The TraCit project’s aims of breaking the links between growth in the economy and growth in carbon emissions from transport fits with the European White Paper: Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system. Indeed, if the target of a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions from transport by 2050 while current standards of living are maintained and improved, this link between the economy and transport emissions must be broken. Current levels of transport carbon intensity vary greatly across Europe with 2.11 tonnes of CO2 per person per year in the UK from transport compared to 1.78 tonnes in Estonia and 1.12 tonnes in Poland. However, when measured in terms of emissions per Euro of GDP, the UK has a lower level of Transport Carbon Intensity than Poland or Estonia.

The European Union has set itself the ambitious target of reducing transport-related carbon emissions by 60% on 1990 levels by 2050, while expanding the transport sector and increasing mobility. This report from the Transport Carbon IntenCities (TraCit) project presents findings and policy advice from a series of European pilot studies exploring  strategies for decoupling transport-related carbon emissions from economic growth.

Reducing carbon emissions and the consequences of associated climate change are among the most pressing problems the world faces in the 21st century. Much of the carbon emitted in Europe comes from the transport sector. The symbiotic relationship between growth in transport and growth in the economy are well documented; more economic activity has tended to be related to more people travelling to work, increased freight movement, and increased retail and leisure travel.

Much of the increase in travel, and in travel-related carbon emissions, in Europe has been seen in the use of private cars. With few exceptions, increased private car use has been correlated with economic growth. Besides carbon emissions, this is associated with localized air pollution, congestion and social inequality.

The TraCit project has investigated a variety of different interventions in the UK, Poland and Estonia that have the potential to decouple transport-related emissions growth from economic growth. This project report is intended to inform decision-makers across Europe as to the effectiveness of different interventions in different national and regional contexts, to help them direct resources to schemes that have the greatest potential. It describes the studies and their European, national and regional contexts, and presents findings, interregional evaluations, policy recommendations and good practices.

Download the Report (PDF, 2,26 MB)