Transport and the lock-in problem

Politicians are reluctant to confront the economic and environmental costs of transport. The task: to reduce the demand for mobility. I probably don’t write about transport as much as I ought to, and that was brought home to me at an event on The Future of Transport in Leuven in Belgium, at which I was also a speaker. There’s a case for regarding transport as a climate emergency, given that it accounts for about a quarter of Europe’s carbon emissions, and that in the last decade (unlike pretty much every other sector) emissions from transport have continued to grow sharply. And before I continue, even if you’re a climate sceptic, this represents a significant policy issue: the transport sector (at least, the non-human powered transport sector) is 97% dependent on fossil fuels. As these become scarcer, more expensive, and more prone to interruption, we will have an incipient social and economic problem which is serious enough to prod policy makers.  … Read More

via thenextwave

2 thoughts on “Transport and the lock-in problem

  1. Ian Perry said, on 5 August, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Damain has brought back many memories of my time in London. Emergency vehicles fined, drivers fined for pulling over to the side of the road to let an ambulance past – and the photographic evidence showed the ambulance with blue lights flashing…

    Think of the strongest words you know, and many Londoners (and I) will have used them to describe TfL. TfL is tainted, impersonal and those at the top, talented and as nice as they may be, have no idea (I hope) as to how many of their CUSTOMERS feel towards them and TfL. I’m convinced that the former Mayor, Ken Livingston, lost thousands of votes due to TfL.

    What TfL does sounds (and could be) great – but to appreciate them, you must not live in London!

    I wish I could fine TfL workers for their mistakes in the same way they fine their customers for their misunderstandings of TfL rules and mistakes – they’d pay to work!

  2. Politicians are reluctant to confront the economic and environmental costs of transport. The task: to reduce the demand for mobility.

    The assertion that Europe’s problem with transport emissions has to do with past ‘legacy’ infrastructure is weakly supported at best. “We are locked into a set of legacy infrastructures that have taken a century to build up; changing it is slow and expensive.”

    The fact is that Europe and UK governments have continued to spend billions on roadway expansion every year, and will probably do so again next year and the year after. It is not expensive to stop building freeways, in fact it would save billions every year that could then be spent on reducing emissions.

    Sometimes when people find themselves in a hole, they talk about path dependence rather than stop digging. Enough with excuses for deliberate climate crimes.


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