In response to Transport Day which took place at COP26 yesterday (10th November 2021), Godfrey Ryan, CEO of transport experts Kura, says: “We must urgently address the school run and the daily commute if we are to reach emissions targets and resolve the fundamental issues with transportation, such as congestion, pollution and safety on the roads.
“Transport is the biggest source of carbon emissions in the UK, so whilst achieving zero emissions absolutely needs to be the medium to long term goal, we must look at what can be done in the short term to make a difference. The commitment that 30 countries have made to stop selling diesel and petrol cars by 2040, or 2035 for ‘leading economies’, is great progress but as the Sustainable Transport Alliance have pointed out, regardless of how vehicles are powered, it still means there will an increasing number of them on the roads. This will continue to fuel congestion, particularly during rush hour.
“In order to make a real difference we must look to the school run, which contributes to roughly a quarter of rush hour traffic, and the daily commute which makes up 25% of transport carbon emissions in the UK. Unicef research has shown that children are disproportionally exposed to higher doses of pollution during the school run and whilst they are at school, posing a significant health risk. These concerns are shared by 48% of parents surveyed for our Green Guide, who believe traffic fumes around the school gates are a safety risk to their children.
“More investment into school transport (vehicles and technology) is needed to remove cars of the road, reduce congestion and pollution and make the school run safer and more sustainable. Additionally, public and shared transport options must be made more attractive if people are to swap their car commute for an alternative method of transport.
“Whilst striving to achieve zero emissions from new forms of transport is a good aim to have, we must encourage people to actually use them. Employers need to be offering incentives for employees to travel via shared transport, and schools need to aid the green revolution by offering dedicated school transport services. This action must be taken now if we are to make tangible change and give ourselves the best chance of meeting net zero”.
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