‘Real Zero’ in a hurry: place-based decarbonisation for transport
Online: 13-17 September 2021
Registration is now closed. If you would like to join, please email DecarboN8@leeds.ac.uk
About the Conference
How can we shift from three decades of drift in climate policy in the transport sector to move to rapid, deep and early reductions in emissions in line with the carbon budgets implied by the Paris Agreement? How can the theoretical pathways be translated into socially deliverable actions? Or do we need a different basis for planning this radical transition?
Climate change is a global problem but getting transport to zero emissions will require coordination across international, national, regional, and local jurisdictions. Different places face different transport challenges, have different resources, and will require different solutions. Too often however, technological pathways assume away the important geographical, historical, technological and sociological contexts which shape what will work where and how any such decisions will impact across populations. The DecarboN8 network was established specifically to develop a place-based understanding of decarbonisation. This conference builds on DecarboN8’s experiences, seeks to challenge broad-brush technocratic approaches to climate change, and to promote the development of a place-based understanding of socially just transition to zero carbon transport.
The DecarboN8 Conference welcomes contributions from around the world to look at what works where (and why) and what will need to be done to deliver the transition. The conference invites contributions from across the spectrum of interests and interventions required to deliver the radical change needed. It looks upstream to whole life-cycle implications, across to the integration with wider energy systems, as well as addressing how we move people and goods and how much mobility that might entail. It welcomes analysis of people, communities, activities, businesses and governments as key actors.
Two elements mark out this conference as different from other decarbonisation events. First, is the emphasis on place-based thinking. This is about understanding how rapid decarbonisation is actually going to work on the ground. The second (related) emphasis is on societal readiness. How can transport decarbonisation be delivered in ways that enhance, rather than detract from, human wellbeing and flourishing? What about people, communities, cultures and generations who are often forgotten in discussions about transport? How do different people experience and interact with different mobility systems and expectations – past, present, and future – and how can such understandings inform action?
The DecarboN8 International Conference’s framing is ‘Real Zero’. Many nations have set ‘Net Zero’ targets which allow creative carbon accounting: promising that today’s carbon overspend will be paid off by future generations through expensive and as-yet unproven (at scale) negative emissions technologies. For us ‘Net Zero’ can imply inaction and the privileging of emissions for aviation, which has huge equity implications. Our focus is on how to reduce emissions from transport to ‘Real Zero’ to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Detailed Conference Programme
Monday 13 September 2021
Opening Plenary: Welcome, Ministerial Address & Decarbonising Places
Monday 13 Sept 10:00 – 11:00 (BST)
Chair: Kevin Anderson (DecarboN8, University of Manchester and Uppsala University)
Rachel Maclean MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport
Rachel Maclean was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport on 14 February 2020. She was elected Conservative MP for Redditch in 2017.
As Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Rachel has responsibility for:
- future of transport (including future of freight)
- environment (including transport decarbonisation)
- transition period activity and future relations with the EU
- international, exports and inward investment
- secondary legislation
Greg Marsden, DecarboN8 Director, University of Leeds
Greg Marsden is Professor of Transport Governance at the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds. He has researched issues surrounding the design and implementation of new policies for over 20 years covering a range of issues. He is an expert in climate and energy policy in the transport sector and is the Transport Decarbonisation Champion for EPSRC. He is the Principal Investigator on the DecarboN8 network where he is responsible for integrating a new place based approach to decarbonising transport. Greg co-chairs the Commission on Travel Demand which has published influential studies on travel demand and shared mobility. He is the Secretary General of the World Conference on Transport Research Society and the Chair of the Special Interest Group on Governance. He has served as an advisor to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee and regularly advises local, national and international governments.
Talks: Place-based case studies & insights
Monday 13 Sept 11:00 – 12:30 (BST)
Chair: Karol Kurnicki, Lancaster University
The challenge of decarbonising transport in peri-urban areas: a case study of Greater Manchester
Beate Kubitz, Beate Kubitz Associates
Using a simple dichotomy of ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ in looking at the transport decarbonisation challenge overlooks ‘peri-urban’ communities and environments: areas of non-contiguous urban sprawl largely based on car-dependent residential and commercial development. This paper considers the necessity of serving such types of place with low carbon integrated transport by analysing trip generation in those areas. It concludes that measures are required to provide access to transport outside the urban core, otherwise we will fail the transport decarbonisation challenge. The paper focuses on Greater Manchester – the area served by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) – as an example of a transport network across a larger urban area. In Manchester, under 600,000 of the 2.8 million inhabitants live in the very urban core. The remaining 2 million plus live in a more diffuse area of interconnected towns and suburbs across 9 boroughs. Detailed mapping of transport connectivity by TfGM shows these surrounding boroughs to be less well connected with smaller areas of high connectivity than the city centre. Analysis shows that large numbers of private car trips originate in these less dense and less connected areas but end in the areas best connected by public transport. Interviews indicate the experience of people living in these areas is that it is currently unrealistic to expect modal shift. The time penalties are too great to use public transport and roads are unsafe for cycling. The resulting car-based trips undermine public transport (through congestion), reduce air quality and are relatively carbon dense. The paper concludes by considering measures to reduce transport emissions in these areas. This paper is based on research for a Foundation for Integrated Transport fellowship.
The impacts of Covid-19 road-space reallocation measures in the north of England
Richard Weston, University of Central Lancashire
This paper presents results from a study of the Covid-19 road-space reallocation programmes of two local authorities in the North of England: Sheffield and Lancashire. Both councils have implemented temporary and longer-term measures since the start of the pandemic, including pop-up cycle lanes, modal filters, and pedestrian zones, to support social distancing and promote active travel. The emphasis on these two local authorities contributes to place-based insights owing to their contrasting geographic and administrative characteristics, and pre-existing travel patterns. This study uses online data collection techniques over a 12-month period to gather longitudinal data on the impacts of Covid-19 on travel behaviour, attitudes to active travel and evaluates the use of the temporary road-space reallocation measures. An initial survey captured travel behaviour across the two local authority areas before, during, and after the first UK lockdown (March 2020) indicating substantial changes, with walking, cycling, and car use increasing at the expense of public transport. On-going follow-up travel diaries bring further nuance to evidence around the longer-term impact of the pandemic and the emerging ‘new normal’ on travel behaviour. The evidence gathered provides insights on the potential impacts on decarbonising transport – particularly in encouraging more active modes of travel. This is relevant for both commuter journeys but also leisure and shopping trips; our initial survey showed a substantial shift to more localised trips, many of which were sustained once the first national lockdown was lifted. The extent of shifts in travel behaviour; the effect of the temporary measures, and the longer-term picture will provide important insights for policymakers responding to both the pandemic and the longer-term challenge of transport decarbonisation.
(co-authors: Stephen Parkes, Tony Gore, Mary Lawler)
Visualising actIve TrAveL wIth pakiStani familiEs in Bradford (VITALISE): a participatory project
Zahara Batool, University of Leeds
The role of societal and behaviour change in meeting the UK’s Net Zero emissions target by 2050 is fundamental. To achieve this, millions more journeys need to be walked or cycled. However, across the UK, we do not yet walk and cycle enough short trips to make a difference. There are several reasons including: many people find it difficult to get out of the habit of using a car for every journey, there are not enough safe routes for people to use for walking or cycling, and lower participation within some communities. Whilst current data on diversity within active travel indicates persistent inequalities across gender, age, and socio-demographic status, there is little understanding of individuals’ and communities’ lived experience in this context. This project has proposed placed-based, community-centred engagement framework to collaborate with practitioners, activities and local community to upscale active travel using photovoice. The aim is to encourage critical consciousness of active travel by using the Photovoice method, and consequently facilitate change. The plan is to co-engage with Pakistani origin families in Bradford. Participants will be asked to reflect on everyday journeys by discussing photos they take of what matters to them in the travel environment, good and bad. Hence, allowing them to speak up and voice opinions about the challenges they perceive and identify solutions which they consider can best match their social and cultural needs. The results will be shared with decision-makers by holding a community exhibition of the pictures and inviting them to engage in policy-dialogue with participants.
(co-authors: Kate Pangbourne)
Panel: Ready or not? Societal Readiness Assessment for Real-Zero in a Hurry
Monday 13 Sept 11:00 – 13:00 (BST)
Ahead of the 26th Conference of Parties in Glasgow, UK in November 2021, techno-managerial solutions to the climate emergency abound: electric and autonomous vehicles, sustainable smart city dashboards, offsetting, carbon capture and geo-engineering dominate global political agendas. John Kerry’s recent assertion that ‘50% of the reductions we have to make to get to net zero are going to come from technologies that we don’t yet have (Murray 2021), adds momentum to this solutionist politics.
Technological innovation may indicate a well-intentioned commitment to take responsibility, but it is also a distraction from the challenges of societal change. Indeed, it sidesteps societal change, and may even be designed to sustain extractive-destructive capitalist socio-economic orders, promoting the message ‘that nothing really has to change’ (Swyngedouw 2015:610).
But millions of people want change. Greta Thunberg’s 5 million Twitter followers and 485 Xtinction Rebellion groups in 70 countries (Taylor 2020) are the vanguard of a majority of citizens worldwide who recognise climate change as a major threat. Between 59 and 83% of citizens in 14 countries are significantly concerned about climate change (Pew Research Centre 2020). Climate-smart COVID recovery is an opportunity for transformation (Freudendal Pedersen and Kesselring 2020).
However, many technical and social innovations will not work. For example, the UK would need 20% more electricity generating capacity to approach 80% electrification by 2050 (Henderson 2020). Promises to make this 100% renewable and meet the demand that a £27bn road building scheme will generate, ‘can only be interpreted as either blatant dishonesty or failure to understand the science’ (Anable in Topham 2021). This puts policy-makers, local authorities and decision makers in organisations in a very difficult position. How do you decide which innovations might work for your local context? How to assess them? And how to work towards more effective socio-technical responses to the climate emergency? How to ensure mobility justice (Sheller 2017). In this panel we present the DecarboN8 Societal Readiness Assessment framework (Büscher and Spurling 2019), explore its potential from different perspectives and invite the audience to discuss its potential for ‘real-zero in a hurry’.
Chair: Monika Büscher, DecarboN8, Lancaster University
Societal Readiness Assessment & Climate Change Response-ability
Monika Büscher, DecarboN8 / Centre for Mobilities Research, Lancaster University
Connected Places Catapult
Tim D Gale
Talks: Community and Neighbourhood Actions
Monday 13 Sept 14:00 – 16:00 (BST)
Chair: Samarthia Thankappan (DecarboN8, University of York)
Using Neighbourhood Plans to Decarbonise Local Transport via Neighbourhood Plans: A systems perspective
Caglar Koksal, University of Manchester
This research asks what good governance models conducive to bring about the imminent transformation needed to decarbonise transport exist. In an attempt to answer this question, it investigates the extent to which neighbourhood plans can be a good governance framework to offer place-based, community-led solutions to decarbonise local travel choices and transport infrastructure. Neighbourhood planning was introduced by the Localism Act 2011 to give communities direct power to shape the development and growth of their area. Since its introduction, neighbourhood planning has been proved to be very popular: with close to 3000 neighbourhood areas designated and more than 800 plans passed local referenda to become part of statutory development plans for their local area. However, research shows that many of these plans do not have a measurable and tangible action plan to deliver a lower carbon future. Much less a low carbon transport future. This research uses Carnforth, a small market town in Lancashire, as a pilot to explore the ways in which sustainable transport can be integrated into the development of a neighbourhood plan. It uses a systems mapping tool called causal loop diagramming, to help create the conditions in which communities can identify practical ways of integrating sustainable transport policies into their built environment and lifestyles, be empowered and lead change to just transition to lower carbon futures from the bottom up. The research will also showcase one of the outputs from the project, a toolkit to decarbonise local transport via neighbourhood plans, and report back the feedback received so far.
