Reimagining Green Transportation: ITS for Climate Impact Mitigation

Reimagining Green Transportation: ITS for Climate Impact Mitigation

Launched during the recent 18th IRF World Meeting & Exhibition in Dubai, a new IRF report titled “ITS for Climate Impact Mitigation” addresses the important role of Intelligent Transport Systems and Services in contributing to carbon emission reductions and in helping the road sector meet is climate impact mitigation targets.

Currently, the transport sector is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, driven by the fact that fossil fuels remain the dominant source of energy consumption. The sector is responsible for approximately 16% of global GHG emissions, making it the third-largest contributor to GHG pollution after energy and buildings. In addition, the ITF Transport Outlook 2021 predicts that the global transport activity is expected to more than double by 2050, due to population growth and economic development and traffic emissions are expected to rise by 16% compared to 2015. Any currently expected emissions reductions will thus be more than offset by the increased demand for transport.

The ITS industry and public policy stakeholders have a major role to play in the fight against global warming. A stronger dialogue between the “climate community” and the “ITS community” is now needed if this fight is to succeed.

In November 2020, the IRF ITS Committee decided to establish the ITS for Climate Impact Mitigation Taskforce to build knowledge among road transport stakeholders from public and private sectors and to identify appropriate, feasible and effective decarbonization measures. The Taskforce’s work has included a comprehensive review of existing ITS solutions and their impact, and their potential contribution to reduce substantially the carbon emissions due to road transport.

Recognising the need for the road transport sector to deliver a quick, affordable and effective response to the climate emergency, the Taskforce decided to identify the most powerful smart mobility tools to be deployed in cities, regions and on national road networks. These may be deployed individually or combined, but the greatest reduction of emissions can be achieved by using all of them, everywhere. Some already have a proven track record of delivering large reductions in emissions, while others may need to be adapted, enhanced or optimized for lowest-emissions.

In using IRF’s new guidance note, actors can now choose among tools that are most appropriate for their own sphere of activity. When combining multiple tools as a bundle, the total reduction in emissions achieved may not be the sum of the potential savings of all tools individually; however, bundling can also reduce costs and increase total emission reductions.

More intelligent transport systems are needed to reshape transportation and meet global commitments. The arrival of new digital technologies has opened up new opportunities to make existing transport systems more efficient, user-friendly and sustainable. We invite interested stakeholders to join forces with the IRF and equip the transport & road mobility community with the knowledge resources needed to help it prepare for the challenges ahead.  

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