Amid all the gloom about coronavirus, modal shift to public transport is centre stage in the government’s vision to decarbonise transport

 
Shapps: We will use our cars less

 
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said that public transport and active travel “will be the natural first choice for our daily activities” as the UK decarbonises its transport system.

In the foreword to the Department for Transport’s Decarbonising Transport document, which was published last week, Shapps added: “We will use our cars less and be able to rely on a convenient, cost-effective and coherent public transport network.”

Meanwhile, from motorcycles to HGVs, “all road vehicles will be zero emission”.

Shapps said there is overwhelming scientific evidence that we need to take action on climate change, and doing so is a clear priority for the government.

The scale of the challenge demands a step change in both the breadth and scale of ambition and we have a duty to act quickly and decisively to reduce emissions

“Transport has a huge role to play in the economy reaching net zero,” he stated. “The scale of the challenge demands a step change in both the breadth and scale of ambition and we have a duty to act quickly and decisively to reduce emissions.”

In the coming months the government will work with stakeholders to develop a Transport Decarbonisation Plan, setting out the policies and plans needed to tackle transport emissions.

The document last week places ‘accelerating modal shift to public and active transport’ among the government’s strategic priorities.

It states: “We want public transport and active travel to be the natural first choice for our daily activities. An important aspect of reducing emissions from transport will be to use our cars less and be able to rely on a convenient, cost-effective and coherent public transport network.

“For those able to do so, we would like cycling and walking to be the easy and obvious choice for short journeys. We are already exploring how we can use vehicles differently, such as through shared mobility.

“New technologies and business models may help facilitate modal shift, such as Mobility as a Service platforms. This will require behavioural changes and we will consider how government and others can support this shift through infrastructure and encouraging those forms of travel.”

It adds: “Decarbonisation of transport will not happen without users changing their behaviours. It is essential we continue to explore how best to encourage a shift to more sustainable and active travel and the adoption of zero carbon technologies and services to achieve a smooth transition to net zero transport.”