(co-authors: Mark Baker)
Street experiments between engagement, grassroot actions and antagonism: the case of Turin Mobility Lab
Ersilia Verlinghieri, TSU University of Oxford and Turin Polytechnic
Automobility, the dominant paradigm of car-based system of transport and mobility, together with contributing substantially to the climate crisis, has also contributed growingly to the substantial corrosion of public space. The Covid19 pandemic, with the sudden paralysis of commuting and a return to a very localized scale of movement coupled with the reduced capacity of public transport, has been seen by many policymakers as an opportunity for reversing this trend, with a first flow of substantial incentives for pedestrianizations, new cycle lanes or low traffic neighbourhoods aiming at repurposing a portion of urban roads to other road users. Environmental and health discourses entangled with ideas around the 15-min city or superblocks and national and international funds have inspired many public administrations to boost pro-active travel interventions, and, in doing so, increasingly experimenting new governance formats.
These rapid changes to urban infrastructure have been however coupled with wide conflicts and criticisms, primarily by citizens and groups in defence of the right to drive. These come into play between the urgent necessity of taking actions to reduce urban pollution and climate change emissions and the need to maintain flows of traffic and people which sustain current urban processes and economies. The widespread resistance on the part of various urban actors towards strategies adopted to reduce the use of highly polluting transport (primarily cars, but also air mobility), is the signal that the ‘normalization’ of unrelated mobility practices to the private car (or frequent airflight) is a far-reaching challenge that goes beyond the simple reform or infrastructural improvement and that requires a profound socio-political transformation.
A fundamental research gap exists in this direction, with very limited studies available which examine the complexity of these interventions, their framing and their governance, trying to unravel and follow the different conflicts and meanings which the street assumes and how these can be brought together in the fight for decarbonising transport. This is specifically needed when local authorities are themselves experimenting new planning strategies, with street experiments and temporary road changes becoming common practices in many cities.
Our paper critically explores these themes starting from the experience of the Torino Mobility Lab, a collaborative proposal for a super-block like intervention, including several street experiments, in San Salvario, a semi-central neighbourhood of Turin, Italy, a city whose development and history is strongly entangled with the emergence of the private car as cardinal point of economy and life. By tracing the genealogy of the project, the views of the actors involved and the network of relations at the base of its conflictual formation, we show the complexity and contested coexistence of different meanings and processes linked to the reimagining of both urban mobility and public space. We show how these conflicts, more than being linked infrastructural arrangements are embedded in the problematic and messy governance of transport interventions, which has very limited capacity to create healthy spaces for participation and agonism. We also show how however the contribution of territorial actors and self-organised citizens becomes a fundamental resource for rethinking public space and creating novel opportunities for agonism and debate crucial to open up the neighbourhood to slower forms of mobility.
(Co-authors: Elisabetta Vitale Brovarone, Luca Staricco)
The crucial role of community engagement and empowerment in achieving swift, sure and just progress to decarbonise transport
Jools Townsend, Community Rail Network
Decarbonising transport demands unparalleled, rapid shifts in public behaviours, turning the tide on decades of increasingly car-orientated lifestyles. The car has become so embedded in our society and identities, we face a fraught, lengthy process of change, with resistance and conflict as space and priority is taken away from the motorist and we aim to make public transport and active travel the ‘natural choice’. Yet experience among community-led initiatives such as community rail, local walking and cycling campaigns, as well as citizen assemblies, points to the promise of putting communities in the driving seat. Such bottom-up approaches produce mutually-reinforcing benefits: ensuring that policy, infrastructure and service improvements are place-based, suited to local needs; while building awareness, efficacy, positivity and ownership around such improvements and appetite for the behavioural shifts to accompany them. ‘Build it and they will come’ perhaps most applies if the community has spearheaded the building themselves. This aligns with cross-disciplinary research suggesting localised, interactive, empowering approaches, building a social mandate, may be most effective in achieving sustainable practices and sustainable forms of development. I will show how this approach, with its positive feedback loops, can accelerate change and achieve a just transition. Yet challenges remain: community groups report difficulties securing progress on modal integration especially, and the post-Covid landscape presents barriers as well as opportunities. I propose that empowering communities on sustainable transport, enabling and facilitating local people and partners to coalesce, deliberate, collaborate and lead the way, should be a priority for policy makers and practitioners.
Community-centric approach to developing sustainable transport in a Smart Local Energy System
Adam Peacock, Keele University (UK) and Philipp Thiessen, Connected Places Catapult
Zero Carbon Rugeley is one of the future design projects within the UK Government’s ‘Prospering from the Energy Revolution’ programme–situated in the heart of the government’s net zero industrial strategy. The project aims to develop a Smart Local Energy System for the town of Rugeley, in turn creating innovative, replicable, scalable energy solutions and design processes to be implemented by 2030. The central component of this work is to integrate new technologies that would enable decarbonising the transport in Rugeley. A user-centric design approach is utilised, focusing on co-producing the design with ‘energy users’ in the Rugeley geography. This required understanding how the users currently engaged with transport in the local area. For this, social media platform is used to assess the degree to which locals would engage with low carbon modes of transport, particularly around active travel. Next, a series of ‘cultural animation’ workshops are developed to achieve richer, qualitative understandings of such perspectives. It served as a critical methodological tool for helping users provide experiential information regarding current travel patterns, the logics behind such journeys and the key barriers to utilising different modes. This also helped to explore the ‘first and last mile’ connectivity. For comparison, current travel patterns in Rugeley are identified and analysed using Mobile Network data which set the basis for understanding present and future energy demands. The project therefore combines travel pattern modelling with user-centric input, the outputs of which are then used to evaluate the scenarios which test the different levels of transition and adoption of new technologies such as electric vehicles, active modes to achieve zero emission reality.
(co-authors: Sandhya Nagaraju and Alberto Gonzalez-Zaera (Connected Places Catapult) and Christoph Mazur (Engie, UK)
Workshop: Challenges and opportunities in exploiting digital technologies for planning and promotion of non-motorised transport
Monday 13 Sept 14:00 – 15:00 (BST)
Promoting non-motorised transport and changing the way we travel is a core part of decarbonising transport for cities worldwide. For this purpose, cities need proper infrastructure such as cycling lanes and good mobility services such as shared micromobility to encourage shifts in modes of transport. Digital technologies such as emerging big data and simulation represent key opportunities to better plan and evaluate non-motorised transport infrastructure and services. This workshop aims to discuss the challenges and opportunities for researchers, local authorities, industry, and business to make use of digital technologies for planning and promotion of non-motorised transport. All participants of the conference from all disciplines and all organisations are welcome. The workshop will be one hour and in two parts. The first fifteen minutes is a presentation about existing digital technologies for planning and promotion of non-motorised transport. The rest of the workshop is a facilitated discussion about challenges and opportunities identified by the workshop participants.
Facilitator: Haitao He, Loughborough University
Workshop: The Place-Based Carbon Calculator
Monday 13 Sept 15:00 – 16:00 (BST)
The Place-Based Carbon Calculator is a free tool that maps the carbon footprint of every neighbourhood in England. The tool provides an interactive view of the composition of each neighbourhood’s footprint and provides valuable data on explanatory variables such as access to public transport. In this workshop, we demonstrate how to use the tool and discuss how the tool can aid the development of local decarbonisation policy. Participants will be asked to consider several case study neighbourhoods and discuss which policies would work best in each neighbourhood.
Facilitator: Malcolm Morgan, University of Leeds
Keynote: Paola Jiron Martinez – Situating Knowledges and Travelling Know-how in Place-Based Decarbonisation
Monday 13 Sept 16:00 – 17:30 (BST)
Chair: Nicola Spurling (DecarboN8, Lancaster University)
Situating Knowledges and Travelling Know-how in Place-Based Decarbonisation
Paola Jiron Martinez, Universidad de Chile
Paola is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU), Universidad de Chile. Coordinator of PhD programme on Territory, Space and Society (D_TES) and Director of MOVYT (Millennium Nucleus on Mobilities and Territories). Main areas of research: urban studies from an everyday dwelling experience.
Tuesday 14 September 2021
Keynote: Professor Rebecca Willis – Democratising the Net Zero Transition
Tuesday 14 Sept 10:00 – 11:00 (BST)
Chair: Greg Marsden (DecarboN8 Director, University of Leeds)
Democratising the Net Zero Transition
Professor Rebecca Willis, Lancaster University
Rebecca Willis is a researcher with twenty years’ experience in environment and sustainability policy and practice, at international, national and local level. She is a Professor in Practice at Lancaster Environment Centre, and an Expert Lead for Climate Assembly UK, the national Citizens’ Assembly commissioned by Parliament. In 2009 Rebecca founded Green Alliance’s Climate Leadership Programme, an initiative to support Members of the UK Parliament, and still supports Green Alliance’s work in this area. Previously, she was a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the UKRI Energy Programme, Council Member of the Natural Environment Research Council, vice-chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, and Director of Green Alliance.
Talks: Innovation and Infrastructure sustainability: methods, metrics and measures
Tuesday 14 Sept 11:00 – 12:30 (BST)
Chair: Dr Hadi Arbabi
What is the state of the art in energy and transport poverty metrics? A critical and comprehensive review
Christopher Lowans, Queen’s University Belfast
This review investigates the state of the art in metrics used in energy (or fuel) and transport poverty with a view to assessing how these overlapping concepts may be unified in their measurement. Our review contributes to ongoing debates over decarbonisation, a politically sensitive and crucial aspect of the energy transition, and one that could exacerbate patterns of inequality or vulnerability. Up to 125 million people across the European Union experience the effects of energy poverty in their daily lives. A more comprehensive understanding of the breadth and depth of these conditions is therefore paramount. This review assessed 1134 papers and critically analysed a deeper sample of 93. In terms of the use of metrics, we find that multiple indicators are better than any single metric or composite. We find work remains to be conducted in the transport poverty sphere before energy poverty metrics can be fully unified with those of transport poverty, namely the stipulation of travel standards. Without such standards, our ability to unify the metrics of both fields and potentially alleviate both conditions simultaneously is limited. The difficulties in defining necessary travel necessitate the further use of vulnerability lenses and holistic assessments focused on energy and transport services.
(co-authors: Dylan Furszyfer Del Rio, Benjamin K. Sovacool, David Rooney, Aoife M. Foley)
Embodied carbon in Transport infrastructure: an emphasis on road construction in the UK
Kadambari Lokesh, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
‘Embodied carbon’ (EC) in transport infrastructure (such as a new road) refers to the GHG emissions produced in its construction, maintenance and operation. EC from maintenance and operation is encompasses emissions over a life period of 40-year, including operation of street lighting, and from routine and periodic maintenance works. The UK Government’s published work on transport decarbonisation acknowledge that embodied carbon exists but with little to no commitments to reduce it. This risks project appraisals overlooking embodied carbon impacts which may lead to perverse outcomes, and subsequently, failure in achieving our net-zero target. For example, the Government’s Road Investment Strategy promises 4000+ additional lane-kilometers by 2025. The spike in embodied carbon emissions (+13 million tons of CO2 equivalents) from its completion would be equivalent to a kilometer-exhaust emission from almost 80 billion new cars. Our DecarboN8 research proposes a high-level carbon assessment approach, employing life cycle assessment principles. This could be integrated with the extended environmental appraisal which will form a part of the investment benefit evaluations of new road schemes, practiced by the regional transport stakeholders. Our study supports this integration by developing quantitative evidence for an EC threshold encompassing the ‘baseline’ and ‘resource efficient’ scenarios accounting for technological innovations in material production, construction methods, operation and maintenance of new roads over a short-medium term period (2020-2040). For example, our preliminary analysis suggests that the EC for 1km of a new dual-2 lane carriageway is about 3300 TCO2eq which, with the adoption of resource efficient alternatives, offers 5-28% of carbon savings.
