The effect of transportation policies on energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission from urban passenger transportation


Pascal Poudenx

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, planning - service quality, place - europe, place - urban


Urban transportation, Transportation policy, Transportation alternatives, Singapore, Service quality, Ridership, Quality of service, Private passenger vehicles, Patronage (Transit ridership), Passenger transportation, Passenger service quality, Nonmotorized transportation, Intracity transportation, Greenhouse gases, Europe, Energy utilization, Energy consumption


This paper offers a brief journey through twelve major cities with various policies in place to curb private vehicle use and assesses their success in term of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission. Every region reviewed including Singapore is experiencing increases in energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and/or private vehicle ownership. In Europe, several regions improved transit quality and increased ridership attracting non-motorized mode users instead of private vehicle users effectively increasing the total energy consumption. The author argues that policies aimed at reducing private vehicle use are failing because they do not incorporate the reality of human propensities for accessibility and comfort and they unsuccessfully try to attract customers toward services of lesser perceived quality. The demand for both accessibility and comfort will likely continue to grow with rising standards of living and will be met regardless of the environmental impact. Instead of attempting to constrain private vehicle use, the author suggests raising the competitiveness of alternate modes by investing in more attractive environments for non-motorized modes and designing transit systems actually capable of competing with private vehicles in term of perceived service quality while offering improved environmental performances.


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