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An exploration of household response to personal travel carbon reduction targets

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journal contribution
posted on 03.12.2007, 10:10 by Miles R. Tight, Alison Vicat, Abigail Bristow, Alison Pridmore, Anthony D. May
Transport is currently responsible for around a quarter of the UK’s total anthropogenic CO2 emissions and this proportion is projected to increase. The transport sector will undoubtedly need to play a significant role in achieving carbon reductions if the Government is to meet its ambitious long term goal of a 60% reduction by 2050. This paper examines current carbon use by households for personal land-based transport and considers how feasible it would be to change that use over the period up to 2050 in the UK. It provides a unique insight into how much and in what way households and individuals may be willing to adapt their transport behaviour to achieve carbon reductions. A computer based transport carbon calculator was developed to investigate individual households’ CO2 emissions from various modes based on travel diary information. This formed the focus of a series of interactive interviews in which participants were asked to consider how their future low carbon transport strategy could look. Households’ views on various abatement measures were explored, including technological change in vehicle design or fuel source and behavioural change through, for instance, traffic restraint and investment in public transport. Overall, a 40% reduction in carbon emissions was seen to be feasible through a combination of behavioural change measures and a realistically achievable degree of technological improvement, falling well short of the UK government’s goal of a 60% reduction. Through changes in behaviour alone the households involved could only achieve around a 20% cut in carbon emissions – seemingly a threshold beyond which further reductions will be difficult and may necessitate significant lifestyle change.



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TIGHT, M.R. ... et al, 2007. An exploration of household response to personal travel carbon reduction targets. International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, 1(3), pp. 143-159


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This article was published in the journal, International Journal of Sustainable Transportation [© Taylor & Francis]. The definitive version is available at:





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