(co-authors: Dr Danielle Densley Tingley, Professor Greg Marsden)
Environmental and economic assessment of household electricity systems with EV charging demand and PV generation in the UK
Yuzhou Tang, University of Leeds
Photovoltaic-battery (PV-battery) systems and electric vehicle (EV) charging systems are considered to be two of the keys to the future environmental-friendly household electricity system. However, there is little understanding of the environmental impact of the household electricity systems with EV charging demand and the potential to reduce emissions and electricity bills using emissions-responsive EV charging. To understand the overall potential of the household electricity system for reducing environmental impacts, a life cycle assessment was conducted for a typical house with one EV in the UK. The analysis used a “cradle to gate” system boundary and a 1-year operation of the household electricity system as the functional unit. The environmental impact and financial costs have been estimated for three household EV charging scenarios: (1) without PV-battery system, (2) with PV-battery system only, (3) with both PV-battery system and carbon emissions-responsive EV smart charging. Results showed that the PV-battery system met 8%-58% of daily household electricity demand, which reduced the environmental impact by 20%, the carbon emissions by 25% and the electricity bill by 32% compared with the initial household electricity system, despite the high initial investment cost of £6,601. The smart charging system further dispersed the household electricity load during the EV plug-in duration, and achieved a 2.5% reduction in carbon emissions and 16% reduction in electricity bills based on the PV-battery system. We concluded that the household electricity system integrating PV-battery system could bring significant environmental benefits. High initial investment cost was the main factor limiting the deployment of household PV-battery systems.
(co-authors: Tim T Cockerill, Andrew J Pimm)
Talks: Governing a Fast Transition
Tuesday 14 Sept 11:00 – 13:00 (BST)
Chair: Tina Fawcett, University of Oxford
The Problems, Policies, and Politics of Decarbonisation in the Polycentric City-region.
Harriet Dunn, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
This paper explores the barriers and potential pathways to rapid transport decarbonisation in the polycentric city-region, focusing on one specific administrative area in the UK: the Tees Valley. This case study provides an interesting example of devolved and multi-level transport governance in the north of England. The research focuses on the agenda-setting and policy formulation process, drawing mainly on the multiple-streams (MSF) literature to build a framework for investigation. Data collection involved a series of semi-structured interviews with elected politicians and policymakers across four local councils, and one city-regional administrative body. In terms of results, the research identifies some of the key forces shaping and driving the agenda-setting process in the Tees Valley, namely budgetary constraints, local political mood, and public acquiescence. The latter part of the paper explores the role of the local policy entrepreneur in determining the scope and composition of the transport agenda, and in shaping potential windows of opportunity for policy shift. Stemming from this analysis, several points of intervention are identified which may aid the transition to a low-carbon transport system in the Tees Valley and beyond. It is argued that although the capacity for agenda shift at the local-level is currently limited, the Combined (city-regional) Authority shows leadership potential for accelerating local decarbonisation.
The impact of national transport planning for local initiatives for decarbonised and sustainable transport
Karolina Isaksson, VTI
Similar to any other countries, Sweden has decided to reduce dependence on fossil fuels in the transport sector and thereby reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2030. In practice, since transport governance is institutionally fragmented and stretches across various sectors in society, there is a need for several authorities at all levels, both locally, regionally and nationally, to transform their policy and planning practice if climate goals and other sustainable development goals shall be accomplished. This study examines the links and the tensions between local and national perspectives on climate mitigation and sustainability transformation in the transport sector, with a special focus on how national transport planning affects the conditions for local policy and planning to implement initiatives for decarbonised and sustainable transport. Empirically, the study builds on document studies and interviews with local and national planning practitioners. Theoretically, the study finds its inspiration in governance literature, which is used as a starting point for exploring capacities to transform conventional transport planning. Particular attention is directed towards analytical approaches, methods and knowledge perspectives applied in national planning, and how these conflict with and complicate local initiatives for decarbonised and sustainable transport. The analysis leads to a discussion on how prevailing norms, perspectives and ways of working at the national level prevent a constructive development of cross-silo thinking and working, and thus also constitute barriers for a wider transformation of the transport system. Based on these difficulties, ideas are developed about key steps forward for transformation to take place.
(co-authors: Linnea Eriksson, Karin Thoresson and Jacob Witzell)
Network Governance and the Decarbonisation of Transport
Louise Reardon, University of Birmingham
This paper seeks to explore the ways in which different network arrangements facilitate and constrain action in relation to decarbonisation of transport. Transport is governed by complex systems of multilevel governance, consisting of societal actors operating at and between different political-organisational scales (supra-national, national, local), and is a growing area of analysis. There is recognition that the way in which transport policy is developed and implemented, and infrastructure and systems coordinated, is affected by the institutional arrangements of the places they are being layered on to. However, the majority of studies focus on the formal, structural characteristics of multi-level systems, such as the diversity and number of institutions involved in decision-making, and their authority and responsibilities. As a result, there have been growing calls for transport governance systems to be simplified and better ‘integrated’ – with calls for greater vertical alignment between national, regional, and local organisations and fewer organisations involved in steering policy and implementation. The assumption being that less complex networks lead to more effective policymaking and delivery. However, comparative studies demonstrate that more ‘integrated’ multilevel networks face the same challenges with policy change and delivery that more complex systems do. This therefore signals the need for more interpretive accounts and a more nuanced understanding and analysis of institutional networks, focused on the ways in which actors situated within multilevel and networked governance systems understand and interpret their contexts.
With the aim of helping to address this research gap, this paper will present a comparative analysis of the multilevel and networked governance systems relating to low-carbon mobility in two UK cities: Birmingham and Cambridge. Governance systems in each city are visualised as network maps, depicting organisations and their relationships to each other. The purpose of the network visualisation and analysis is to identify the differences between network structures ‘as seen from the outside’ (the formal arrangements) and ‘from within’ (through actor interpretation). ‘Formal’ network structures are reconstructed through secondary data, e.g. local, regional and national policy documents, consultation protocols, minutes of meetings, media reports and research publications. ‘Interpretive’ networks are developed based on semi-structured interviews with key actors from the networks. The aim of the interviews is to uncover how network actors understand their role and powers to facilitate policy change and action in relation to low carbon mobility, given the constraining and enabling effects of their perceived position within the networks.
The comparative analysis of the two types of networks aims to highlight the differences between network structures as understood formally and as understood by the actors themselves. These differences enable disconnects in multilevel and networked governance arrangements to be identified, and expose areas where governance arrangements could be better facilitated to enable effective and transformative policy change towards low-carbon mobility. It in turn enables a more nuanced and fine-grained understanding of multilevel governance in practice, and highlights the value of utilisation of social network analysis principles for this purpose.
(Co-author: Timea Nochta)
Rapid decarbonisation: claims and actions
Thomas Haines-Doran, University of Leeds
In the past three years, the vast majority of local and regional government authorities in Britain have decaled a climate emergency. A number have accompanied this with declarations of dates for reaching absolute or net zero emissions from as early as 2028. This rhetorical ambition can be contrasted with thirty years of almost zero emission reductions for the transport sector. The scale of the transition is now recognised to have to include both a complete transition of technologies accompanied with a major shift in mobility patterns if the pathways are to be met. This goes well beyond any long-term policy changes seen in the transport sector in living memory.
This research explores what the ingredients are that will enable authorities to accelerate their progress. In particular we are interested in understanding the role of the politicisation and democratisation of climate policy through social movements and citizens assemblies as a means of creating a demand for change and a political appetite to engage with it.
Even where legitimate policy claims are made, the capacity of the systems through which transport is governed to deliver this is also uncertain. Interactions between national, regional and local actions are loosely specified and local government remains under-resourced and under-powered in many respects given that this is where many of the conflicts over space allocation, pricing and demand management play out. We explore the extent to which progress can be achieved through effective and committed policy approaches.
The research takes a case study approach, exploring three case study sites where processes of transport decarbonisation policy formation and deployment are examined to understand what political, institutional and economic forces act to expedite (or fetter) transport decarbonisation within particular locales. The paper presents interim findings, based on research in two case study sites, Leeds and Oxford. In both locations interviews have been conducted with representatives from governments, social movements, and private and third sector bodies who have been involved in transport decarbonisation governance processes.
(Co-authors: Ersilia Verlingheri, Greg Marsden, Tim Schwanen)
Talk: Mainstreaming a niche innovation: E-cargo bikes for the first and last mile
Tuesday 14 Sept 14:00 – 14:30 (BST)
Chair: Kevin Anderson (DecarboN8, University of Manchester)
Mainstreaming a niche innovation: E-cargo bikes for the first and last mile
Graeme Sherriff, University of Salford
Traffic in urban areas is an environmental and social issue. Van mileage continues to rise, reflecting a growing trend of e-commerce that has intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic. For cities to meet carbon targets, finding new ways of moving goods around cities is essential. E-cargo bikes are specialised cycles designed to transport heavy loads – a niche innovation in a landscape dominated by cars and vans. They offer a practical solution for transporting goods sustainably at a low cost, and are often larger and heavier than conventional cycles; equipped with an electric motor that affords them some of the advantages of a small van and enables larger loads and longer distances than conventional cycles. They can be seen as part of a spectrum of e-mobility, somewhere between conventional cycles and electric vans. Drawing on a qualitative study of semi-structured interviews and focus groups with participants currently using, or considering adopting, e-cargo bikes, we expore the role of these vehicles. We use the multi-level perspective (MLP) to position e-cargo bikes as a niche innovation within the socio-technical landscape, and discuss the barriers that need to be overcome for these bikes to be adopted by the existing regime. We find that there are multiple barriers, including the size and weight of vehicles, their cargo capacity (and the transportation of temperature-regulated goods), the rider experience (real and perceived), infrastructure needs, long-term costs and associated business models, as well as the broader societal awareness by other road users. Understanding e-cargo bikes as a niche innovation through the MLP helps to identify ways in which e-cargo bikes could be made more accessible to a wider user base.
(co-authors: Luke Blazejewksi)
Talks: Governing a Fair Transition
Tuesday 14 Sept 14:00 – 15:30 (BST)
Chair: Giulio Mattioli
Excessive energy consumers: Overconsumption or unmet need?
Jillian Anable, University of Leeds
The presentation addresses the issues of fairness and justice of energy resource allocations in the domestic energy and personal travel domains from the perspective of tackling ‘excess’ or high-end energy consumption. Achieving radical reductions amongst at this end of the distribution curve relies upon understanding the underlying reasons for people’s high-energy use and the structural, social, cultural and economic influences on their behaviours. The study asks such questions as:
How can we meaningfully identify, characterise and assess individuals, households and locations with disproportionately high levels of energy consumption?
What is types of activities lead to this excessive consumption within the highest consuming households?
To what extent does high-energy demand for domestic use correlate with high-energy demand from mobility?
Do those who consume most energy in these two sectors also have the greatest social and economic capital to reduce their consumption?
The research combines modelled analysis from public datasets of domestic energy bills and travel dairy data for the UK with qualitative interview and focus group data from residents of high consuming households. It also involves deliberative workshops with different sectors of the population to build consensus around what constitutes morally fair levels of personal and household and travel energy consumption. Political theory and theories of consumption are used to structure various definitions of excessive consumption and to develop and assess targeted approaches to equitable radical reductions in energy within this high-end use category.
(Co-authors Noel Cass, Malcolm Morgan, Milena Buchs, Caroline Mullen, Muhammad Adeel)
Double energy vulnerability in the UK’s low-carbon transition
Mari Martiskainen, University of Sussex
The quest to decarbonise transport systems must be undertaken in a manner that is socially equitable and seek to alleviate existing forms of injustice and vulnerability, including for those currently facing ‘transport poverty’. This presentation draws from the CREDS project Fuel and transport poverty in the UK’s energy transition (FAIR), outlining the key findings from a systematic review of 244 academic studies and initial results from empirical data from interviews with households across the UK. We draw on the concept of ‘double energy vulnerability’, which has recently been proposed to describe a circumstance whereby people are at heightened risk of both domestic energy poverty and transport poverty simultaneously. We pinpoint the overlapping socio-demographic and spatial factors that can increase vulnerability to both energy and transport poverty, identifying those most at-risk of experiencing double energy vulnerability. We then consider how such vulnerabilities might be alleviated or exacerbated in transitions to low-carbon transport and energy systems, and pinpoint some marginalised groups who warrant further examination, and a voice, in transport decarbonisation. We signal future research directions and policy implications arising from these findings.
