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Transport emissions in 2006 contributed to 24% of global CO2 emissions, with over half of these being due to car travel. Walking and cycling are the most environmentally sound ways of travelling and encouraging them is key. But they are only practical for a small amount of journeys. Next to these, coaches provide the lowest-carbon way to travel, with train and bus close behind.
We need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gases and create a low-carbon economy. The role of transport in this is crucial, both in terms of the effects on the economy and on people�s lifestyles. One of the most important steps anyone can make in reducing their carbon footprint is to switch to low-carbon transport. That�s why having a workable, integrated public transport system is essential.
The more we extend the provision of public transport, the more people will use it instead of cars or planes and the less CO2 and pollution will be released into our atmosphere, therefore allowing a clearer and better quality of life for all. Partnerships between national and local government, transport operators and town planners are key to removing the barriers to public transport use.
And low carbon transport options don�t just cut the gases that contribute to global warming. They also offer the chance to reduce a range of other exhaust pollutants that have a major impact on human health.
An integrated transport system that attracts a bigger share of travellers keeps people protected as their is a lower risk of accidents. Compared with travelling by car, you�re at least ten times safer on public transport.
Bus operators worldwide are working on improving the efficiency of their vehicles. Some operators are looking at diesel-hybrid technology to reduce CO2 and exhaust pollutants. National Express Group for instance have a very clear policy on reduction of emissions - see National Express : Corporate Responsibility for more information.
We can�t keep building and widening roads to cut congestion. There isn�t room and our countryside needs protecting. A full coach removes a mile of traffic from the roads. Worth thinking about? Public transport also reduces the need for as much town/city-centre parking, freeing up space for people to walk and cycle. On existing roads dedicated lanes for multi-passenger vehicles would cut journey times for people who choose lower-carbon ways to travel.
Spending time sitting in traffic is wasteful. People can enjoy more productive time while travelling either working or relaxing.
Not everyone has a car. Not everyone wants new dual carriageways cutting through their community, separating their homes from nearby amenities. In the future we need to integrate planning and transport systems so that communities don�t feel fragmented. Services need to be joined up so that everyone has access to them and they serve the people that need them the most.