[Press release] Even with Global Shift to Mass Transit, Best-Practice Standards for Clean Vehicles and Fuels Key to Curbing Health Impacts
Released by the University of California, Davis and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) on September 17, 2014, this study examines how major changes in transport investments worldwide would affect urban passenger transport emissions and the mobility of different income groups. The authors evaluated two alternative futures: a business-as-usual scenario and a newly developed “High Shift” scenario in which governments significantly increase investments in public transit, walking, and bicycling infrastructure and reduce incentives for private car use. The study concludes that unmanaged growth in motor vehicle use threatens to exacerbate growing income inequality and environmental ills, while more sustainable transport delivers access for all, reducing these ills. This report’s findings could support wider agreement on climate policy, where costs and equity of the cleanup burden between rich and poor countries are key issues.
The ICCT supported this study by applying the Global Transportation Roadmap Model to evaluate the air pollution and health impacts of motor vehicles in urban areas under the baseline and High Shift transportation activity scenarios. Future growth in vehicle activity could produce a four-fold increase in associated early deaths by 2050 even with a global shift to mass transit. Adoption of best-practice motor vehicle emission controls and ultralow-sulfur fuels – consistent with or better than the latest Euro 6/VI standards adopted in Europe – across most of the world could save 1.36 million early deaths annually. Cleaner buses alone would account for 20 percent of these benefits. The ICCT’s work is summarized in the results chapter on Air Pollution and Public Health.