(Co-author Dr Neil Simcock)
Just Transitions in Urban Mobility: Governing Electrification in Bristol
Tim Schwanen, University of Oxford
The transition towards electric urban mobility is in full swing in the UK and cities are arguably in the vanguard of these processes. City-level ambitions are high, with a strong focus on speed of change and efficiency in light of restricted resources. Justice is not absent from considerations but interpreted and hence pursued in rather narrow terms, seemingly privileging equity of impact and fairness of distribution over more comprehensive understandings of the term. This presentation will: (i) outline that comprehensive understanding in the context of the transition to electric mobility, (ii) explain why and how this matters, (iii) outline an approach for assessing to what extent and in what ways policy and governance at the city level could contribute to greater justice in the transition to electric mobility; and (iv) offer some first reflections on how local policies in Bristol cultivate justice in the transition to electric urban mobility.
(Co-author Hannah Budnitz)
Panel: Developing a European cargo bike eco-system
Tuesday 14 Sept 14:30 – 16:00 (BST)
Current research suggests it is feasible to replace up to 50% of vans with cargo bikes. Around 2 million light commercial vehicles are made and sold annually in Europe, the majority diesel-powered. But how much carbon reduction would we manage if this significant change took place? And what will the accompanying cargo bike eco-system need to look like? Can this eco-system serve both domestic and commercial use cases?
This Panel will explore all aspects of this eco-system, from insurance to leasing, marketing to manufacturing, rider training to the digital operation of deliveries and logistics, international standards and operational regulations, whole life costing and disposal after first use. The Panel will focus on the current gaps in knowledge in this fast-growing sector in order to highlight the further research and analysis that are needed to speed up the creation of the cargo bike eco-system we urgently need.
This panel will consider how we speed up the creation of the cargo bike eco-system to hasten the decarbonisation of goods and services transport.
Chair: Richard Armitage FCILT, Executive Director, ECLF & Chair, Cargo Bikes & Cycle Logistics Experts’ Group Manchester, UK
Supporting the decision to switch to a family cargo bike
Susanne Wrighton, Technical Director, City Changer Cargo Bike Project Bruxelles, Belgium
Getting cargo bikes adopted – examples from the service industries
Susanne Balm, Project Leader Sustainable City Logistics, Amsterdam University Applied Sciences, Netherlands
What independent cycle logistics operators need to build a viable business?
Beate Kubitz, Founder, Cargodale, Todmorden, UK
Gaps in our knowledge about creating the cargo bike eco-system
Tom Assmann, Chair, Radlogistik Verband Deutschland and Research Lead, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany
Talks: Data: Transmission, Analytics, and Optimisation
Tuesday 14 Sept 16:00 – 17:00 (BST)
Chair: Karol Kurnicki, Lancaster University
Assesing vehicle and on-foot porter routing in urban delivery networks for economic and environment impact
Lais Wehbi, University of Liverpool
The rapid growth of urbanisation in recent centuries has prompted a significant increase in e-commerce deliveries and, more particularly, parcel deliveries. As a result, urban logistic service providers are faced with a dilemma that involves meeting the demand of consumers while ensuring environmental objectives are met. Such a dilemma is mainly observed in the last leg of a journey an item makes before reaching the consumer, commonly referred to as the last mile. The last mile activity is typically carried out by delivery vans which emit a considerable amount of carbon emissions. To overcome this, researchers have recently proposed the use of environmentally friendly transport modes such as cargo bikes and drones along with delivery vans to mitigate environmental damage and meet consumer demand. In this paper, we investigate the potential of a last-mile distribution model which uses a relatively simple and environmentally friendly mode of transport, namely, on foot portering in combination with delivery vans. Portering involves the use of human walking for the carriage of goods. The purpose of the porter is to rendevous with a the delivery van at customer selected locations to receive parcels and serve other customers that cannot be reached using traditional motor vehicles. We, therefore, present an optimisation model that adopts our suggested last-mile distribution plan, which we code into an optimisation software. We solve the model using real data derived from London deliveries and quantify the environmental emissions saved. Results show that our portering model achieves carbon savings in the range of 37-89%, depending on the area being served. Findings also show that porter savings can be observed even at limited capacities.
(co-authors: Tolga Bektas, Cagatay Iris)
How many charge points are needed? – searching for the signal amongst the noise.
Shirley Coleman, Newcastle University
It is of vital importance to be able to decide how many electric vehicle charge points are needed in a particular location. However, such policy decisions depend on many issues and in particular, on the values of a wide range of variables. Variables such as traffic flow, charging time, driver preferences and behaviour may be subject to uncertainty and be influenced by external factors and correlations. Not only do all possible inputs need to be considered before a decision can be made, but any predictive model based on these inputs may need to allow for structural changes due to season, day of the week and time of day as well as the type of location. Nevertheless recommendations have to be made and this paper explores the use of data analytics to justify decisions. The paper highlights the fact that, variables and associated uncertainty, within a nascent market remove the possibility of absolute confidence in a target-based recharging infrastructure strategy. To date all national predictions for EV volumes have failed to materialise and installed infrastructure is underutilised. The reasons for these failures are explored and the implications for planning and policy making are discussed. The authors have several years’ experience of managing and reporting on infrastructure projects both national and local. The key variables to specify an EV infrastructure are: vehicle and battery supply, battery capacity and battery characteristics, battery characteristics, consumer behaviour and current infrastructure utilisation, both now and projected. The paper will report insight gained from building models based on expert experience and utilising them with observed data of vehicle flows and charging behaviour from a service business and two contrasting urban locations in the UK.
(co-authors: Lee Fawcett, Colin Herron, Joe Matthews, Geoff Watson)
Wednesday 15 September 2021
Talks: Innovation trials and lessons
Wednesday 15 Sept 11:00 – 12:00 (BST)
Chair: Hongjian Sun (DecarboN8 and University of Durham)
Decarbonising rural transport using flexible on-demand buses
Beate Kubitz, Beate Kubitz Associates
In UK, the carbon footprint of people living in rural areas tends to be higher than that of people living in urban areas: transport contributes substantially to this. Decarbonising rural transport in a hurry is difficult as rural transport is very much based on private car ownership and use. This paper looks at options for consolidating trips through flexible on-demand bus transport (‘DRT’). Accepted means of changing the carbon footprint of rural transport could be by:
- Managing trip demand
- Consolidating trips
- Replacing the fleet with low carbon vehicles
However, replacing the private car fleet with low carbon vehicles is slow (rural fleet is already older than the UK average) and will increase inequalities (those that can afford a new vehicle etc). Trip reduction – working from home, home deliveries (although debatable in their contribution to carbon reduction) and less travel is also only accessible to certain groups, with affordability a factor. This leaves consolidating trips into single vehicles. Public transport solutions are generally more accessible and equitable. However, rural public transport has traditionally had:
- high mileage routes (between dispersed settlements)
- low frequency
- low coverage
- high costs
- low ridership
with many of these elements related or reinforcing each other.
Flexible on-demand bus transport is one potential solution to maximise ridership and match capacity to demand as closely as possible. This paper draws on data from France where a new law giving access to mobility as a fundamental right has prompted the launch of DRT schemes to connect small settlements in low density areas. It examines the types of demand responsive transport and analyses the impact of increased access to buses and the potential for decarbonisation.
The temporal demand for e-scooters: Preliminary results from the examination of trials in four US cities
Craig Morton, Loughborough University
The introduction of e-scooters sharing schemes (ESSs) represents the latest phase in the diversification of micromobility in urban environments. Such schemes have the potential to attract travellers from conventional modes such as private cars and taxis and could represent one component of a larger transformation of urban transport systems towards the use of lightweight modes. Municipal authorities in the United States have led the way with trialling ESSs to consider how they are used and the impacts this has for the wider transport system. These trials have followed an open data agenda, allowing external researchers access to details on each trip made on the ESS. This presentation reports on a preliminary assessment of the trip data derived from ESS trials in Chicago, Austin, Minneapolis, and Louisville. Specific attention is paid to how the demand for e-scooters changes throughout periods-of-the-day as well as days-of-the-week to identify any seasonal trends which are apparent. Additionally, the analysis considers the link between demand and prevailing weather conditions such as temperature, wind speed, and precipitation to consider the impact these meteorological elements have over scheme use. The results of the analysis illustrate how the temporal pattern of demand compares to traditional modes of transport and are the first step in forecasting scheme use into the future.
Panel: Zero carbon transport in a hurry: challenges facing cities in bridging the gap between the ambition and reality
Wednesday 15 Sept 11:00 – 12:30 (BST)
The transition to a climate-neutral society is both an urgent challenge and an opportunity to build a better future for all. Cities are facing many challenges to develop policies to make the transition to zero carbon transport. Transport in isolation cannot reach the carbon neutrality targets. However, the integration of different sectors’ visions, policies and strategies could transform the cities’ ambition into reality. What do the cities need to transition? What is it missing? How are the cities prepared to face this transition? The session aims to provide an understanding of the necessity of the integration of different local policies, how this could be achieved and the current trends and results. During the panel session, cities representatives from different countries across Europe will discuss about the main challenges that their cities are facing to achieve high level goals. The keynote speech of Professor Peter Jones, OBE will provide insights of the necessity to reach the ambitions goals at local level through better integration of different policies. Professor Jones will provide an overview of a new way to think the sustainable urban mobility policies to obtain a meaningful impact. Representatives from Timisoara (Romania), Sofia (Bulgaria), Perugia (Italy and Manchester (UK) will share their experiences in setting ambitious goals and what is their pathway for a better future in their cities through a more sustainable transport and mobility policies. The session will be moderated by Lucia Cristea, of EIP (Romania).
Chair: Lucia Cristea, European Integrated Projects
Bridging the gap between the ambition and reality
Professor Peter Jones, UCL
An overview of a new way to think about sustainable urban mobility policies to obtain a meaningful impact on transport decarbonisation and the necessity of better integration of different policies at local level to bridge the gap between ambitious decarbonisation goals and delivery of them in reality.
Will city’s digital twin assist in the decarbonisation efforts?
Valentin Muresan, City of Timisoara, Romania
Timisoara is the third largest city in Romania with 332,983 inhabitants in a metropolitan area of population 627,366. It is the main economic, social and cultural centre of western Romania and will be the next European Capital of Culture in 2023. The city has a rich cultural heritage and is known as ‘Little Vienna’ and the ‘City of Flowers’. In 2020 the city became the first city in Romania to elect a non-Romanian national as its Mayor when Dominic Fritz, a native of Germany, was elected. The challenge for the Mayor is to reconcile the dynamic growth of the city economy and one of the highest rates of household car ownership in Romania (1 car per 2.66 inhabitants) with ambitious environmental objectives.
Sofia’s policies for decarbonization
Mr. Metodi Avramov, Director Strategies, Innovations and International Projects at SOFIA URBAN MOBILITY CENTRE
Sofia is the capital city of Bulgaria and the home to many of its major universities, cultural institutions and commercial companies. It has a population of 1.25 million. Sofia has a well-developed public transport network of bus, tram and trolley bus and a three-line metro network has recently been completed. Sofia also has the fourth highest rate of car ownership in the European Union (1 car per 1.83 inhabitants). The location of the city in a valley surrounded by high mountains makes the city susceptible to air pollution problems. The Sofia municipality has developed an ambitious sustainable urban mobility plan, and the challenges around making it a reality will be discussed.
Workshop: Working with origin-destination and activity data to model decarbonisation
Wednesday 15 Sept 12:00 – 13:00 (BST)
In this session we will explore the potential for origin-destination data to be used as a basis for decarbonisation research and informing local policies.
