Prime Mover Magazine

Austroads tackles road transport decarbonisation

Road transport has a role to play in supporting state and national emissions reduction goals according to the latest report from Austroads.

The report analyses the contribution of the road transport sector to generating greenhouse gas emissions in Australia and New Zealand and found that if left unabated the transportation sector will continue to drive emissions growth.

Also, business as usual is inconsistent with the ambition for net zero emissions by 2020 across Australia and New Zealand jurisdictions.

“The roads sector has an important role to play in supporting the state and national goals in the transition to net zero emissions by 2050 as it accounts for approx. 14 per cent of Australian GHG emissions,” said Austroads Program Manager Network, Richard Delplace.

The issues paper ‘Decarbonisation of Road Transport Network Operations in Australia and New Zealand’ explores the policy landscapes of both countries and reviews several decarbonisation pathways in the context of the Paris Agreement’s goal to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change by limiting the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

The transition to electric vehicles across the road network is a critical initiative in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as highlighted in the recently released Technology Investment Roadmap Discussion Paper: A Framework to Accelerate Low Emissions TechnologiesOpens in new window from the Australian Commonwealth Government.

“Policy makers and road transport network operators can have real impact on the road sector’s decarbonisation; crucially, policy interventions to support electric vehicle sales and the early retirement of inefficient internal combustion engine vehicles from the fleet are required to substantially reduce road transport emissions by 2050," said Delplace.

“However, the accelerated adoption of low and zero-emission vehicles must be supplemented with efficient and holistic approach to road transport network operations, planning and management. This includes encouraging behaviour change with respect to mode choice, supporting strategic planning for efficient freight networks and supporting active transport.

“While reducing emissions is essential to reducing the risks associated with climate change, additional benefits include health benefits related to air quality improvements and more active travel modes, competitiveness benefits and broader economic benefits," he said.

The findings, according to Delplace, will inform Austroads' strategic review of the Guide to Traffic Management and future research within the Network Program.

In other news, Australia is leading the world with low emission fuel R&D.

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