The Transport Hierarchy: a cross-modal strategy to deliver a sustainable transport system

A Clean Transport themed report published to coincide with the IMechE’s two-day COP26 conference

This report addresses the engineering challenges which must be overcome to reduce the transport sector’s greenhouse gas emissions and identifies practical solutions in a UK context.

The objective is to support the public, government agencies and private sector bodies in their ambition to meet the target of net-zero emissions. To achieve this, the top three priorities of the Transport Hierarchy are considered as a framework.

The Transport Hierarchy prioritises maximising demand reduction, system efficiency/modal shift, and energy efficiency/renewable resources as critical priorities which can be applied to various transport modes. The policy statement discusses the three priorities and focuses more in depth on priority three for improved transport efficiency using renewable resources. Priority three is discussed in detail for each transport sector and various alternative solutions are recommended.

The road to net-zero emissions by 2050 is a clear mandate. However, any cost-effective and proven technology advancements and operational changes that can significantly reduce emissions from the transport sector, as opposed to eliminating them completely, should still be pursued and implemented, especially if they can be achieved in shorter timescales. The policy statement provides recommendations and identifies technology skills/ gap requirements that would need to be addressed to introduce technically and economically feasible solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to near zero.


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