The workshop takes place in the context of the 2018 report All Change from the Commission on Travel Demand, and subsequent research and policy documents emphasising the importance of demand reduction (Brand et al. 2020). The second recommendation of the report is that:
Travel demand futuring tools should be open source
In 2021 the software is now available for this to happen, with tools such as the Propensity to Cycle Tool and the Place Based Carbon Calculator being used by decision makers at every level in government and civil society concerned with transport sustainability. There is now a diverse and rapidly growing ecosystem of open source software for geographic analysis in transport planning (Lovelace 2021).
The power of origin-destination data in this context is well-known, as widely available input datasets that can be used for modelling scenarios of change. In this workshop we will discuss how such origin destination datasets can be used and how we can go beyond simple OD data analysis based on a single trip type such as that presented in the Propensity to Cycle Tool to provide a strong foundation for transport data research. The workshop will include practical and policy-relevant questions and will coincide with the release of a newly available subset of activity model data from Sao Paulo. There is no strict agenda but the workshop will include the following components:
- Live demo with R
- Live demo with A/B Street
- Presentation of a new example dataset
- How can we visualise the data with static maps?
- How can we visualise the data with animated static maps (e.g. with gganimate)
- How can we visualise the data with animated interactive maps (e.g. with mapdeck)
- How can we model destination switching and working from home?
- How can origin-destination data be used to support decarbonisation research and policy?
Facilitators: Robin Lovelace, University of Leeds
Co-convenors: Malcolm Morgan, Joey Talbot, Nathanael Sheehan, Lucas Cardoso
Talks: Producing a regional transport decarbonisation strategy
Wednesday 15 Sept 14:00 – 15:00 (BST)
Chair: Peter Cole, Transport for the North
Discussant: Richard Walker, DecarboN8, University of Leeds
Transport for the North has now developed its draft Decarbonisation Strategy and will undertake a 12 week public consultation on it through summer of 2020, publishing its final strategy in the autumn 2021. The strategy breaks new ground in terms of its methodology for setting a regional decarbonisation trajectory. We will present a step by step guide to producing a regional transport decarbonisation strategy, sharing the concepts and processes used by TfN to create and consult upon decarbonisation pathway options. The presentation will be pitched at a higher level so as to encompass the full process, and will be complemented by TfN’s additional proposed paper for the conference (Regional Transport Carbon Modelling) which will address the finer detail around the development of our transport, land use and carbon modelling tools.
Particular aspects for inclusion:
- how to agree a decarbonisation trajectory whilst managing a diversity of starting positions, capabilities and ambitions;
- developing an emissions inventory;
- consideration of ‘difficult topics’ such as embodied carbon and aviation;
- incorporating carbon within programmatic appraisal; and
- the role of regional bodies and proposed pan-regional activities.
We will also have the preliminary results of the public consultation and intend to use the conference to report on the main outcomes of this consultation. Members of the DecarboN8 team have acted as critical friend during the preparation of the Strategy. As part of this item, we will work with DecarboN8 (Richard Walker) to compare TfN’s approach with other best practice at the regional tier from across the world and we are considering a participatory element to the session by posing a series of questions to the international audience, to aid comparisons.
Talks: Widening the horizon: understanding the influence of cross-sectoral policies and practices
Wednesday 15 Sept 14:00 – 15:30 (BST)
Chair: Phil Blythe (DecarboN8, Newcastle University)
Implementing vehicle-to-grid policy in South Africa: Barriers and opportunities
Andrew Lawrence, Wits School of Governance
The Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) policy aim has been widely analysed in policy planning literature but is yet to be implemented on a nation-wide basis, despite clear grid stabilisation, employment, and cost-saving potentials in many national contexts. This study uses the SATIMGE model in an exploratory analysis of a V2G policy for South Africa’s minibus taxi industry, which, when electrified, would combine optimal charging times for eTransport with their off-take of electricity at periods of system-wide or local peak demand, in turn, facilitating several publicly beneficial outcomes. Adequate implementation requires however that network augmentation costs are addressed along with the provision of flexible charging infrastructure. From the exclusive perspective of maximizing generation capacity (and thus, over time, maximizing the proportion of RE generation capacity), the modelling finds that the most preferable scenario would be V2G without controlled charging stipulations (i.e. opportunistic charging influenced by electricity prices subject to network demand), then no provision of additional charging infrastructure capital expenditure, then minibus V2G including provision of additional charging infrastructure capital expenditure, with business-as-usual being the least preferable. However, this perspective excludes consideration of several additional variables that could realize additional public goods. The concluding section therefore discusses comparative scenarios that map alternative strategies of policy implementation. These elaborate upon the roles of key actors, including grassroots organisers, local and municipal policy entrepreneurs, organised labour movement officials, and private sector representatives.
(co-authors: Fadiel Ahjum)
Decarbonizing homes and the in-between: Intersections of climate-wise mobility and housing
Joni Vainikka, University of Helsinki
The decarbon challenge is rapidly becoming the key policy task for cities in the 2020s. As centres of consumption, flows and living cities are circulatory spaces that have become the agoras against the climate crisis – spaces where substantial practice decisions are made. While calls for decarbonizing are gaining momentum in several cities and branches of economic activity, such processes need to be socially equitable so that policy choices do not widen social and economic segregation and they need to become applicable to all wishing to take part in the global effort. Thus, decarbonization as a social practice needs to be attentive to the abilities of citizens to adopt and push forward new practices both in their mobility choices and in their housing solutions. Yet, the social recognition of such choices needs to be understood. This paper calls for rethinking the social motivations for decarbonizing everyday lives by asking whether it is easier to adopt climate-friendly consumption in mobility as a ‘public stage’ or in the privacy of home in the ‘private stage’. Following Ernest Goffman on front and back regions the paper aims to differentiate the modalities of climate actions in public and private spaces. The intersections of climate-wise mobility and housing create a conundrum of how people act and show their action for being attentive to the climate crisis. Thus, the paper furthers our understanding of low-carbon lifestyles where mobility is characterized by getting from A to A through a public space and where the practices of private living influence our efforts to decarbonizing place-based movement.
Addressing the zero carbon transport challenge through a cross-sector approach
Peter Jones, UCL
Achieving zero carbon emissions is widely acknowledged to be particularly challenging in the transport sector, the more so because transport is a service industry in which demand – both passenger and freight – is largely driven by the business models and service delivery patterns of other sectors: it is a derived demand. Historically, these other sectors have paid limited attention to the transport implications of their operating patterns, beyond the costs that they directly incur. In the main, traditional transport externalities (air and noise pollution, congestion and traffic accidents) have not featured on balance sheets or in investment decisions. With the growing global consensus on the need to reduce/eliminate carbon emissions, this situation is changing, as both public and private sector organisations are increasingly signing up to carbon reduction commitments. In the context of cross-sector cooperation, what is unique about this situation is that organisations are: • Sharing the same goals and using the same metrics, and are • Taking into account both directly and indirectly generated carbon emissions (e.g. NHS net zero carbon strategy based on Scope 3+): it is no longer acceptable for one organisation to externalise or export its carbon production to another sector. The paper reports on work being carried out in the EU SUMP-PLUS project, looking at cross-sector links between transport and transport demand generating sectors. It first sets out some broad concepts and principles and then reports on how these are being applied in the Greater Manchester area, through a joint initiative between Transport for Greater Manchester and various components of the NHS in the region. The paper will cover both academic and practice aspects.
(co-authors: Stuart Blackadder)
Workshop: Stakeholder Engagement Towards Freight Decarbonisation
Wednesday 15 Sept 15:00 – 18:00 (BST)
Freight transport is responsible for more than a third of transport greenhouse gas emissions, and specific sectors, such as parcel delivery, are growing rapidly, with a negative impact on air quality and public health. End-consumers play a key role in freight decarbonisation, as the way they want to do shopping or have their products delivered influences freight stakeholders’ decisions. However, many end-consumers have little or no awareness of the impact that deliveries made to them has on the environment, and therefore their responsibility for carbon emissions. The CRAFTeD and CODEZERO projects sought to enhance stakeholder action on the topic of freight decarbonisation through i) researching the most appropriate methods for identifying and engaging them and ii) developing co-visioned ‘route-maps’. However, the projects did not directly involve citizens as creators of freight demands, and in particular deliveries to them as “end consumers”. Therefore, drawing upon the results of these two projects, the session will explore how best to engage citizens as end-consumers in the process of freight decarbonisation; as agents who have influence over the sustainability of freight, for example, through their choices when shopping. In the first part of the workshop, the research team will present the key findings of the projects, including impact of last-mile deliveries and a series of potential solutions. In the second part of the workshop, the facilitators will run a series of co-productive activities with participants to understand how better to engage with citizens. The output will be a set of recommendations for specific actions to accelerate freight decarbonisation
Facilitators: University of the West of England (Daniela Paddeu, Graham Parkhurst) & University of Bristol (Neil Carhart, Ges Rosenberg, Colin Taylor).
Talks: Green Future Pathway
Wednesday 15 Sept 15:30 – 16:30 (BST)
Chair: Hongjian Sun (DecarboN8, Durham University)
Approaches to achieving net-zero emission for long haul heavy good vehicles by 2050 : A review of the proposed pathways
Sourabh Jha, Coventry University
Achieving net-zero carbon emission target will require decarbonisation of road transport. Vehicle electrification is recognised as a market ready solution, but has limitations that, at present, confine it to certain market sectors, excludes energy intensive applications including heavy good vehicles (HGVs). Whilst innovations, for example electric road systems can facilitate electrification of HGV, these solutions are not yet market ready. This presents a challenge for the industry in terms of investment and planning, with consequent impact of the management of carbon budgets – even if the 2050 target can be met, any delay in the intermediate term due to uncertainty in the direction of travel will lead to higher than necessary carbon emissions. The challenge is to understand and quantify the gap between the technology capability and the user requirements in order to define a clear development pathway for sector including HGV. This paper presents the results of a review of existing approaches that would support identification and quantification of these gaps, to determine the limitations and advantages inherent with these approaches and hence propose a route forward that would support development of market acceptable solutions. Gap was observed in existing approaches in broad coverage of consumer utility factors and in linking them further to road freight performance factors. The report concludes by providing a reference framework which can be used to build such a comprehensive model as an area of further research. Use of system level models like System Dynamics in such framework can also provide ability to embed data driven solution blocks to expedite decarbonisation without the need for changing the technology roadmap.
Machine learning for a green future: opportunities and challenges
Thomas Chen, Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering
In just the last few years, the explosion in popularity of utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) techniques to tackle the immense challenges the world faces in terms of fossil fuels and global greenhouse gas emissions has brought on promising results and solutions. For example, AI technologies can computationally forecast the supply and demand of energy on the grid, improve the scheduling of shifts to renewable energy sources, and reduce the life-cycle fossil fuel emissions through predictive maintenance. More specifically, ML-based applications are useful in a variety of sectors, such as in transportation, where it is harnessed to develop methods of reducing transportation activity, improve vehicle efficiency, facilitate the rise of alternative fuels and electrification, and more. In buildings and cities, AI helps to optimize buildings and their energy use, as well as to promote sustainable urban planning. At the same time, there have been significant concerns raised regarding whether the widespread utilization of AI technology can actually backfire. Particularly, the notably large energy consumption of AI systems themselves have come under scrutiny; especially with the recent popularity of deep learning (DL) since approximately 2012, high-level computations have raised the overall energy consumption by 300,000 times or more. Energy-efficient processing units are going to be a key asset in the near future to make sure that large-scale AI systems used for climate mitigation and adaptation don’t cause more harm than good. An overarching concern, however, is that AI’s positive reach is often not extended to disadvantaged and underserved communities around the world. We must commit to an inclusive policy around AI and climate action.
