably leisure travel, mid- and long-distance trips and the steady decline in car occupancy.

The presentation slides can be downloaded here along with a transcript of the original presentation given at the 51st Annual University Transport Studies Group conference.



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