Transportation has been fundamental to human society and economies throughout the ages, enabling trade through the movement of goods and materials; and the transfer of skills, ideas and the growth of communities through the spread of people. The democratisation of transport and increased access to travel has been key to enabling ever more people to venture ever further in the modern globalised era in which the world has become ‘smaller’. However, the current levels of mobility are an unsustainable threat to our future, the global transport sector now accounts for 23% of energy related carbon emissions and in some countries such as the UK is the largest contributing sector to carbon emissions. Despite efforts, progress towards more sustainable mobility has been slow with the world bank stating:
The world is off track to achieving sustainable mobility. The growing demand for moving people and goods is increasingly met at the expense of future generations
José Luis Irigoyen, Senior Director of the Transport & ICT Global Practice at the World Bank
Indeed, the contribution of the transport sector to global emissions is likely to get worse with global air traffic passenger demand currently growing at an annual rate of 7%, averaged over the last five years, equivalent to a doubling rate of total passenger demand of 10 years. Furthermore, there is a need to improve access to transport in developing countries, about 450 million people in Africa, more than 70% of its total rural population, are estimated to have been left unconnected to transport, and emissions could grow by 40% by 2040. Global Mobility Report 2017. Additionally, in the UK, the Committee for Climate Change has criticised the sector for failing to make anything like the progress demonstrated by the power industry in responding to the threat of climate change.