Workshop: DecarboN8 Wikipedia Project
Wednesday 15 Sept 16:30 – 17:30 (BST)
English Wikipedia gets around 10 billion page views per month. For a huge number of people Wikipedia is the go-to resource for learning more about any topic whether it’s for a school project or casual curiosity. As an open-source resource, the information on Wikipedia is shaped by its contributors. The more editors there are from certain fields or backgrounds, the more in-depth and up-to-date the information will be on those topics.
DecarboN8 is working to cultivate a team of researchers who are interested in sharing their knowledge around transport decarbonisation with a wider audience. In this workshop you will learn about the value of Wikipedia as an avenue for engaging the public around research topics, find out how to become a Wikipedia editor, and help shape DecarboN8’s Wikipedia Project.
Facilitator: Richard Walker
Thursday 16 September 2021
Keynote: Group Captain Blythe Crawford – Sustained Flight! Piloting the RAF to CNZ and beyond
Thursday 16 Sept 10:00 – 11:00 (BST)
Chair: Phil Blythe
Title: Sustained Flight! Piloting the RAF to CNZ and beyond
Group Captain Blythe Crawford, RAF
Group Captain Blythe Crawford took command at RAF Leeming in November 2018 following a tour as the RAF exchange officer within the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force’s Strategic Studies Group in Washington, where he was part of the team developing the USAF Innovation Strategy.
Blythe served two previous tours at RAF Leeming on the Tornado F3 and has served two tours in the Pentagon in Washington DC as well as in NATO and on multiple tours overseas on Operations. He has recently established an Innovation Hub at Leeming, RAF eXperimental (RAFX), where they are leading the charge to get the MOD to Carbon Net Zero by 2040. He is particularly focused on collaborative working, especially with academia and start-ups, seeing this as an essential ingredient of the national innovation strategy and prosperity agenda.
Panel: Shifting the transport sector to a whole life carbon approach
Thursday 16 Sept 11:00 – 12:30 (BST)
Discussion topics to include:
- The whole life carbon approach as an essential element to achieving the UK Net Zero targets, from operational, user and construction carbon.
- The role of embodied carbon and Scope 3 materials and supply chain.
- Calculating whole life carbon for road building projects
- The importance of whole life carbon in the rail industry
Chair: Steve Allen, University of Bath
Jamie Shaw, Network Rail
Dr Kim Yates, Mott MacDonald
Chris Hayes, Skanska
Dr Kadambari Lokesh, University of Leeds
Workshop: (Im)mobility imaginaries
Thursday 16 Sept 11:00 – 13:00 (BST)
The incremental steps or changes on the circuitous path towards alternative low carbon futures are often hypothesized, discussed, and (occasionally) implemented. Destinations remain unclear as a result of this near-sighted perspective, creating additional challenges to progress. Regardless of the imagined goal – decarbonation requires changes to most aspects of society. However when changes are individually proposed, such as reducing car access or parking, large segments of society cannot fathom operating within this space due to the interaction of spatial distributions of residences, services, and transport, to name a few. Change will always be challenging to implement, upsetting the status quo and particular interests. The question is whether if a region had a clearer vision of what imagined future they are striving for, whether desire and understanding for this could increase transition support. Similar to works such as How to Run a City like Amazon and Other Fables (Mark Graham et al., 2019), Bicycle Utopias – Imagining Fast and Slow Cycling Futures (Popan, 2019), and After the Car (Dennis and Urry, 2009) this workshop aims to develop short stories located within low carbon and decreased mobility imaginaries. The first half of the workshop will discuss the constraints, possibilities, and potential of decarbonation and its implications. The second half of the workshop will split participants into thematic groups to elaborate themes, stories, or narratives embedded in their decarbonated futures. The goal of the workshop is for a diversity of participants to meet, discuss, and develop (see write) short stories that describe a vision of a decarbonated future.
Facilitator: Cyrille Médard de Chardon, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)
Workshop: Exploring the Transport Decarbonisation Challenge – a Participatory Systems Mapping workshop
Thursday 16 Sept 14:00 – 15:30 (BST)
The transport decarbonisation challenge presents a fundamental requirement for integrated thinking on carbon management across diverse public policy agendas. A whole-systems approach necessitates detailed characterisation of the causal relationships between multiple factors, including those ostensibly far removed from the transport domain. Identification of critical linkages and interdependencies in this wider context will inform effective future policy options, strategies, and structural changes to achieve net-zero targets. This interactive Participatory Systems Mapping (PSM) breakout session provides an opportunity for participants to engage in a holistic approach to this challenge. The PSM method enables both researchers and stakeholders to integrate diverse knowledge, and collaboratively construct shared causal system maps. Participants will experience use of the PRSM software developed by Professor Nigel Gilbert (University of Surrey) for this purpose, including visualisation of domains which are typically difficult to quantify. Building upon an existing systems map, participants will identify political, economic, and socio-cultural factors typically not connected to transportation in a policy context. Causal pathways, linkages, and critical interdependencies will be identified and explored. The session may include ‘stress-testing’ future scenarios considering extreme boundary conditions – such as migration, economic recession or pandemic impacts–to assess unintended consequences for transport decarbonisation. The workshop will support ongoing research undertaken jointly by the UKRI funded Clean Air SPF ANTICIPATE programme and TRANSITION Clean Air Network contributing to recommendations for investment decisions to support key net-zero transport policy ambitions.
Dr Alex Penn, University of Surrey
Dr Suzanne Bartington, Birmingham University
Supporting team in attendance from ANTICIPATE will be:
Dr Ian Hamilton, UCL
Dr Sarah Moller, University of York (TBC)
Dr James Levine, Birmingham University – Attending session in conjunction with The Transition Network
Kirstie Hatcher, University of Surrey
Workshop: CarbonFreePorts: Freeports as opportunities, not threats, for place-based decarbonisation of transport
Thursday 16 Sept 15:30 – 17:00 (BST)
Freeports are a Government flagship policy for ‘levelling-up’ post-Brexit and ‘building back better’ post-Covid. But Government has also pledged to decarbonise transport, including neglected issues of shipping/aviation. This participatory workshop will launch a DecarboN8-funded pilot focused on the Freeports of Teesside and Liverpool to explore potential for these policy agendas to work together, and not against each other, making Freeports a singular opportunity for the North. We explore CarbonFreePorts aiming to align the socio-economic benefits of Freeport development with: 1) expedited & place-relevant decarbonisation of regional transport networks; 2) localised environmental quality, socio-economic development & social justice; and 3) localised capacity for world-leading innovation in zero-carbon shipping. Conference attendees are invited to join this initial brainstorming, fact-finding workshop on this important agenda. Dividing into self-selected sub-groups on the 3 themes, we will pool existing knowledge, contacts and ideas, regarding: historical lessons & experience; localized political, cultural & economic geography (e.g. risks of economic displacement); expectations, challenges & pressures on Freeport development, including integration with local low-carbon transport planning; and key place-based social & environmental issues . including opportunities for skills training and development. Participants need not be from northern England, and are welcome across professions and societal roles. The workshop will involve an initial, brief scene-setting presentation, followed by guided group activities over a total of 1.5 hours. With participant consent, discussions will be recorded and transcribed to provide qualitative data input to the project as a whole.
Facilitators: David Tyfield (Lancaster University) and Matthew Cotton (Teesside University)
Panel: Commute Back Better – Making Zero Carbon Commuting a reality
Thursday 16 Sept 15:30 – 17:00 (BST)
A return to ‘business as usual’ doesn’t have to mean following the ‘same old’ routine. It’s time to #CommuteBackBetter.
The commute is one of the least efficient journeys we ever make, contributing 18 billion kg of CO2e to the climate crisis every year. A panel of mobility experts, chaired by Natwest’s Director of Future Mobility, Mark Dodson, tackles Scope 3 commuting emissions, discussing key challenges and pitching their solutions for decarbonising the commute.
Chair: Mark Dodwell, Natwest Future Mobility Group
Ali Clabburn, founder and CEO of the Liftshare Group shares the power of data following the launch of the Mobilityways Platform and the development of ACEL (Average Commuter Emissions Level), the only standardised methodology for tracking and comparing commuter emissions.
Sandra Whitzel, board member of MaaS tech provider, Sked-Go, and Co-founder of the Women’s Mobility Hub, discusses her findings following the publication of her co-authored a paper on MaaS and carbon emissions.
Georgia Yexley is Head of Cities at Tier, the first micro-mobility company to be fully climate-neutral. E-scooters and e-bikes are changing the way we navigate the urban landscape. Can these Zero Carbon Commuting modes change the way we travel to work?
Natalia Peralta Silverstone, Head of Propersitions at Octopus EV, examines the role of electric vehicles in decarbonising the commute. She shares the initiatives Octopus EV are engaging with to accelerate EV adoption amongst employers and their workforce.
Friday 17 September 2021
Talks: Cycling cultures, interventions & policies
Friday 17 Sept 10:00 – 11:00 (BST)
Chair: Cron Cronshaw, Lancaster University
What’s the use of cycling?
David Metz, UCL Centre for Transport Studies
More cycling is widely seen as a good way of reducing transport carbon emissions. Yet in cycling cities like Copenhagen car mode share is only slightly less than in London, but public transport use is half that of London. This indicates that we can attract people off buses onto bikes but that it much harder to get them out of cars, even in a small, flat city with excellent cycling infrastructure, where almost everyone has experience of safe cycling. We tend to underestimate the attractions of the car as a means to gain access to desired destinations where there is road space to travel and to park at both ends of the trip. We risk optimism bias in our modelling of transport decarbonisation if we do not consider from which modes travel is shifted when we plan measures to increase active travel.
Community bike workshops: place-based organisations and the culture of active travel
Simon Batterbury, University of Melbourne/Lancaster University
Everyday cycling in cities is a form of ‘active’ travel, and a response to mobility crises, congestion, and climate concerns. As part of a cycling renaissance, community bike workshops or ‘bike kitchens’ have flourished in Western countries, now numbering in the thousands. Largely staffed by volunteers, and lying outside mainstream state or corporate control, they assist anybody to keep mobile through maintaining their own bike, cheaply. A few meet the needs of particular social groups, particularly the socially disadvantaged. In all cases, workshops contribute to sociality and a culture of active travel. I offer a typology of workshops, and an exploration of their key contributions and challenges. Comparative research was conducted from 2015-2021 through 45+ workshop visits, interviews, and participant-observation, mainly in Brussels, across France, the US west coast, and Australia. Workshops form part of the ‘urban commons’ and ‘mobility justice’, are reliant on an ever-changing mix of participants and aspirations, and follow different trajectories. They have complexities compared to building more supply-side bike friendly infrastructure, the latter generally favoured by planners and engineers, but they do increase cycling ‘demand’ in particular urban localities.
Talks: Decision-Support Tools
Friday 17 Sept 10:00 – 12:00 (BST)
Chair: Katy Roelich, University of Leeds
What drives CO2 emissions from passenger transport? How structural factors outweigh technological progress
Andreas Kokkvoll Tveit, Institute for Transport Economics
Using so-called decomposition analysis, I assess the effects of several drivers of CO2 emissions from passenger transport in Norway between 2010 and 2018. Norway has commissioned a number of policies intended to reduce such emissions, including support schemes for electrification, measures to reduce overall mobility needs, and incentivizing public transport. At the same time, such policies may be counteracted by increased travel demand and population growth. Although my analyses do not constitute tests of each policy measure’s effect, I assess the relative impact of a number of aggregate factors, such as population, general mobility, and technology. Building on a novel data set, I find that population and mobility per capita have strong emissions-increasing effects. In contrast, energy intensity and carbon intensity reduce emissions. The emissions-reducing effects of my carbon-intensity component hinges, however, on the assumption that biofuels are carbon neutral. When assuming that biofuel emissions equal end-user emissions, I find that total Norway’s total passenger-transport emissions increase between 2010 and 2018, and the emissions-reducing effect of carbon intensity is close to zero. My results suggest that the strong emissions-reducing effect of new technologies such as phasing in electric vehicles is largely counteracted by population growth and the fact that the average Norwegian is travelling more and more. Hence, this paper provides lessons for the debate concerning the relative effects of technology versus structural changes induced by increased affluence and enabled by expansions of the transport system’s capacity (e.g., new multi-lane highways or airport runways.)
