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Carbon-Free City Handbook: Transportation and Mobility

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The transportation sector is responsible for 36 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in large cities. But more cities are implementing strategies that move people and goods with less carbon.

Movement of people, services, and goods is essential to a thriving city. Current transportation options often force a one-size-fits-all solution for that mobility: cars and trucks, and the streets designed to serve them. Carbon-free cities can provide more efficient and economic options that are tailored to different transportation needs—with no emissions—and that create vibrant urban spaces.

Action 6: Fleet Electrification

Description

Replace city-owned fossil-fuel vehicles (e.g., automobiles, light- and heavy-duty trucks, public buses, police vehicles) with vehicles that fully or partially run on electricity, such as battery electric vehicles (BEVs) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

Action Documents

Recommended Resources

Action 7: Combustion Vehicle Reduction

Description

Develop policies that limit internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in city centers, penalize “dirtier” vehicles more for driving or parking in the city, and develop long-term plans to ban diesel vehicles and ultimately all ICE vehicles in cities.

Action Documents

Additional Citations

Action 8: Freight Reduction

Description

Reduce urban freight emissions through various regulatory and voluntary programs, including mandatory freight emissions standards, designated truck routes, stopping and standing laws, and off-peak delivery programs.

Action Documents

Recommended Resources
Additional Citations

Action 9: EV Charging

Description

Expand electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure by directly installing public charging stations and/or incentivizing the private sector to do so.

Action Documents

Recommended Resources
Additional Citations

We intend to cut the city’s carbon emissions by 36% in 2020 and 95% by 2030. Zero emission cars, machinery, and public transportation are fundamental for our success. Today 40% of all new cars sold in Oslo are fully electric.

‐Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, Vice Mayor for Environment and Transport, City of Oslo

Action 10: Car-Free Downtown

Description

Eliminate cars from high-density districts by creating car-free pedestrian zones, limiting vehicles on certain days of the week, and implementing congestion pricing.

Action Documents

Recommended Resources
Additional Citations

Action 11: Mobility Alternatives

Description

Introduce mobility alternatives to high-density areas to reduce single-occupancy vehicle traffic and enhance movement throughout the city, including bikeshare programs, expanded public transit, cyclist- and pedestrian-friendly streets, and integration between transit options.

Action Documents

Recommended Resources
Additional Citations
  • Sustainia and C40. “Wuhan: Carbon Credit Scheme Bolsters Massive Bike-Share Program.” Global Opportunity Explorer, September 15, 2016.

Action 12: Public Transit

Description

Rapidly deploy public transit solutions such as bus rapid transit (BRT) or light rail to city hot spots, which could be areas with high congestion, populous areas with currently limited access to public transit, or areas with issues that increase single-occupancy vehicle
(SOV) use within the city.

Action Documents

  • Wright, Lloyd, and Walter Hook, eds. The BRT Planning Guide. Institute for Transportation & Development Policy, 2007.
    Bus rapid transit (BRT) planning guide
Recommended Resources

BRT corridors in Rio de Janeiro reduced travel time and provided greater accessibility to public transit riders.

‐Marcos Tognozzi, BRT Coordinator, City of Rio de Janeiro

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Browse Additional Recommendations by Sector

Buildings

Transitioning buildings toward net-zero energy makes buildings healthier and more comfortable, and smart approaches to retrofitting and new construction can create an economic boon for the city.

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Electricity

Leading cities are transforming electricity generation to carbon-free renewable energy by first committing to bold 100% renewable energy targets, then implementing comprehensive action plans.

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Industry

Industry is a major employer and economic driver in many global cities, significantly shaping a city’s carbon emissions. Strategic partnerships with corporate residents can achieve economic and environmental solutions that benefit everyone.

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Biological Resources

Cities can shift the flow and management of their biological resources to reduce emissions, capture carbon, and provide numerous other benefits to a city.

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Financing

Cities have an important role to play creating or expanding financing options and improving access to such financing.

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City leaders and sustainability officers: take action today to put your city on a pathway to zero-carbon.