Reducing carbon dioxide emissions from UK road transport

B. J. Simpson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several cases of extreme local weather conditions since the storms of October 1987 have served as reminders of some of the possible consequences of global warming, recently more usually, although less precisely, referred to as 'climate change'. Carbon dioxide emissions have been identified as the principal likely culprit and road traffic is the only major source from the UK which is increasing in amount. Local authorities may feel impotent to make a significant contribution to a solution, but example is a worthwhile motive. A local authority can contribute in several ways: implementation of improved vehicle technologies; adopting road speed limits and upholding them; promotion of driving styles which are more sensitive to their environmental effects and of improved vehicle maintenance; policies to change mode of travel and transport and to reduce the amount of travel by several means, including fuller use of vehicles. Many of the ways of reducing carbon dioxide discharges locally will have other environmental benefits. The implementation of cleaner travel lags behind the science to allow it; local authorities have an important role to play in reducing the gap. Average vehicle loadings are low, especially for personal travel; there is much scope for improved environmental performance, and for public transport there are issues relating to value for public spending. Reductions in the amount of travel can also contribute to several government policies relating to social exclusion, promotion of sustainable communities and supporting town centre activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-210
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Municipal Engineer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2006


  • Environment
  • Transport management
  • Transport planning


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