European Transport Research Review’s Contribution to Earth Day

Pollution is the third theme of our Earth Week 2017. Carbon dioxide is the main pollutant, but how is it produced? In this blog, Professor Karst Geurs, the Editor-in-Chief of European Transport Research Review explains how transportation benefits society, but also has a negative effect on us and the environment.

Prof. Karst Geurs
Prof. Karst Geurs

Over the last century transport has brought enormous benefits to society through facilitating the globalization of the world economy, promoting the internationalization of businesses, allowing for networking, and providing opportunities for many people to visit friends and relatives anywhere in the world. But this enormous increase in mobility and the potential to travel vast distances does not come without a cost, as there are negative impacts on society, safety, the environment, resource use and congestion.

According to the International Energy Agency, transport accounts for one quarter of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions (CO2). It is the only major sector where CO2 emissions continue to grow, with car use, road and maritime freight and aviation being the principal contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

Most human exposure from air pollutants comes from traffic, having major impacts on mortality. Furthermore, the advantages and disadvantages are not equally experienced by all members of the population. Groups that benefit from having high levels of access to opportunities and better connections are often not the same who experience the burdens such as congestion and poor air quality. Cities around the world, and in particular cities in developing countries and emerging economies, struggle with the negative consequences of rapid urbanization and motorization.

Governments struggle with policies to address severe congestion, air pollution, sprawling metropolitan areas, and to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from road transport, aviation and shipping. In 2016, the European Commission set a target of a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from transport by midcentury, compared to 1990. And at the same time, emissions of air pollutants from transport that harm our health need to be drastically reduced.

Bringing about the technological transition towards low-carbon mobility and behavioral change needed in the transport sector is a huge challenge for the next decades. It also presents challenges for transportation research. Multi- and interdisciplinary research is needed address the multifaceted issues of sustainable transport, integrating knowledge from a wide range of academic fields such as engineering, geography, urban planning, economics and public administration.

European Transport Research Review

European Transport Research ReviewEstablished in 2008 by the European Conference of Transport Research Institutes (ECTRI), the European Transport Research Review (ETRR) provides researchers and practitioners around the world with an authoritative forum to describe and discussing research related to environmental, economic and social implications of moving towards a low-carbon and low-emission transport system. ETRR is an international open access journal on transportation, with a special focus on European transport policymakers and the transport research community. ETRR aims to bridge the gap between social science research and engineering practice on transportation, covering all disciplines within the social sciences and engineering as applied to transportation and presenting research on all modes of transport.

ETRR publishes papers, amongst other main fields of interest, related to Environmental issues in transportation and climate change, Mobility and transport behavior, Transportation planning and policy and Transportation economics, Freight Transport and Logistics and Vehicle design & technology.

ETRR is an open access journal which means that ETRR publications are freely and permanently available online to anyone with an internet connection. Given the necessary development of transportation research to address the technological and social transitions needed in transport, publishing research in open access journals contributes to better and more efficient science, and to innovation in the public and private sectors. Making research freely available in ETRR benefits researchers, policy and decision makers in Europe but also developing countries and emerging economies where the transition in the transport sector is most urgently needed.

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