The new traffic plan in the city’s centre has triggered a 19% drop in traffic while increasing cycling by an average of 18%.
Good Move is the Regional Mobility Plan for the Brussels-Capital Region. Approved in 2020 by the Brussels Government, it defines the main policy guidelines in the field of mobility. This plan aims to improve the living environment of the people of Brussels, while supporting the demographic and economic development of the Brussels-Capital Region. In the city centre ‘pentagon’, the plan aims to change traffic flow through road closure and new one-way designation, thus leading to a less attractive driving experience.
After six months, the first results of the scheme have been unveiled, though local authorities state that it is too early to draw broad and sweeping conclusions. Initial findings indicate that the central part of Brussels has a reduced traffic flow, with more walking space, pedestrians, cyclists, reduced noise and cleaner air when compared to measurement prior to the scheme. Total traffic has fallen by approximately 19%, while morning and evening rush-hour cycling has risen by an approximately 23% and 13% respectively.
Alderman Dhondt was quoted in a press statement saying: “Many people have simply made a different mobility choice and switched to cycling or public transport, for example. The circulation plan thus contributes to the ultimate goal: a more pleasant city for everyone.”
Food transport in global supply chains is vital to the industry’s success as demand for diverse products increases. New modelling estimates the carbon footprint of food miles to be close to a fifth of all related emissions.
‘Food miles’ are a measurement based on the distance a product travels from farm to fork, or production to consumption. Environmental impact is measured in tonne-kilometre (tkm). Currently, the assessment of food miles is limited, with only a select few food items having a fully quantified food-mile analysis. A new study from The University of the West of England provides a more comprehensive estimate of global food miles and their impact – inputting countries of origin, destination countries, transport distances and food commodity masses.
In its write-up of the study, the European commission shared the following: “When the entire food supply chain was considered in this analysis the researchers found that global food miles equate to about 3.0 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) – higher than previously thought. This indicates that transport accounts for 19% of total food system emissions. The transport of fruit and vegetables contributes 36% of food miles emissions – around twice the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) released during their production. Food miles only contributed 18% of the total freight miles, but the researchers found that the emissions from these made up 27% of total freight emissions, mostly from international trade (18%).“
“The researchers also estimated the global food-system emissions to be 15.8 GtCO2e, equating to 30% of the world’s GHG emissions. With global food expenditure around US$5 trillion (€4.85 trillion) in 2017 and the global population rising annually, it is useful to consider the impacts of food miles on climate change. The researchers say that this should be coupled with more locally produced food items and add that improved food security through better food-systems management also requires integration of environmental protection targets.”
The reduction of emissions in last-mile deliveries and trips will aid in the de-carbonization of the food industry, with LEV vehicles such as electric cargo bikes offering a proven solution.
For the full study, see: Li, M., Jia, N., Lenzen, M., Malik, A., Wei, L., Jin, Y. and Raubenheimer, D. (2022) Global food-miles account for nearly 20% of total food-systems emissions. Nature Food, 3(6): 445–453. [Online version].
The latest European Environment Agency (EEA) report shows transport emissions have risen by 24% in the past 30 years.
One very crucial takeaway from the EEA analysis is that, although carbon emissions from most sectors have fallen significantly between 1990-2020, they have increased in the transport sector. Additionally, the Austrian Automotive Club (Verkehrsklubs Österreich) published a complimentary analysis of transport emissions per capita per country based on the EEA data for 2020.
According to the analysis, Luxembourg has the highest emissions per capita from transport at 7,355 kilograms of CO2 per capita. Next comes Austria with a considerably smaller 2,300 kilograms, and Slovenia with 2,180 kilograms. For comparison, the EU27 average sat at 1,545 kilograms.
Data from Eurostat in 2019 placed Luxembourg as the country with the highest rate of car ownership (681 cars per 1,000 people). While this statistic could be argued to explain the country’s CO2 transport emissions, it loses significance when compared to Italy which has approximately 666 cars per 1,000 people, but places 22nd of the 27 European countries for transport-related CO2 emissions.
