Alliance Live Session 5: Environment and Emissions

The world cannot win the battle against climate change without changing the way people move. Transport already represents a quarter of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions—a figure that could increase to 33% under a business-as-usual scenario.

How do we maintain the momentum that has been created and improve the design of public spaces to promote cycling and walking, and speed up investing in reliable mass transit systems and public transport? All of these solutions can help keep cities moving while reducing the carbon footprint of urban transport.

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Key Outcome

There is a window of opportunity for policy change.
Three necessary factors are available: awareness of the problem; availability of solution; permanence in the agenda. The fourth
factor is to build a stronger connection between road safety and environment.

Key Opportunities for NGOs

  • COVID-19 is showing that behavior change is possible.
  • Road safety NGOs must look outside the traditional silo and work with pedestrian and cycling groups etc.
  • Realities are very different: we must find localized solutions to make them relevant.
  • NGOs must champion balance and avoid promoting one agenda at the expense of the other.
  • NGOs are neutral and are therefore well-placed to broker conversation between sectors so that there is policy coherence between road safety and emissions. Often there is not as much collaboration between government departments as there could be. NGOs can help.
  • NGOs may be able to see from a different perspective and link the local and national levels.
  • They need to showcase good practice and call out bad practice.
  • NGOs can connect international organizations to local partners to work with.
  • There is a sense at the moment that people want to work together.

Key Points

  • Avoid, Shift, Improve: this is a hierarchy of actions. First, we should focus on avoid: reducing the number and length of journeys, which will both reduce emissions and reduce exposure to road risks. We should then consider shift: what journeys could be undertaken by cycle or by walking instead of by motorized transport. We should be careful not to consider improve (such as electric cars) before we
  • Transport is a contributing factor to the many problems we have on our planet today, including covid-19.
  • We need to work backwards, instead of looking for the links, we need to think about who we are trying to help and what they need. That will enable us to help them and to address parallel needs.
  • Covid-19 has brought out clearly the socioeconomic challenges that we already knew existed. The link between road safety, emissions and other fields is stopping unnecessary human and economic suffering and to consider mobility as a human right.
  • In the last decade, road safety has moved from individual activities and individual impacts to holistic thinking e.g. safe systems.
  • If people feel good about active modes of transport, then it will create demand. Therefore we should advocate for change that achieves this.
  • Public transport is the backbone of cities. If we allow public transport to collapse because of social distancing fears, we will increase inequality as well as emissions. NGOs need to support the push for funding for public transport and help to facilitate action that helps the local community to have safe, hygenic public transport that they are willing to use.

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