A decision making under uncertainty framework to support rapid decarbonisation of transport
Katy Roelich, University of Leeds
Rapid decarbonisation of transport is fraught with uncertainties. Interventions are influenced by their geographical, historical, technological and sociological context but it is not possible to predict this effect. A place-based approach, where interventions’ connection to context is more apparent, makes it harder to ignore uncertainty and provides an opportunity to engage with it more fully. However, governance of transport is not well-equipped to accommodate uncertainty, with responsibility split between transport and land use planning and between national and local scale, and budgeting split between capital and revenue. Furthermore, transport planners have traditionally relied on fixed assumptions and forecasts to underpin decisions. This can create lock-in into a very narrow path of action or decisions which are overly conservative, stifling decarbonisation. In response, new decision-support approaches are emerging that aim to acknowledge, quantify and, in some cases, manage uncertainty. However, the effectiveness of these approaches is dependent on the type of uncertainty they are designed to address (from risk to deep uncertainty) and the stage of decision- making at which they are applied (from analysis to appraisal). This is rarely acknowledged in guidance and can make selection of an approach difficult. In this paper we evaluate recent developments in uncertainty analysis and management in transport, including the case of post-covid planning at Transport for Greater Manchester. We use this evaluation to develop a framework to support the systematic application of uncertainty tools and approaches and the development of robust and adaptable plans to reduce emissions at the necessary speed and scale.
(co-authors: Katy Wright (University of Leeds), Julian Laidler (Transport for Greater Manchester))
Regional Transport Carbon Modelling
Adam Goodchild, Transport for the North
This paper will set out how we have developed modelling tools to inform our Decarbonisation Strategy that are coupled to our transport modelling tools that are used for infrastructure business cases. This helps us to ensure our strategy and business case work is integrated and internally self-consistent, providing understanding on the impacts of mode shift and induced demand. We’ll also touch on extensions to the work for developing an EV Charging Infrastructure plan for the region.
(co-authors: Peter Cole, Jack Snape)
WSP’s Carbon Zero Appraisal Framework
Simeon Butterworth, WSP
With the transport sector now the largest emitter of carbon emissions in the UK and many public sector organisations having declared a climate emergency, there is significant demand in predicting and evaluating the carbon impact of transport policies, projects and programmes. WSP’s Carbon Zero Appraisal Framework provides a proportionate and transparent process for assessing carbon emissions of a scheme or programme throughout the project lifecycle, considering user benefits, embodied carbon and additional impacts. It offers the ability to influence projects from early in their development, which in line with PAS 2080, provides the greatest potential to shape beneficial outcomes. Application of WSP’s Carbon Zero Appraisal Framework has provided evidence of how the £193m Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme will contribute to tackling the Council’s climate emergency by saving the equivalent of 13.4m private car journeys over 60 years. The tool has since been applied to support the assessment of carbon for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £315m Transforming Cities Fund Programme. Outputs have informed design decisions, helping to justify the case for investment whilst ensuring alignment of the wider programme to the net zero ambitions applicable when seeking to drawdown funding provided by central government.
(co-authors: Simon Pope and Tom Gold)
Talks: Shared Mobilities
Friday 17 Sept 11:30 – 13:00 (BST)
Chair / Facilitator: Simon Bullock, University of Manchester
Empowering Mobilities and Democratizing transport: How Shared Mobilities could Save Fragmented Urbanism
Abdellatif Qamhaieh, American University in Dubai
Dubai, arguably one of the most famous global cities today, is a city designed for the car. Extreme automobile dependence as a result of its ‘modernist’ planning roots, harsh climatic conditions, and an overall obsession with automobiles makes navigating around the city challenging, especially for those unlucky enough not to own a car. Meanwhile, introduction of public transport modes such as the Dubai metro and the bus system did help those captive to public transport move around the city, still, the integration of this transport into the fragmented urban form remains very difficult. This aspect naturally affects lower income segments, and rather disproportionately for that matter. Still with technological advancements, some improvements to connectivity are starting to leave their mark on the city. The introduction of personal mobility devices, such as rentable e-bikes, e-scooters, and shared cars in some places, is helping re-integrate public transport systems into the urban fabric – albeit very slowly and difficulty. And while these shared-mobility innovations seem to sit-well with the middle class, still, lower-income segments remain absent from this integration due to spatial and economic reasons. This paper attempts to answer the question “ if shared mobility solutions are potentially the element of change needed for empowering these lower-income groups and democratizing transportation” the paper will introduce background information about the city, its public transport systems, and how shared mobility works within the context. These innovations within Dubai could provide lessons for other rapidly globalizing cities in the region and beyond.
A primer for vagabond sociology, or why ‘thinking like a hitchhiker’ can help save the world.
Jonathan Purkis, Independent academic/writer (researching informal transport/hitchhiking histories and solutions)
Hitchhiking is back on the transport agenda! A flurry of academic publications, a global hitchhiking culture and a trickle of policy initiatives to add ‘pick up points’ or trial app-based rolling lift-giving in a number of cities, suggests the potential for innovative methods of sharing the road is being grasped. This is worthy of debate, endorsement and new ways of thinking. I offer a contribution based on published theoretical work that posits the hitchhiker as a sociological observer and on case studies explored in my forthcoming book ‘Driving with strangers: what hitchhiking tells us about humanity’ (Man. Uni. Press, 2021). The motor age has provided many examples of transport mutual aid during economic collapses, conflict, climate disasters and fuel shortages. Many of these responses deserve a reprise, none more so than the Polish Social Autostop ‘voucher system’ (1957-1995) which offers a template for rural communities today, to stimulate local social enterprise, reduce carbon, improve mental health and de-centre auto-addiction. This would be consistent with the idea of ‘travel as a form of community’ – evidence for which exists in the Canadian Gulf Islands, the casual carpooling/’slugging’ in Oakland, throughout Cuba and in numerous sub-Saharan African countries. Some forms of IT would alleviate public anxiety, although support for car-free days suggests that if framed positively hitchhiking pilot projects could help ‘nudge’ opinion. I suggest that if we fill our conceptual backpacks with tools which seek resource-light, ‘gift economy’ rich solutions to the climate crisis, drawing on the mutual aid witnessed during the ongoing pandemic, then we still might have a chance.
Assessing Sustainable Transport Solutions for Rural Mobility to improve decision‐making on future transport strategies
Patrizia Franco, Connected Places Catapult
Rising transport emissions is an issue for both rural and urban areas, with the former associated with higher per-capita emissions, but solutions to each will vary greatly. Lack of digitalisation and connectivity in rural areas undermines the deployment of low-carbon transportation alternatives, turning them in carbon intensive communities, strongly reliant on private cars. The paper describes how to improve access to services in rural areas, where demand for travel is often underestimated. The data-driven decision-making process implemented reveals differences between geographies and establishes mobile network data (MND) as an alternative data source to represent the demand for travel. Three rural areas with different population density and place structure in the United Kingdom were studied and requirements for new mobility solutions depending on people’s travel demand and habits established. Low carbon footprint options are explored by proposing alternative shared mobility solutions (SMS), whose success is often linked to the ability of attracting the right level of demand. Understanding users’ needs and their travel habits are key to provide the most appropriate combination of SMS. Three steps were followed: a data landscape to select the study areas and a data fusion process for MND aggregated at trip-chains level to derive typical travel patterns; attitudes towards alternative mobility solutions through communities’ engagement; and business models for Digital Demand Responsive Transport, Micro-mobility and delivery drones, adapting them to a rural context. Despite the case study areas have different population densities, findings highlighted travel patterns are comparable and also similar to what is happening in urban areas. Hence rather than defining a minimum population density, SMS should cater for short and local trips and for medium-longer distance trips, aiming for integration with the wider public transport network to increase frequency of services.
(co-authors: Djibril Kaba, Steve Close, Shyma Jundi, Phil Moorcroft, Richard Duck)
Workshop: I don’t always save the planet, but when I do, I’m at work – The role and responsibility of business and the workplace for decarbonisation
Friday 17 Sept 11:30 – 13:00 (BST)
This workshop will explore the role and responsibility of business and the workplace for decarbonisation in two sessions:
Part 1 Change Within
- Future of working from home: The challenges and advantages for both employers and employees
- Corporate decarbonisation strategies: What drives these?
- Green commuting policy: Should workplaces have this and what do they need to implement and assist their staff?
Part 2 Change Without
- Can business practices influence climate change policy for the better?
- Government Regulation on businesses as a driver or a barrier to decarbonisation
- The role of corporate investment into green energy and transport solutions
Facilitators: Jo-Ann Pattinson, Addleshaw Goddard and Jonathan Foster-Clark, Atkins
Panel: Demand responsive transport and the opportunity for decarbonisation
Friday 17 Sept 14:00 – 15:30 (BST)
Rural communities often have a higher carbon footprint per capita, with per capita incomes and a level of affluence which mitigates the lower per capita government spending (visually at least). A mutually reinforcing cycle of car use, reduction in public transport passengers and service reductions (leading to fewer passengers) has effectively ensured that rural transport is primarily based on private car ownership and use. Distances travelled are often longer because communities, work and services are more dispersed, further increasing carbon consumption. These patterns increase the per capita carbon footprint whilst simultaneously ensuring that those without access to a car often face isolation and difficulty accessing services and jobs as well as socialising and leisure activities. Further, rural car use can affect towns and cities, as those without access to public transport at the origin of their journey will drive as close as possible to their destinations (even city centres), exacerbating urban congestion (and increasing the carbon footprint of their journey). This panel discussion looks the potential for demand responsive transport to assist in decarbonising rural transport. Panellists will discuss finding the balance point between the desire to provide a sufficiently flexible service that attracts people to reduce car use, ensures people transfer more of their journey to low(er) carbon modes and improves transport equity. Do we need to throw the business model out of the window in the face of the climate crisis, or can we optimise to ensure these services are efficient?
Chair: Richard Walker (DecarboN8, University of Leeds)
Assessing Sustainable Transport Solutions for Rural Mobility
Dr Patrizia Franco, Connected Places Catapult
This paper reports on a study to improve accessibility and transport solutions in rural environments by increasing the knowledge base around demand for new mobility services. It identifies and suggests ways to remove barriers which prevent NMS being commercially viable in rural areas by: • Using data-driven approaches to understand typical daily travel patterns; and • Identifying new mobility services which can be deployed commercially, and those that will likely require on-going financial support, in order to provide socially necessary services. The study looks at three representative use cases to capture people travel habits, attitudes towards new mobility services and data landscape in different Rural Environments: Mainly Rural (8% of UK population) – Northumberland Largely Rural (11% of UK population) – South Somerset Urban with significant rural (13% of UK population) Essex (County Council area only) It uses these findings to make recommendations on the appetite for NMS and models which will make it viable.
MaaS in rural and peri-urban areas: What role for demand responsive transport?
David Carnero, Padam Mobility
Public transport can be a source of anxiety for suburban residents. Over half the working age population lives in areas with low access to public transport. Infrequent services and poor access means that the car remains the chosen mode in sparsely populated areas. For these reasons, rethinking mobility as a service outside the city is urgent. This paper looks at live examples of integrating DRT with public transport to enable people living beyond the core urban areas to access the public transport network and make seamless multi-modal journeys.
Demand responsive transport and rural mobility
John Taylor, The TAS Partnership
TBC but will consider the Rural Mobility Fund (which has funded demand responsive transport) and the relationship between decarbonisation, travel behaviour and fuel poverty (including road transport fuels).
Decarbonising rural transport using flexible on-demand buses
Beate Kubitz, Beate Kubitz Associates
In UK, the carbon footprint of people living in rural areas tends to be higher than that of people living in urban areas: transport contributes substantially to this. Decarbonising rural transport in a hurry is difficult as rural transport is very much based on private car ownership and use. This paper looks at options for consolidating trips through flexible on-demand bus transport (‘DRT’).
