Traffic planning – Mitigation
One of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions is the use of fossil fuels in traffic.
There are means to reduce emissions
Approximately 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union and also in Finland are caused by traffic. So far, traffic is almost completely dependent on fossil fuels. In addition, alongside economic growth, the amount of traffic continues to grow.
In traffic policy, the focal means is a principle according to which a traffic problem is solved by first examining if the problem can be solved by affecting the traffic demand. After that, it is examined if the existing traffic network can be made more effective. Only after the possibilities of small improvements have been stated inadequate, new road projects will be examined.
Mitigation measures of traffic's greenhouse gas emissions can be roughly divided into four categories:
- Reduction of the need to move
- Replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy
- Reduction of vehicles' fuel consumption
- Communication to the consumers.
In community and traffic planning, when the need for and emissions of passenger traffic and transports are reduced, the key means include strengthening public transportation, improving the requirements of bicycle and pedestrian traffic and strengthening the position of rail and waterway transports with respect to road transports. In addition, information technology offers possibilities to reduce the need to travel.
Bio fuels and electricity produced with renewable sources of energy offer a possibility to reduce traffic's greenhouse gas emissions. Although in Finland the availability of bio fuel is relatively good, on a global scale, supply of bio fuels with respect to demand is scarce.
Consumption of fuel can be reduced by choosing energy efficient vehicles and transport equipment. With the help of international legislation, national regulations and volunteer agreements and instructions, the decisions related to vehicles and transport equipment can be influenced and procurements be aimed at equipment that consume less fuel.
Communication and traffic network solutions make moving habits 'greener'
Communicative means can improve people's awareness. People should be informed how they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to moving with their own behaviour. For example, eco labels can be used to direct consumers' vehicle selections to a direction that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Over the long term, municipalities should clarify which traffic network solutions promote energy efficiency and the use of bicycle and pedestrian traffic and public transportation when they plan land use. The necessary traffic and use of a private car can be reduced to a notable extent with the placement of trade, recreational activities and services.