The Luxembourg emission scenario becomes stranger still when considering the country’s free public transport policy, including cross-border travel. Transport specialists across Europe will be watching the country with interest in the coming years to see if it is able to successfully curb emissions.
The EU 27 by emissions from transport, from the Austrian Automotive Club research:
The usage of shared micromobility services has increased in recent years, particularly in urban areas. But can shared e-scooters and e-bikes contribute to the sustainability of cities and their transportation systems? To answer these and other questions, Fraunhofer ISI conducted a new study on behalf of the micromobility provider Lime by fusing mode shift survey data with lifecycle emissions data in six cities around the world. The study also sets out what implications these findings have for industry and practice.
Most recently, CO2 emissions in the global mobility and transport sector have increased by 8% in 2021 they are supposed to decrease by 20% by 2030 to meet international climate targets. To achieve these extremely challenging goals, a broad range of measures are necessary, including rapid electrification of road vehicles, an expansion of public transport and a better transport system network. New forms of shared micromobility have emerged over the past decade, especially in urban areas, complementing existing mobility offers with the promise to reduce urban transport’s carbon footprint.
However, it is currently heavily debated whether and, if so, to what extent shared e-scooters and e-bikes actually contribute to the goal of reducing CO2 emissions. Previous studies have primarily focused either on comparing single modes of transport through life cycle assessments (LCA) or on who uses these new modes for which purposes. Research on the overall consequences of micromobility usage for respective emissions of the transportation system, however, is limited. To increase the knowledge about the effects, Fraunhofer ISI has conducted a new study that aims to present a snapshot of case studies in six cities around the globe (Berlin, Dusseldorf, Paris, Stockholm, Melbourne and Seattle) and collects the data of shared micromobility users with a total sample size of 4,167 individuals. The data was provided by the shared micromobility provider Lime. To calculate the emission impact of the individual’s behaviour, existing LCA data was combined with the latest generation shared Lime e-scooters and e-bikes by Anthesis on behalf of Lime, and both were adjusted to the characteristics of the cities in question.
Shared e-scooters and e-bikes can help to reduce carbon emissions The study’s findings show that the latest generation of shared e-scooters and e-bikes can reduce net carbon emissions. These are defined as the differences between the life cycle assessment emissions per passenger kilometre (pkm) of the shared micromobility mode and the modes people would have used if shared e-scooters or e-bikes would not have been available. This analysis was carried out for transportation systems in the six surveyed cities: The largest effects for shared e-scooters are observed in Melbourne (-42.4 g/pkm) and Seattle (-37.7 g/pkm) which can be explained by a considerably higher CO2 intensity of electricity used for public transport and electric cars compared to the European cities. But also Dusseldorf (-22.1 g/pkm), Paris and Stockholm (-20.7 g/pkm) show effects of reduced emissions while e-scooters in Berlin show smaller reductions (-14.8 g/pkm). In all cities, the net carbon impact of shared e-bikes is less beneficial than shared e-scooters. Large emission reductions are estimated for Dusseldorf (-20.4 g/pkm), Paris (-15.4 g/pkm), Seattle (-15.2 g/pkm), and Melbourne (-13.7 g/pkm), while the estimated emissions for Berlin increase (+13.0 g/pkm). This can be explained due to smaller shares of shared e-bike trips replacing individual motorized modes and by their lower usage intensity compared to shared e-scooters.
A deeper analysis at the transportation mode level helps to further explain the effects observed at the city scale for all locally available Lime services. For this task, the study estimated total emissions by upscaling the survey assessment with usage patterns for the study period (May and June 2022) provided by Lime. In fact, the largest differences in net emissions by replaced modes originate from ride-hailing or taxi services (-679.3 and -541.0 g CO2 equivalents per trip for shared e-bikes and e-scooters respectively) and personal combustion cars (-334.6 and -272.9 g). When shifting from these highly emitting modes to shared micromobility, the net emissions reduction is quite substantial. On the other hand, shared micromobility can also lead to increased emissions when for example personal e-bike usage (+126.3 and +18.8 g) and walking (+109.9 and +39.4 g) is replaced by using a shared e-scooter or shared e-bike, or when a trip that would not have taken place before is now undertaken with a shared e-scooter or e-bike (+65.6 and +199.3 g). However, the increase in emissions tends to be smaller than the reduced emissions of the previous mode shifts.
