The role of spatial planning and place-based solutions to achieve net-zero carbon transport

Earth is warming up day by day, and the main cause of this phenomenon is Increasing levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions, one of the main causes of global warming. Technological advances that have so far increased the wellbeing of many people, especially in the private transport sector, are now one of the main concerns affecting the growing levels of carbon dioxide. Tackling climate change requires greener technologies, infrastructure and modal shifts, and the implementation of stringent policies and behavioural change.

But usually, one of the main issues that arise when people talk about how to deal with climate crisis is to assume the fact that there is a unique solution for all possible scenarios. Actually, there is no single plan that can comply with all existing urban situations. Throughout history, cities have undergone many transformations, taking different forms and shapes depending on the land morphology, the presence of water elements, the civilisations that have passed through them, and many other natural and anthropological variables.

Research carried out by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), LDA Design, Vectos and City Science, and and presented in the report “Net Zero Transport: the role of spatial planning and place-based solutions”, showed how different places in England could achieve an 80% reduction in surface transport emissions by 2030, on a pathway to net zero carbon transport by 2050.

By combining advanced technologies, stakeholder involvement, and carbon reduction measures, the study focussed on the potential to reduce unnecessary trips, making active transport more efficient and supporting the shift towards cleaner vehicles.
The report stressed the importance of maximising the potential for local living by ensuring that most people can access a wide range of facilities and public spaces by walking and cycling, without needing a private vehicle to reach essential services.

The diversity of urban spaces makes more challenging the creation of sustainable plan able to address different questions raised by climate change. The report suggests that in order to make progress in reducing CO2 emissions and improving quality of citizens, an integrated public transportation system for every specific area must be part of the solution, together with a general change in human lifestyle.

You can download the report by clicking in this link.