Ways to make transport greener
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that we need transport to get around. We’ve got places to go and we need ways to get there - whether it be by car, bike, plane or train. But, we also know that transport is one of the leading sectors contributing towards climate and air pollution. According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, we’ve got around 30 years to bring greenhouse gas emissions down to net zero to have any chance of minimising the impact of global warming.
In the race to achieve net zero emissions, transport is one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise because it currently relies on carbon-intensive infrastructure and heavy fossil fuel use. As most of us need some form of transport in our daily lives, we have to find ways to make it more sustainable. So how can we make transport greener and more sustainable?
What does green transport mean?
Green or eco-friendly transport is any mode of transport that doesn't have a negative impact on human health or the environment. It includes public and business transport, such as electric fleets, buses and trains. It also includes private transport like walking, biking, scooters and electric vehicles.
Green or eco-friendly transport doesn't rely on using up natural resources such as fossil fuels, but uses renewable energy sources instead. They’re focused on using resources efficiently, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality.
Why use sustainable transportation?
Transportation is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases, contributing around 122 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to 27% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions. Switching to more sustainable means of transport directly affects air quality by reducing carbon dioxide emissions and pollution.
Greener transport, such as electric vehicles, help reduce greenhouse gases and air pollutants, leading to cleaner air and fewer respiratory diseases associated with pollution, such as asthma and cancer. One electric vehicle on the road can save around 1.5 million grams of CO2 annually, the equivalent of four return flights from London to Barcelona.
Pollution also includes noise. An EV's quietness considerably reduces noise levels which is good for both humans and animals, as noise pollution can have a massive impact on the balance of the natural world.
An EV also doesn't require engine oil and the low wear on tyres and brakes means less dirt and dust going into the air. In fact, research has found that car tyres can produce 2,000 times more air pollution than fumes from the exhaust. Electric cars have lots of power, but they're easier on the tyres and brakes because they have good traction control.
How to accelerate the net-zero transition in transport?
The UK government have set an ambitious target of reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and has identified six strategic priorities to help the UK reach its net zero goals:
- Fast-tracking the move towards public transport
- Decarbonising road vehicles
- Decarbonising the transportation of goods and services
- Solutions for reducing emissions in specific locations
- Positioning the UK as a hub for green technology and innovation
- Reducing carbon across the global economy
Achieving net-zero emissions in transport is still a big challenge. What will it take to accelerate the transition? Here are four potential green transport solutions:
1. Recognise the role of EVs in net-zero transport
EVs are potentially the single most important technology for decarbonising transport. But to achieve the government's ambitious net-zero goals, there needs to be more focus on incentivising both the production and adoption of electric vehicles and improving EV infrastructure. The government's announcement that all new-build homes will be fitted with an EV charging point is a great first step. However, this should also introduce clean air zones and restrictions on non-EVs in urban areas.
2. Improved infrastructure for alternative sustainable travel
While EVs will undoubtedly be crucial in achieving the net zero target, there also needs to be infrastructure that is fit for purpose. There needs to be high-quality cycling and walking routes to provide alternatives to the car, while new housing and work developments should be designed to have good access to public transport.
3. Increased focus on training and education
To accelerate the transition to net zero, people must make changes to how they travel and be fully invested in the process. This will require an increased focus on training and education to build a workforce ready to fast-track new technologies and support the transition to zero-carbon transport.
4. Charging road users
Making London's congestion charge more responsive to the type of vehicle, congestion levels and the time of day and replicating the capital's Ultra Low Emission Zone across other UK cities will move us closer to achieving net zero, too.
Why EVs are the answer to achieving net zero
Achieving net zero is going to be much more likely if we replace the petrol and diesel cars on the road with electric vehicles. Unlike petrol and diesel cars, EVs don't emit carbon emissions and offer a much cleaner way to travel. But besides the environmental benefits of electric cars, you can also make huge savings by switching, as you'll no longer have to fill up with fuel or pay for road tax. It's the logical, greener transport option.
Why not make the switch to green transport today? At Octopus Electric Vehicles, we’ve got a great range of fully-electric vehicles from top brands like Audi, Kia, Nissan, Polestar, Tesla and VW. Browse our EVs to find the electric vehicle that's right for you. You can even spread the cost with our personal EV lease and get a free home charger installed.