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Joined up transport policy…

20 October 2011
Joined up transport policy…

By Robin Haycock, Head of Transport, The Climate Group.

October, 20, 2011. 

On my way from London at the present to a conference in Lyon, and I have reaffirmed my love for big joined up transport policy and planning.

My double decker TGV from Lille is heading straight into Charles de Gaulle airport before heading off on its journey to Lyon.  This means no minor shuffling around,  and the obvious solution for anyone flying into the airport and going somewhere in France is to jump on a comfy fast train running on zero carbon nuclear energy. When I get to the centre of Lyon,  I can get a tram or finish how I like to travel - by bicycle - using their three Euro for seven days hire scheme. 

So did I need to go to Lyon at all?  Well yes in this case as The Climate Group is developing a States and Regions network with Quebec state to share data on EV deployment, and I have agreed to chair this and also speak at the conference on sustainable mobility. But tomorrow is really interesting because I get to present by video conference to Adelaide and reduce my energy consumption in transport even more, while still discussing the issue of sustainable mobility in both France and Australia - with just two hours between the presentations.

I didn’t need to do a face to face presentation in Australia and therefore I didn’t need to travel… this is a critical issue in the future of sustainable mobility as it is a lot to do with reducing the need to travel – and therefore enhancing my personal life in many cases.

Sustainable transport (for me) needs to start at home. If you can’t stand up at a conference and show how our world can be continued without carbon and at extremely low overall energy consumption,  then I need to find another job; luckily on this trip and with the aid of big planning done by France and technology provided by videoconferencing backed by high internet speeds, I can stand on the other side of the world and speak to an audience in Australia two hours before a similar address in France and know my consumption is negligible.

So what are the principles for this sustainable transport dream to work?:

  • Solve energy constraints – nuclear, efficient renewables…
  • Reduce the need and desire to travel – global businesses operating locally driven by massive internet speeds, and large scale land use planning
  • Local transport planning and public intervention with finance backing modal shift and public provision of quality alternatives to the private car
  • Zero emission solutions of everything that is left, backed by zero tolerance and legislation stopping the burning of fossil fuels within transport in any medium sized city!

Strange that nothing in the list above is new or impossible to achieve. It just needs a belief and leaders to make it happen  and individuals to realise the attractive freedom of a future without burning carbon.

Back to my nuclear driven train journey then where I write this blog in comfort watching the world go by outside…

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