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TRB 89th Annual Meeting (January 10-14, 2010)
Transportation, Climate Change, and Sustainability
Jan 12 2010 9:30AM- 12:00PM
Hilton, International Center
Are We Reaching a Plateau or "Peak" Travel? Trends in Passenger Transport in Six Industrialized Countries (10-2711)
Projections of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions for industrialized countries typically show continued growth in vehicle ownership, vehicle use and overall travel demand. This represents a continuation of trends from the 1970s through the early 2000s. This paper presents a descriptive analysis of cross-national passenger transport trends in six industrialized countries, providing evidence to suggest that these trends may have halted. Through decomposing passenger transport energy use into activity, mode structure and energy intensity, we show that increases in total activity (passenger travel) have been the driving force behind increased energy use, offset somewhat by declining energy intensity. We show that total activity growth has halted relative to GDP in recent years in the six countries examined. If these trends continue, it is possible that accelerated decline in the energy intensity of car travel; stagnation in total travel per capita; some shifts back to rail and bus modes; and at least somewhat less carbon per unit of energy could leave the absolute levels of emissions in 2020 or 2030 lower than today.
Millard-Ball, Adam , University of California, Santa Cruz
Schipper, Lee , University of California, Berkeley
Transportation Research Board. 500 Fifth St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
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