Seven of eight urban citizens breathe air that fails to meet WHO safe levels. Although transport is mainly to blame, societies need mobility of people and goods to function and develop.
A interconnected transport system provides flexible mobility in travel times, forms of transport, and service providers, while today many people’s daily transport choices are being dictated by previous investments in, for example, a car.
The transport sharing economy is an opportunity to ride together and transport things collectively, which will bring down congestion and air pollution from emissions. It is crowd transport.
Imagine living in a city where all your activities are within reach on foot, by bike or through a well-connected transport system. A low-transport city is such a place.
The mobility of people, goods, and information is critical in a global economy. The economic market today is global; goods produced in one part of the world are often consumed or used elsewhere. Transportation of goods across air, sea, and land presents economic opportunities, but also creates significant environmental and health challenges, including localized air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Urban areas are particularly exposed to transport-related air pollution because large numbers of vehicles emit at ground level in highly populated areas. In addition to the physical impacts, mental aspects of a busy transport system include stress and disorientation.
Rapid global urbanization often comes with an increase in vehicle miles travelled and emissions. Even though private cars account for less than one-third of trips in cities worldwide, they are responsible up to 70 percent of urban air pollution. One cause of the high number of private cars is increasing urban spatial expansion – resulting in people driving longer. By 2050, it has been estimated that the global vehicle fleet could triple to 2 billion cars, with the number of
trucks doubling. Eighty percent of this growth is expected to occur in developing economies that will experience a sharp rise in cars on the road as their economic development continues. However, very high HDI countries such as France and the UK have also recently experienced such high levels of air pollution that local authorities had to intervene.
The main air quality issues are associated with the following pollutants: sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), airborne particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5), lead (Pb), carbon monoxide (CO), benzene (C6H6), and ozone (O3). In addition, CO2 emissions from transport are a global challenge, as the transport sector is struggling to reduce these emissions. Emissions from the global shipping industry amount to around 1 billion tonnes a year, accounting for 3 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Without action, these emissions are expected to more than double by 2050.
Outdoor air pollution kills more than three million people globally each year, and causes health problems ranging from asthma to heart diseases. This results in a cost of 3.5 trillion USD each year for OECD societies plus China and India. Late in 2015 the chinese authorities issued for the first time a red alert because of alarming high air pollution. In China, deaths due to outdoor air pollution from transport rose by 5 percent from 2005 to 2010, and, in India, this number increased by 12 percent. Even though the number of deaths in India is just over half the number in China, the trend in India is increasing faster. Other studies show that pollution-related health costs reach as much as 5 percent of GDP in some cities in medium and low HDI countries, over 90 percent of which can be attributed to vehicle emissions.
Thus far, inclusion of international transport emissions in a global climate policy framework has proven difficult. The international transport sector is a truly global industry. Regulating
emissions from international transport will not only have economic impacts, but must be measured against the norms of established legal frameworks such as World Trade Organization (WTO) law.