Konstantin Krauss, a mobility researcher at Fraunhofer ISI and co-author of the study, states: “Our results show that the crucial factor for the net impacts of shared micromobility is the number of trips replacing the highest-emitting transportation modes such as ride-hailing and trips with combustion cars in comparison to induced, active mode, and public transport trips. For all results, however, we need to consider uncertainty in the stated – not observed – responses of the participants and a range of uncertainties of +/-25% in LCA numbers: The applied LCA numbers are estimates also based on assumptions for factors such as vehicle lifetimes or operations. For the responses of the riders, we use the stated preferences of the respondents only, so we did not observe their real mode shift behaviour. Moreover, the question of how the currently progressing electrification of car, bus, taxi and ride-hailing fleets will decrease the impact of micromobility to net climate impacts remains open.“
Recommendations for industry, micromobility providers, and city planners But what can be done to further enhance the sustainability benefits of shared micromobility? Dr Claus Doll, Fraunhofer ISI mobility expert and co-author of the study, has the following recommendations for industry, micromobility providers, and city planners: “On the one hand, the industry should further extend vehicle lifespans, continue to decarbonize manufacturing by contributing to a circular economy, and use partnerships to induce favourable mode shift from taxi, ride-hailing and personal cars. And on the other hand, providers and city planners should jointly work towards a better connection of micromobility and public transport by for instance establishing mobility hubs and reliable intermodal travel planning tools for seamless transfers.” He adds that the shift effects from public transport and walking to shared micromobility should be kept at a minimum.
Andrew Savage, Vice President for Sustainability at Lime, underlines the strides Lime and the industry have made in decarbonizing their service over a short timespan: “The examples of the six cities show that shared e-scooters and shared e-bikes can help to make cities more sustainable and liveable by reducing emissions and expanding the mobility offer. The findings underscore the important work we must continue to decarbonize our supply chain, operations and facilities so that shared micromobility will continue to reduce the carbon footprint of urban mobility.“
Comments Off on EP votes ICE-cars and vans out by 2035
In a plenary vote on 8 June, Members of the European Parliament adopted their position on proposed rules to revise the CO2 emissions performance standards for new cars and vans with 339 votes in favour, 249 against and 24 abstentions.
With the adopted text, which constitutes Parliament’s position to negotiate with member states, MEPs support the Commission proposal to reach zero-emission road mobility by 2035 (an EU fleet-wide target to reduce the emissions produced by new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles by 100% compared to 2021). Intermediate emissions reduction targets for 2030 would be set at 55% for cars and 50% for vans.
Additional details of Parliament’s proposed measures are available here.
Rapporteur Jan Huitema (Renew, NL) said: ‘An ambitious revision of CO2-standards is a crucial part of reaching our climate targets. With these standards, we are creating clarity for the car industry and can stimulate innovation and investments for car manufacturers. In addition, purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers. I am thrilled that the European Parliament has backed an ambitious revision of the targets for 2030 and supported a 100% target for 2035, which is crucial to reach climate neutrality by 2050.’
MEPs are now ready to start negotiations with EU member states.
On 14 July 2021, as part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, the Commission presented a legislative proposal for a revision of the CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The proposal aims to contribute to the EU 2030 and 2050 climate objectives, to deliver benefits to citizens by deploying zero-emission vehicles more broadly (better air quality, energy savings and lower costs for owning a vehicle), as well as to stimulate innovation in zero-emission technologies.
Transportation accounts for 25% of total global CO2 emissions, primarily through fuel combustion. In many large cities, such as Barcelona and Madrid, combustion engine vehicle density has escalated air pollution levels to exceedingly high values. In line with European health legislation, many such cities have been forced to implement action plans to alleviate this issue; this includes low emission zones and vehicle environmental impact assessments.
