Decarbonization scenarios for Reykjavik’s passenger transport: The combined effects of behavioural changes and technological developments

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - urban, technology - emissions, technology - alternative fuels, ridership - behaviour, policy - sustainable, land use - impacts


Transport, Sustainable mobility, Electromobility, Public transport, Low mobility, Scenario analysis


Transportation plays a defining role in daily life, and this transport activity acts as a major source of global (GHG) emissions. Cities are macro-level actors that can measure and govern the transportation sector and associated GHG emissions with their boundaries. This study thus performed a scenario analysis using the Reykjavik capital area as a case study, developing a business-as-usual case and five additional “What-If” scenarios using the story-and-simulation approach, modelling and decomposing the effects of axis-based technological and behavioural/urban form changes, estimating both direct and indirect emissions for each scenario. Reykjavik provides an interesting case study as a city in which the electrical grid is already highly decarbonized and has a dominant car culture. Studying Reykjavik provides insight regarding the GHG impacts of an e-transition counter-balanced by high levels of car ownership. The results showed that while e-mobility development would lead to less direct emissions, in terms of total GHG emissions, changes to travel behaviour and urban form would lead to less total GHG emissions. However, this research highlights that even with an already decarbonized electrical grid, an integrated approach of the two axes changes would be required within cities to achieve deep levels of decarbonization.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


Sustainable Cities and Society