The Compact City Scenario – Electrified
The impacts of climate change are already wreaking havoc on ecosystems and economies. To meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and for a chance of limiting global warming to less than 1.5°C, governments worldwide will need to use every possible policy tool to reduce emissions from transportation. Neither vehicle electrification nor mode shift is sufficient alone: the world needs both.
In The Compact City Scenario – Electrified, researchers from ITDP and the University of California, Davis Institute for Transportation Studies (with support from the ClimateWorks Foundation) have found that the only way to prevent the worst effects of climate change is to engage in a comprehensive strategy of compact, mixed-use cities built around walking, cycling, and public transit, combined with investments in electric vehicles. Embracing walking, cycling, and public transit over the next decade can quickly reduce the demand for car travel, buying time for electric vehicle technology to improve. Only electrification and mode shift combined can keep emissions below the threshold curve.
To reduce emissions enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change, cities must be built and designed differently. Urban planning policies that make it easier to travel without a car are paramount. These policies include:
- Dense, mixed-use, transit-oriented development;
- Reallocation of space from cars to sidewalks, protected bicycle lanes, and public transit;
- Shifting funding from highways and roads to mass public transit.
If cities around the world employ those policies while also switching to electric vehicles, emissions from urban passenger transport would fall to a level consistent with limiting global warming to less than 2°C — and possibly less than 1.5°C.
Compact Cities Electrified – Country Series
While the original report was both global and regional, ITDP is also producing a series of Compact Cities Electrified country-specific reports that leverages local contexts and data to outline various regional scenarios for the future of urban transport. Access the additional reports for:
- Continue Reading on the ITDP Blog →
- Watch the “Compact Cities Electrified” Panel at Transforming Transportation 2023 →
- Watch “The Compact City Scenario Electrified” video →
- Download “The Compact City Scenario Electrified” infographic →
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