A current emerging trend is electrifying mobility, with electric vehicle ownership increasing by a factor of ten in the last 5 years. These vehicles are perceived to have a significantly lower environmental impact than their combustion engine counterparts. Carranza et al. now analyze this environmental disparity in the context of Barcelona and motorcycles – in Spain, there was an 8.7% growth of motorcycle registrations in 2021 compared to the previous year. Understanding the potential for developing battery-electric motorcycle technology to reduce the environmental impact of motorcycle use in Spain is therefore crucial for limiting the country’s emissions going forward.
When analyzing the environmental impact of any vehicle there are multiple stages to consider – manufacturing, maintenance, operation, and disposal; however, the operational stage is where the most impact takes place. In internal combustion engine vehicles, direct emissions from fuel during their lifecycle equate to a value 10 times higher than their electric counterparts (6670 kgCO2-eq global warming potential compared to 650 kgCO2-eq). The source of electricity for battery electric vehicles does of course impact their individual emissions, doubling if supplied by purely coal plants; however, even at their highest point, operational emissions are still far below those of internal combustion vehicles.
Electric vs combustion engine
Considering all aspects of lifecycle, the global warming potential of battery-electric motorcycles is approximately one-fifth of internal combustion engine motorcycles, showing them to be a promising alternative. Regarding air pollution, the results of photochemical oxidation formation were 30% lower for electric motorcycles.
Electromobility will play a fundamental role in the transformation of densely populated and pollution-troubled European cities such as Barcelona. To read the full open access study, offering additional analysis and findings, click here.
Recently published studies in The Lancet Planetary Health journal link some 1.8 million excess deaths and nearly 2 million asthma cases to air pollution globally in 2019.
These findings reveal the desperate need for strategies to improve air pollution and reduce harmful exposures – particularly to the most vulnerable groups in society, children and the elderly. It has been revealed that 2.5 billion people, 86% of those living in urban areas worldwide, are exposed to unhealthy particulate matter levels. World Health Organisation (WHO) states, “there is a close, quantitative relationship between exposure to high concentrations of small particulates and increased mortality or morbidity, both daily and over time.”
The European Commission is currently preparing a legislative proposal that acts to more closely align EU air quality standards to those recommended by WHO; this will make up one part of the flagship European Green Deal, planned for late 2022. The deal is crucial as many European locations fall behind the NO2 limit. There are currently 13 infringement cases open against member states, with NO2 concentrations in these locations continually exceeding the upper limit of 40 μg/m3.
It should be noted, that pollution in the EU has seen a general decrease in the last two decades, including key pollutants PM2.5 and NO2. While this is positive, there is a long road to cleaner air and a healthier society; even with these improvements, NO2 was still associated with 1.85 million new pediatric asthma cases in 2019.
A new study published in Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment reveals commuter LEV preference and impact.
The research provides insight into travel behavior in the rapidly expanding micromobility market, analyzing the data of over 500 users. Understanding the influences on mode choice is essential for successful transport planning, allowing service providers and policymakers to better implement transport options in urban and rural areas.
The first findings show that all else equal, the choice of transport mode is fundamentally altered by trip distance, precipitation,and access distance. Generally, users are willing to walk between 60-200m to access shared micromobility services; however, the ability to pre-book devices can extend this travel distance. Consumer choice patterns such as these should be fully considered when implimenting shared transport options, or undertaking vehicle repositioning schemes.
The study also provides insight into the CO2 emissions of e-bikes and e-scooters, crucial for future policy when aiming to reduce transport-related pollution in city centres. It is found that while personal e-bikes and e-scooters emit less CO2 than the transport modes they replace, shared e-bikes and e-scooters emit more – though still less than a personal car. This goes against the common vision that shared mobility in city centres is a ‘green’ option; operational services and vehicle manufacturing are the two main emission contributers.
While this may be a negative in the short-term, shared services can aid in sparking a sustainable mobility movement if long-term usage leads to personal ownership; additionally, city administrators may collaborate with micromobility providors to reduce emissions in the two main release stages.
Comments Off on POLIS and ALICE launch joint guide for a zero-emission 2030
The strategic plan aims to lead transformation in cities so that urban logistics proactively respond to the pollution, congestion, safety, and environmental challenges to create liveable, prosperous, resilient, and safer cities.