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Reducing Transport Emissions: Need To Act Now


Saturday, 21 July, 2007

Reducing Transport Emissions: Need To Act Now.

The growing debate about climate change has emphasised the importance of long term planning if we are to develop sustainable cities, according to a leading transport planner.

Emmerson Richardson, a Perth-based Principal of leading project delivery firm, Sinclair Knight Merz is in New Zealand speaking at a series of Forums in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Mr Richardson said there is a real need for leaders to better integrate public transport planning into town and city developments.

“Whilst scientific evidence is still being collated, analysed and debated, there is now sufficient information in the public realm to demonstrate there are some very real risks associated with climate change,” Mr Richardson said.

“It is now time to set targets to specifically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport,” he said.

“This will provide the impetus for those involved in the planning, design and operations of the transport system to work towards finding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their area of expertise,” Mr Richardson added.

Quoting figures from the Stern Review, Mr Richardson said that New Zealand’s total emissions per person were higher than the United Kingdom’s on a per capita basis.

New Zealand was generating 18.4 tonnes per year/per person, as opposed to 10.9 tonnes in the United Kingdom.

“The community and decision makers are looking to engineers, planners and economists with expertise in transport planning and transport infrastructure development to advise on targets for emission reductions and ways in which emissions from transport can be reduced over time,” Mr Richardson said.

“We believe that a long term target in the order of a 60% reduction by 2050 should be used as a basis for the development of intermediate targets,” he said.

Two main strategies are proposed to reduce greenhouse emissions from transport:

 Sustainable mobility management

 Alternative fuels and vehicle efficiency

Sustainable Mobility Management is a broad package of measures designed to influence the demand for travel.

It incorporates traditional travel demand measures, but also includes measures to increase the capacity and frequency of the public transport system.

Sustainable mobility management is a program of measures to increase walking, cycling and public transport and to reduce per capita car driving.

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, this program can assist in reducing congestion, reducing road deaths and serious injuries, improving public health by improving fitness and reducing the incidence of obesity and improving accessibility for more people by providing more affordable travel options.

“Sustainable mobility management offers a readily applicable solution to reducing vehicle emissions in urban areas, since it can achieve the reduction in car usage without economic or amenity loss in the city,” Mr Richardson said.

“Price-based measures can be fairly quickly implemented, whilst land use changes take longer to occur,” he said.

Measures are also interrelated: one of the most successful transport pricing schemes - the London Congestion Charge - was accepted partly because it was closely linked to improvements in public transport.

There is considerable potential to reduce emissions per vehicle through the widespread adaption of vehicles that are either more efficient or use alternative fuels.

However, there is a large investment in existing fuel supply infrastructure and the vehicle fleet itself.

Both of these change slowly [1] and, as a result, major change to the predominant fuel type used will take years to make a significant impact.

Mr Richardson said a long term plan is needed now. It must:

> Be capable of meeting projected long term travel needs

> Address the community’s quality of life objectives – specifically drivers for change

> Ensure efficient use made of existing infrastructure by increasing people and freight moving capacity through adaptation and renewal

> Assess short term projects for compatibility with long term objectives

> Be funded and implemented continually and progressively

Emmerson Richardson has extensive experience in developing strategic public transport options for major metropolitan regions and demonstrating efficiency and effectiveness in the context of an overall metropolitan wide system.
For example, Emmerson played a major part in the selection of the tunnel connection through Perth, linking the southern suburbs railway to the northern suburbs railway.
He has excellent knowledge of the role and principles of public transport in major cities.
He has proposed principles to guide the long term development and expansion of the public transport system in South East Queensland based on: system growth and capacity; integration with land use planning; access between the central area and major regional centres; system integration; service frequency and hours of generation; usage and passenger care and resource planning and budgeting


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