Public transport and the environment

Authored by: Ka Ho Tsoi , Becky P.Y. Loo

The Routledge Handbook of Public Transport

Print publication date:  May  2021
Online publication date:  May  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367418724
eBook ISBN: 9780367816698
Adobe ISBN:


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Public transport is a core component of sustainable transport. Indeed, public transport has wide implications for the environment. This chapter first provides a comprehensive evaluation of the potential environmental benefits contributed by public transport, including greenhouse gas reduction, air quality improvement and climate change mitigation. Public transport strategies are identified that can effectively deliver the environmental benefits and promote environmental decoupling (e.g. decarbonisation). Building on the current literature and empirical evidence, this chapter identifies the best policy practices of public transport that help decarbonise the transport sector. The policy instruments are grouped into four major categories – (i) transit-oriented development, (ii) integrated public transport systems, (iii) integration of public and active transport and (iv) public transport electrification. Lessons learnt from international practices can allow policymakers to develop a holistic package of effective public transport policies. Future research should examine the role of a sustainable public transport hierarchy in ensuring environmental sustainability. The synergies of public transport and other policy instruments should also be investigated.

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