Transportation is responsible for 24% of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions. Half of these emissions are for transporting goods and services, and half are for transporting people from A to B – also known as “passenger transport.”

Passenger transportation has a huge impact on our environment, and is one of the biggest determinants of where we live and work. From weak-to-danger LA traffic, bicycle-ridden Danish cities, Japanese bullet trains, Vietnam moped rides, taxi ranks to India’s famous three-wheeled rickshaws, or a crowded London subway.

High-end promotion of electric vehicles (EVs) has been designed as a solution to reduce passenger transport emissions — for all new homes and modernized EVs by 2022.

However, a recent study from the US shows that car electrification alone is not enough to achieve the world’s most promising climate measures to prevent temperatures above 2 degrees Celsius.

In addition, people who continue to depend on cars are causing serious problems in developing cities. With urbanization expanding and we need to reduce car ownership in cities to make space as high as possible, reasonably priced and accessible. Otherwise, huge land for human habitation or nature is still available for roads and car parks.

Although EVs can help increase traffic emissions, simply focusing on replacing conventional cars with EVs is an missed opportunity for countries to develop alternative routes beyond car dependency.

Climate Action Fund – The United Nations-funded Adaptation Fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change – is expected to reach 74 74 billion by 2023. Developing efficient and sustainable mass-transport systems in developing countries.

The United Nations Climate Change Team supports the approach of “avoid, change, improve” passenger transport in Germany in the early 1990s.


“Avoiding” refers primarily to a reduction in the need for transportation. This includes planning new urban spaces and making the old ones as well-organized as possible, so that people do not have to travel long distances for work, shopping, education and entertainment. Years of road investment have made it difficult for some cities to move away from car use, but the future of many of our developing cities remains uncertain.

Many cities are designed with extensive car ownership in mind, but new cities do not need to follow this design. [Photo: Damian188/Wiki Commons]

This approach connects homes and rural areas with the Internet, making it easier and cheaper for people to work from home, leaving the street space for people – such as doctors or teachers – who cannot afford it.


“Shift” means turning the necessary journey into a sustainable, active and advanced means of transportation. Instead of cars, we can use buses, trains, bicycles, scooters, skateboards, or sidewalks. Around the world, we can see some interesting examples of how countries have managed to get out of this carbon-dependent car dependency.

The Transmilionio bus system in Bogota and Socha, Colombia, is one of the largest in the world. Transporting between one and two million people daily, the wide stops, special bus routes and cheap ticketing stations make it easy to access.

Adding active travel modes is another way to encourage this change. E-bikes are one of the fastest growing commodities in China. Motorcycle rides encourage long-distance cycling between mountain ranges, tropical areas, and the less fortunate. Studies from Sweden and Norway show that cyclists who change from regular bicycle to e-bike increase their number of trips and average distances for each ride.

Transmilionio bus service is widely regarded as a shining example of sustainable mass transit. [Photo: Felipe Restrepo Acosta/]

Berlin residents recently voted to expand car restrictions in the German city of 88 square kilometers – the idea of ​​creating the world’s largest car-free city zone. Such practices can provide a safe haven for pedestrians and cyclists who are afraid to travel with fast moving trucks. Importantly, if researchers do not take steps to limit car use, other measures that promote public transportation, walking, and cycling will have little effect.

We can focus on making our existing vehicles more sustainable if unwanted travel is cut off from employer policies requiring the presence of employees in a weak city planning and staff office and safe public transportation or active travel options are developed.


Although fuel efficiency has slightly reduced fuel consumption per kilometer, passenger demand for transportation continues to grow – which generally reduces emissions more than efficiency. As a result, part of the UN framework “improvement” includes the conversion of bus, rail and car transport from fossil fuels to electricity.

The key to reducing passenger traffic emissions is to find and use electric cars in the absence of other reasonable travel options. If we do this, we will be able to stop car dependency by helping as many people as possible to travel.

Vera O’Riordan is a PhD researcher in Marine and Renewable Energy at Cork University College. This article was republished by discussion under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.