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10 Transport

10. Transport

Reducing transport need, switching to shared and human powered transport

Transport accounts for 31% of Devon’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.1 The sector is the single largest emitter of GHG across the County, which also reflects the UK-wide position.  

Reducing emissions from transport is key to successfully reaching net-zero. Addressing the challenge will require a combination of behavioural, policy and technological changes. The movement of people, as opposed to goods, accounts for around two thirds of all transport emissions.  Whilst all areas of transport must decarbonise, and do so rapidly, transforming how we move about Devon will provide the opportunity to realise significant wider benefits: for our health, safety, public and personal finances and enjoyment of public space.

10.1 What needs to happen?

We support the following hierarchy of action:2

  1. Reduce the need to travel
  2. Shift to sustainable transport options. These themselves have a hierarchy of active travel, followed by mass/shared transit (low/no emissions), and taxi (e.g. first/last-mile use)
  3. Electrification of the remainder of the private vehicle fleet and reducing emissions from larger vehicles and aviati

10.1.1 Reduce the need to travel

We must better consider our spatial planning and land use to reduce the need for travel and increase the ease, attractiveness and safety of active travel. Rural villages and towns have too often become locked into having to travel to access amenities and services, as well as employment. Successive planning policies and regimes have resulted in a loss of amenities and services from rural communities, furthering the need for travel. Creating thriving and more self-reliant rural communities through a relocalisation of services is important to address the drivers of travel. However, when communities want and need to go further afield, they need access to sustainable travel and transport.

10.1.2 Modal-shift to sustainable transport options

Overall, public transport and active travel have not been attractive enough and have not been invested in to the same extent as the roads resulting in greater use of cars, except for in a few locations.3 Relatively, the cost of car travel has fallen whilst public transport has increased. Likewise, national policy, such as the freezing of fuel duty at successive budgets since the last recession, has only served to widen this gap.

Merely substituting existing transport usage in Devon with Electric Vehicles (EVs) and maintaining current behaviours could be a “successful failure”, missing a once- in-a-generational opportunity to realise the benefits for health and wellbeing that increased active travel would bring 4 and the transformational changes that this could bring to Devon’s town and city centres. Indeed, many of the changes we are proposing align well with changes recommended by Public Health Devon to tackle air pollution 5 , and with recent announcements on the role for active travel that have been brought to the forefront of policy by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic has also highlighted the urgency of tackling the obesity crisis, which is closely linked to the ways in which we move. In addition, if current travel habits are maintained, the electricity demanded by electric vehicles would be likely to exceed that which could be supplied from existing zero-carbon sources, and the production of batteries and other components would place a significant burden on natural resources.

There is high recognition of the role of transport in climate change. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) public attitudes tracker shows three of the top four items that the respondents feel would have the biggest impact on tackling climate change are transport-related. 6 Furthermore, the National Travel Attitudes Study, by the Department for Transport, shows high public recognition of the co-benefits associated with health from reduced vehicle use, 74% of respondents agree that motor vehicle use should be reduced. 7

We need to encourage the use of sustainable transport by making it the most attractive choice, particularly in urban areas. There are challenges to shifting rural transport to sustainable modes, particularly due to Devon’s dispersed geography and the need to access larger settlements for services. Further consideration will be needed on how best to deliver active travel opportunities for rural communities and improved public transport and shared mobility facilities for less densely populated parts of
Devon viably. This is especially important given that Devon welcomes significant numbers of tourists annually to enjoy our countryside.

10.1.3 Electrification of the remainder of the private vehicle fleet

Personal vehicles will become electric, therefore we need to increase electric vehicle charging provision across Devon. Reducing emissions from larger vehicles and aviation poses distinct challenges from personal transport, as the power requirements are greater, and the travel patterns are different. Whilst technological solutions and prototypes exist, particularly for heavier vehicles, the technology is less well-advanced and the opportunities for rapid decarbonisation are fewer. We signpost a range of actions for finding solutions for larger vehicles, such as for freight, including – but not only – electrification. Devon has valuable aerospace expertise to contribute to pathways to net-zero aviation, but the timelines for bringing new aeroplanes to market are challenging and point to a need to constrain air travel nationally. 

10.1.4 Action Diagram for Transport

Figure 10.1 Diagram of the Transport Actions, showing the key trajectory for GHG emission reductions over time and the anticipated timing of actions.

10.1.5 Priority Actions

Reduce the need to travel:

  • T1   Provide up-to-date digital information and advice on reducing the need to travel and the most sustainable travel choice. 
  • T5 Review opportunities to reduce vehicle capacity, particularly where it can support  other objectives (i.e. urban centre regeneration, street cafes, active travel routes.) 
  • T2 Promote development which will assist in relocalisation in all settings (rural through to urban), including mixed use development, development meeting local needs and creating opportunities to live, work and use services locally. 

Promote active transport and shared mobility:

  • T7  Improve strategic cycle routes within and between settlements.
  • T30 Ensure provision of mobility hubs in new developments of appropriate size, where modal change can occur easily.
  • T22 Promote Total Transport, integrating various transport services (school transport, public bus services, patient transport etc.) to enable more efficient use of vehicles and reduce dead mileage.

Influence the switch to public transport:

  • T20 Enhancement of bus priority measures, including bus lanes and bus-only streets, to make bus travel relatively more attractive than driving.
  • T21 Protect and seek to enhance funding for local bus routes, to ensure people can continue to access services, employment and events without requiring access to a car. 
  • T24 Through the Peninsula Sub-National Body work with government to pilot and implement a low carbon fuel solution for rail travel in the South West.

Transition the remainder of vehicle fleet away from fossil fuels:

  • T34. Develop an electric vehicle strategy to increase electric vehicle charging provision across Devon, including in key public spaces and workplaces, on street charging and plans to address the tourism sector.
  • T36 Electric charging and shared mobility on Devon Climate Emergency partner owned assets
  • T37 DCE partner organisations and larger businesses in the County to transition their fleets to Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, including shared cycles and e-cargo bikes. 
  • T39 Seek opportunities for funding for moving public transport fleets across to zero or low carbon

10.2 Opportunities and Benefits 

10.3 Key Outcomes

10.4 Goal: Relocalisation of services, as well as use of technology reduces the need to travel in all community types

10.5 Opportunity for Discussion at the Citizens’ Assembly: the role of reducing road capacity to reduce traffic

10.6 Goal: Our streets are safe for all, with cycling, walking, shared and public transport prioritised

10.7 Goal: It is easy to transition between different types of travel and transport

10.8 All remaining vehicles are electric, or are large vehicles such as HGVs which run on alternative low carbon fuels

10.9 Goal: Flying is reduced and Devon is contributing to the development of low carbon aviation technology

10.10 Energy for freight transport is reduced through efficiencies or modal shift and vehicles are transitioned to low carbon fuels such as hydrogen or synthetic fuels. 

10.11 Action Summary Table for Transport

10.12 References

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