Panel: Life-course in motion: Understanding generation, life-course and family mobilities in place-based decarbonisation
Friday 17 Sept 14:00 – 15:30 (BST)
In this panel we bring existing work on generational mobility cultures, life events, family mobilities and older age travel into debate with place-based decarbonisation. In doing so we discuss a range of questions which include: What assumptions of life course, family and mobility underpin policy and innovation, and is this a problem? Are place-specific age demographics significant to place based decarbonisation, and how? What are generational mobility cultures, and what are their implications for mobility practices? Are life events significant for travel behaviour change, and how might practitioners in different places take advantage of such opportunities? How do ideas of ageing and retirement shape patterns of leisure travel, where do these ideas originate and should they be challenged? How should family mobilities be understood, and how might a mobility transformation challenge or reshape ‘families’? The panel brings together Kiron Chatterjee, University of the West of England; Clare Holdsworth, Keele University; Russell Hitchings, University College London, and Lesley Murray, University of Brighton, who have each explored some of these themes in their work. Following a series of presentations/ provocations we will open up discussion to explore the questions and lines of enquiry that follow when place-based decarbonisation is considered from these perspectives. We will identify the synergies, insights and tensions that emerge at this interface. There will be a 5-10 minute introduction from the panel chair to contextualise the session within the ‘Decarbonising Activities and Places’ conference theme. This short intro will highlight some of the key issues and questions that will be explored, and introduce the papers and speakers.
Chair: Nicola Spurling (DecarboN8, Lancaster University)
What do we know about low carbon mobility behaviours from life course based transport research?
Kiron Chatterjee, University of the West of England, Bristol
There is now a large and growing body of empirical research which has investigated how individual travel behaviour develops over time and is influenced by life course events. Such research has rarely been explicitly focused on low carbon mobility lifestyles, so it is helpful to reflect on what we can gather from this body of research which is helpful for the transport decarbonisation agenda. This paper will summarise the range of research conducted, identifying what populations, mobility behaviours and time periods have been considered. It will identify what is known about the circumstances and events that trigger switches between high and low carbon mobility behaviours and vice versa and the circumstances that support low carbon mobility behaviours being maintained over time. It will discuss how this knowledge can guide us towards promising interventions to support low carbon mobility futures but also point out that more understanding is needed on the dynamics of mobility behaviour.
What about care? Decarbonising the everyday
Clare Holdsworth, Keele University
Everyday mobilities do not just resolve around activities associated with production or leisure, though these tend to dominate discussions about place-based decarbonisation. Instead of demarcating the everyday into different types of mobility (e.g. commuting, retail, leisure) in this paper I make the case for a relational approach that places non-productive practices of care at the centre of strategies for decarbonisation. Caring practices are distinguished by distinctive spatial and temporal parameters. For example they are not necessarily organised around infrastructure (such as public transport) or located within discrete places (care can take place in domestic settings, health facilities or care homes) and can be experienced as times of endurance (Baraitser, 2017) or emergency. Care does though evolve around copresence in time and space. Moreover caring responsibilities develop and change over the lifecourse. This paper draws on my empirical analysis of the relationality of everyday busyness (Holdsworth, 2021) to make the case that non-productive activities, and how they are experienced in time and space, need to be central to placed-based decarbonisation initiatives. Baraitser, L. (2017). Enduring Time. Bloomsbury. Holdsworth, C. (2021). The Social Life of Busyness. Emerald.
Demanding distance in later life leisure travel: how did this situation come about and what are the implications?
Russell Hitchings, University College London
This paper reflects on a study that sought to understand the processes by which older people in the UK have come to travel further than ever before as part of their leisure. It begins with how various related areas of academic research and policy commonly think about later life mobility and the implications of some of the assumptions that tend to permeate discussions about the role of travel in the lives of older people. Then it turns to how three groups of older people in the UK spoke of how and where they should be travelling for leisure after retirement. Drawing on what they said to us, my hope is to reflect on the processes through which certain forms of mobility become valorised as people move through the life course and the implications for travel decarbonisation agendas.
Generational mobility cultures: implications for decarbonisation
Lesley Murray, The University of Brighton
Understanding the ways in which people differentially navigate urban space is key to decarbonisation. This paper focuses in on the concept of generation in seeking to understand changes in everyday urban mobilities over time and across different urban contexts in Europe. Generation, as opposed to lifecourse, is argued to encompass the non-linearity, relationality and cultural aspects of the ‘long view’ (McLeod 2015) of mobilities. Generations are considered to soak up cultures of mobilities at particular times across the lifecourse and these are then evoked through sensory experiences at other times. Generations may share temporal cultures, regardless of place, or they may be deeply rooted in locale (Murray and Robertson 2016). This paper is based on data collected in transgenerational walks (Murray and Järviluoma 2020) in three cities in Europe: Brighton, UK, Turku, Finland and Ljubljana, Slovenia. It considers the implications of generational mobility cultures in producing mobility practices. McLeod, J. 2015. Conceptual frameworks, Paper presented at Capturing everyday temporalities through Qualitative Longitudinal Research. The Keep University of Sussex, 22 June 2015. Murray, L. and Järviluoma, H. 2020. Walking as transgenerational methodology, Qualitative Research. 20(2) 229–238. Murray, L. and Robertson, S. (eds.) 2016. Intergenerational mobilities: relationality, age and lifecourse. London: Routledge.
Panel: Delivering Real Zero – From Strategy to Action
Friday 17 Sept 15:30 – 17:00 (BST)
We are seeing lots of decarbonisation strategies being developed at a whole range of scales, but actually delivering these strategies is where many key players are having less short-term success. This session from Arup and UK 100 explores how authorities and other influencers can turn strategy into action, and deliver real zero in a hurry. We will hear experiences from across the UK of what is needed to accelerate delivery and how some areas have managed to take action sooner. Participants are invited to join this panel discussion to share learning and consider how to make the move from strategy to action.
Chair: Rebecca Powell, Arup
Progress in Decarbonising Transport in Wales
Dafydd Munro, Welsh Government and Ben Pritchard, Arup
Dafydd Munro is a Senior Policy Office responsible for leading decarbonisation of transport within Welsh Government. Dafydd has worked closely with elected members, UKCCC and colleagues to develop and deliver a forward thinking programme of interventions to accelerate delivery against Net Zero targets.
Ben Pritchard is an Associate Director with Arup. He leads the Arup Consulting business in Wales and is responsible for Arup input to decarbonisation on the Wales Transport Strategy and Low Carbon Delivery Plan 2. In addition he is a Board Member of the Western Gateway, a co opted Board Member of the Wales Co Operative Centre and on the Wales Industrial Development Advisory Board.
They will provide an overview of the work undertaken to date, provide some insights into what is needed next for delivery and their tips for tackling the climate emergency for transport. This will include specific reference to these key areas of focus:
- Home working
- Electric Vehicles
- Public Transport
- Public Sector Fleet
Local Authority Powers Related to Climate Action
Karen Barrass, UK100
Karen manages the design, delivery and evaluation of UK100’s ambitious policy and research programme that increases ambitious action by national, regional and local government. This includes overseeing the creation of a robust evidence base that highlights the need for local leaders to be placed at the heart of the UK’s Net Zero climate action plans. Karen has been working on climate issues for 19 years and her extensive experience lies in research and advocacy – developing insight and policy tools and leading campaigns to affect positive change. Before joining UK100 in 2020, Karen spent the previous four years advising European parliamentarians on climate, air quality and transport and working with communities across the South East. Karen’s doctorate from Oxford University explored the policy implementation processes necessary to decarbonise transport. Karen began her career at The Climate Group where she worked to establish the States and Regions Alliance – now the Under2 Coalition.
Closing Plenary: Dr Mimi Sheller & Yorkshire and Humber Regional Youth Climate Assembly
Friday 17 Sept 17:00 – 19:30 (BST)
Chair: Monika Büscher (DecarboN8, Lancaster University)
Title: Co-designing a Post-carbon Future
Dr Mimi Sheller, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Mimi Sheller, Ph.D., is Inaugural Dean of The Global School at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Massachusetts. Until July 2021 she was Professor of Sociology, Head of the Sociology Department, and founding Director of the Center for Mobilities Research and Policy at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She is founding co-editor of the journal Mobilities and past President of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility. She helped to establish the “new mobilities paradigm” and is considered to be a key theorist in critical mobilities research and in Caribbean studies.
Sheller has published more than 125 articles and book chapters, and is the author or co-editor of fifteen books, including Advanced Introduction to Mobilities (Edward Elgar, 2021); Island Futures: Caribbean Survival in the Anthropocene (Duke University Press, 2020); Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes (Verso, 2018); Aluminum Dreams: The Making of Light Modernity (MIT Press, 2014); Citizenship from Below: Erotic Agency and Caribbean Freedom (Duke University Press, 2012); Consuming the Caribbean: From Arawaks to Zombies (Routledge, 2003); and Democracy After Slavery: Black Publics and Peasant Radicalism in Haiti and Jamaica (Macmillan Caribbean, 2000).
Yorkshire and Humber Regional Youth Climate Assembly
Exhibit: Embodied Carbon in Transport- the ‘critical’ in the UK’s net-zero journey
Ongoing throughout conference
‘Embodied carbon’ (EC) in transport infrastructure (such as a new road) refers to the GHG emissions produced in its construction, maintenance and operation. EC from maintenance and operation is encompasses emissions over a life period of 40-year, including operation of street lighting, and from routine and periodic maintenance works. The UK Government’s published work on transport decarbonisation acknowledge that embodied carbon exists but with little to no commitments to reduce it. This risks project appraisals overlooking embodied carbon impacts which may lead to perverse outcomes, and subsequently, failure in achieving our net-zero target. For example, the Government’s Road Investment Strategy promises 4000+ additional lane-kilometers by 2025. The spike in embodied carbon emissions (+13 million tons of CO2 equivalents) from its completion would be equivalent to a kilometer-exhaust emission from almost 80 billion new cars. This audio-visual while introducing the embodied carbon and the magnitude of its impact, also touches on how simply it could get overlooked in the current infrastructure-sustainability monitoring practices and future-proof climate strategies. So, we, in addition, present current and near-future resource efficient solutions that are available to overcome this ‘critical’ hurdle in our path to net-zero.
Exhibitor: Kadmbari Lokesh, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
Exhibit: Lock-in of Urban consumption: Bangkok’s car dependence
Ongoing throughout conference
Urban consumption is well documented with its impacts on the environment and climate change through unsustainable patterns. The complicated interactions among factors from diverse systems and scales in the urban context can co-evolve and create a lock-in situation that perpetuates unsustainable urban consumption patterns, such as high-carbon transport modes. Since the roots of this lock-in originate from individual factors at the micro-level and structural factors at the macro-level, there is a need to account for both structure and individual agency in understanding the factors perpetuating unsustainable consumption in cities. To provide a better understanding of the lock-in factors, we build an explanatory framework that conceptually marries literature on socio-technical systems and urban consumption. Two research questions guide our study: (1) What socio-technical systems in urban areas can lock-in unsustainable consumption? (2) How do these systems interact to create lock-in? Our resulting framework describes the influence and interactions of three systems (physical, non-physical, and human) that we interpret from two layers: macro (collectively shaped conditions) and micro (individually shaped conditions). Applying the framework to the case of individual mobility, we use a study on Bangkok, Thailand to demonstrate the interaction among factors. Theoretically, by integrating literature on urban consumption and socio-technical systems, we sharpen understanding of how urban consumption behaviors can be locked-in with a tool that scholars could apply to other consumption areas. Empirically, the case study verifies the utility of our framework to increase practical understanding into the multiple and interacting factors that can cause lock-in of urban consumption.
Exhibitor: Nhi Truong, Tohoku University