Mobilityways joins growing calls for more coherent Government plan to empower people to make lower carbon travel choices

Climate Change Committee (CCC) already predicts that without clear policies, targets and incentives, ‘vehicle-kilometres’ will exceed pre-pandemic rates before 2030. The largest single source of carbon emissions is surface transport which, according to the CCC, made up 23 per cent of UK’s emissions in 2022.

The employer commute emissions specialist Mobilityways this week joined increasingly loud calls for UK Government to articulate fully quantified plans and policies to stimulate people to explore greener modes of transport, to ensure the UK meets the surface transport emission reduction targets it laid out in the Government’s own Carbon Budget Delivery Plan (CBDP), published just a year ago.

Furthermore, the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero’s 2023 figures just out, show that domestic transport now makes up 28 per cent of the UK’s total emissions. So, transport decarbonisation is clearly heading in the wrong direction.

Julie Furnell, Managing Director of Mobilityways, comments:

“Without clear Government policies, funding and incentives, there is a real risk that the decarbonisation of transport associated with the commute to work will move too slowly to enable the UK to hit its 2030 interim NDC goals – now less than seven years away. Meanwhile, large employers risk failing to cut their Scope 3 carbon emissions which often make up around three-quarters of their total emissions.”

Five million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (MtCO2e) per year of abatement that has been attributed to ‘modal shifting’ from cars to more sustainable modes of transport is no longer quantified by the Government. Although the Department for Transport has articulated many options for encouraging these modal shifts, they have been removed from the department’s own delivery pathways and are no longer quantified.

This is of growing concern because, the CCC explained in its latest report on the government’s progress towards Net Zero, UK emissions from surface transport rose by 11 per cent in 2020-2021, and by a further three per cent in 2021-2022. Without highly focused government policy it is now predicted that surface transport emissions, as well as traffic levels, could return to pre-pandemic levels before 2030, creating a significant risk that the UK will miss its 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) emissions reduction targets. There is some evidence that the Government is over-reliant on the increasing percentage of Electric Vehicle new car sales (up to 16.5 per cent share of overall new car sales in 2023 according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), in order to bring surface transport emissions down ‘naturally’.

However, emissions from road freight have actually increased by four per cent since 2019. Only two per cent of UK fleets are fully EV powered today and total vehicle-kilometres in 2022 sat only five per cent below pre-pandemic levels, the CCC found.

To make matters worse, local authority Active Travel budgets were cut drastically in March 2023, from £700m assigned to these initiatives in the Spending Review 2021, to just £100m for 2023/24.

Meanwhile, the costs of public transport have risen sharply in the last 13 years, relative to travelling by car, according to the same CCC Report. From 2010-2021, bus and rail prices increased by 80 per cent and 43 per cent respectively, significantly faster than inflation. By contrast, the cost of car travel rose by just 27 per cent over the same period.

Spikes in fuel prices and Government interventions to limit further growth in public transport fares have reduced this gap during 2022 and 2023, but the cost comparison between public transport and driving remains significantly less favourable than a decade ago. Meanwhile, the cost per mile of powering a typical BEV using public rapid or ultra rapid chargers remains stubbornly higher than the cost of running diesel powered ICE vehicles (by about two pence per mile currently).

Furthermore, the Climate Change Committee also noted falling car occupancy levels (now at roughly 1.1 person per journey), despite the growing number of car-sharing platforms and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) options available to people.

Julie Furnell, Managing Director of Mobilityways, continues:  “The CCC is right that there is a clear need for UK Government to lead a public engagement campaign that focuses on reducing energy demand – starting with exploring greener transport alternatives.

“Enticing people to make modal shifts towards greener alternatives demands a focus on hearts as well as heads. There needs to be a clear drive to entice many more people to shift away from that regular, single occupancy commute which is the most carbon inefficient journey most people make. Exploring greener transport options needs to be easy, comfortable, even attractive. Commuters need to know it’s for the good of society as well as the planet and their pockets.

“We are partnering with a growing number of transport service providers to create an eco-system of opportunities for employers to offer their staff incentives to explore greener transport alternatives from car-sharing, to using more active travel and public transport options.”

Mobilityways, which helps large employers to measure, reduce and report on carbon emissions associated with their workers’ commutes, ran a webinar last month entitled: ‘Bridging the Gap: A study of the role of people and place in transport decarbonisation’, in which planning experts discussed the potential for redesign of large new housing developments to increase access to greener modes of transport including MaaS alternatives, better public transport links, car-sharing and active travel options.

About Mobilityways:

Mobilityways is a climate tech organisation and social enterprise on a mission to make zero carbon commuting a reality. It supports employers in meeting their Net Zero goals with its suite of climate tech tools. These tools enable organisations to measure, reduce and report their commuter emissions, providing full visibility of commuting challenges and identifying sustainable travel alternatives for employees.

Mobilityways has already worked with over 1,000 companies. It also operates a highly successful car-sharing platform called Liftshare.com, which has been running for 25 years as a free car-sharing platform for the general public.

For further information about Mobilityways, please contact:

Jack Goddard, Senior Marketing Executive at Mobilityways. Email: Jack.Goddard@mobilityways.com

For media enquiries about Mobilityways, please contact:

Miles Clayton, Agility PR, Tel: 01992 587439/07799 063398. Email: miles@agilitypr.co.uk