Reducing levels of urban passenger travel

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Both the prospect of global oil depletion and the urgent need to address climate change will impact the sustainability of urban passenger transport, particularly in high-mobility Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) cities. Possible approaches for improving its sustainability include improving the fuel efficiency of all transport vehicles, shifting to alternative sources of energy, increasing the occupancy rate for all transport modes, shifting to more energy-efficient transport modes, and reducing the level of urban vehicular passenger travel. This study concentrates on the final approach and examines the various policies that could be adopted to achieve travel reductions. It finds that very high urban densities would reduce vehicular travel, but even if politically and economically feasible, would take decades and could conflict with overall urban sustainability. Similarly, raising the costs of car travel to a sufficiently high level would be effective but inequitable. This study argues that only by decreasing the convenience of urban car travel can large and equitable reductions in passenger travel be achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-719
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Transportation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Accessibility
  • Travel convenience
  • Travel reductions
  • Urban transport

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