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Shift to more efficient urban transport systems could save $70 trillion

10 July 2013
Shift to more efficient urban transport systems could save $70 trillion

LONDON: Up to US$70 trillion can be saved globally by employing simple policies to improve the energy efficiency of urban transport systems, according to new analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA). 

Policy changes

The report, A Tale of Renewed Cities, analyzes over 30 cities around the world to illustrate how better transport efficiency, urban planning and demand management could help save as much as US$70 trillion.

As well as slashing vehicle, fuel and transport expenditures, greater efficiency would also significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve the quality of life for city dwellers.

To achieve such cost savings through improved efficiency, authors recommend city-based policies under three broad categories:

  • opportunities to avoid travel
  • shifting travel to more efficient modes
  • improving efficiency of vehicles and fuel technologies.

Growing cities

Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director, IEA, said: “As the share of the world’s population living in cities grows to nearly 70% by 2050 and energy consumption for transport in cities is expected to double, the need for efficient, affordable, safe and high-capacity transport solutions will become more acute.

“Urgent steps to improve the efficiency of urban transport systems are needed not only for energy security reasons, but also to mitigate the numerous negative climate, noise, air pollution, congestion and economic impacts of rising urban transport volumes.”

Leading by example

Maria added: “Governments must think beyond individual technologies and electoral cycles, and consider how to build – and how to renew – cities that will accommodate and transport nearly 6.3 billion people by 2050. We must plan infrastructure, logistics and energy systems now that make sense today and over the coming decades."

The report spotlights three case studies, Belgrade, Seoul and New York City, as best-practice examples of cities that have implemented efficiency improvements of their transport systems, chiefly by updating rail systems, bus operations and express bus services respectively.

Read: A Tale of Renewed Cities

See our own case study on the clean revolution happening in New York City


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