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Transport and the environment: the need for policy for long-term radical change

Transport and the environment: the need for policy for long-term radical change

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Although transport is an activity fundamental to society, it is also accepted that it has negative impacts. The problem for policy is how to promote economic growth while reducing environmental impacts. The response of society, so far, is inadequate to solve these problems. Dramatic reduction in emissions, are necessary. Most policy analysis does not consider dramatic changes. An important aspect of the limited time horizon of analysis and policy is that there are few plausible and specific visions of very-low-emission transport systems. Directed processes of change—transitions—to new forms of transport are required, in terms of transport systems, the structure of the built environment and lifestyles, and culture. It requires the consideration of how to initiate social and economic processes that will transform transportation. Policy must provide the direction and processes while realising that the ability to control outcomes in detail is limited. The literature on technology transitions is helpful here. The transportation-demand-management (TDM) literature shows how to change behaviour, in particular the need for packages of mutually supporting actions and policies. The literature on sustainable consumption also has useful ideas for strategies to effect behavioural change, similar in some respects to the technological-transitions literature.

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