Cleaner air and fewer traffic jams: the challenges of urban mobility

Published on Thursday, 13 June 2019

“The key measure to be implemented is a modal shift in choice of transport, either towards public transport or non-motorised transport, such as cycling, electric scooters or walking”

Based on these criteria, the key measure to be implemented is a modal shift in choice of transport, either to public transport or non-motorised transport, such as cycling, electric scooters or walking. If travellers were to switch to public transport, emissions per passenger could be reduced by 70% in the case of the conventional bus, and more than 90% in the case of train and the metro.

Other initiatives include the use of smart mobility systems such as car-sharing or carpooling and the promotion of electric vehicles. Although sales of the latter have increased in Spain, with 41% growth in 2018 according to figures from the Spanish Association of Automobile and Truck Manufacturers, they represent just 6.4% of total car sales, still lagging far behind diesel cars (36.6%) and cars that run on gasoline (57.1%). In order to make progress in this area, Endesa has launched a highly ambitious plan to boost electricity mobility in Spain, which involves installing more than 8.500 public charging points between 2019 and 2023 at a cost of 65 million euro.

It is also proposed that drivers be discouraged from using the oldest and most polluting vehicles, since 40% of Spanish private cars do not reach the minimum requirements for a DGT environmental label. This would also bring about a significant increase (between 10% and 30%) in private car sales, with the ever-increasing adoption of self-driving and connected cars.

Finally, it is recommended that public transport vehicles be switched to less polluting vehicles, such as natural gas or electric buses or buses equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems.

How can energy sustainability in transport be increased?

Owing to its high levels of pollution and energy consumption, passenger transport should be the main focus of the initiatives to be taken. The type of measures to be implemented in the transport sector will depend primarily on the size of the city, the size of the metropolitan areas relative to the city centre and the orography.

To increase the energy sustainability of this sector, the Deloitte study makes the following recommendations to city councils and municipal administrations:

  • Conduct regular studies to assess the mobility patterns of citizens, in order to define mobility plans.
  • Define mobility plans to reduce emissions and improve air quality.
  • Implement action plans for each municipality that include restrictions on access to urban centres, expand the public transport service, facilitate the use of non-motorised transport and enhance intermodality, i.e., the use of various forms of transport to avoid the use of private vehicles.
  • Conduct public awareness and information campaigns.
  • Develop regulations that facilitate the growth of smart mobility business models.
  • Encourage the penetration of electric vehicles and the removal of old vehicles.
  • Promote the development of the electric vehicle charging network.
  • Establish obligations for companies with more than 50 employees to develop corporate sustainable mobility plans.
  • Replace public transport vehicles with other less polluting vehicles.