Transportation is the third-largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with the highest growth rate. In 2019 approximately 15% of total net anthropogenic GHG emissions came from transport.
Last month in Melbourne, the ITS Australia community came together at the association's first conference of the year, Roads, Tolling and Technology 2022. This event has long been the industry insider conference for tolling technology, a mature industry with an increasingly expanding range of interests and issues.
First amongst these priorities for 2022 are data, sustainable and equitable transport, and the changing economics of road access. The two-day program included presentations and panel discussions working to address these complex challenges and make the most of the potential opportunities technology offers to solve them. The event also saw compelling discussions about the role technology can play in delivering and supporting sustainable transport – electric, active and shared.
We saw many big ideas and bold claims during one of the conference's major highlights, a panel discussion facilitated by Silje Troseth, Vice President APAC & General Manager of Q-Free Australia. In this session titled The Road to Decarbonisation in Australia, hosted by Q-Free, an insightful panel of experts considered the pathway to an entirely electric future. Panellist Peter Griffin, Director Innovation and Strategic Engagement at the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), commented, "It is going to happen. It's inevitable. We're on the road now, but it's going to take some time."
Transurban is working on a sustainable driving program and is continuing to plan, design and operate road assets in ways that reduce emissions. Matt Brennan, Head of Sustainability at Transurban, explored some of the steps that the organisation is taking to reduce emissions today, including reducing the gradients in and out of tunnels or on roads, focussing on the smoothness of pavements, and doing everything possible to avoid congestion.
Dr Ingrid Burford, Senior Associate Transport and Cities at the Grattan Institute, highlighted that light vehicles represent about 60% of carbon emissions in the transport sector. That is where her mitigation policy strategies are focused. She highlighted a carbon ceiling, sometimes called an emission standard, as perhaps the best tool for delivering on the Net Zero 2050 target, commenting, "It's a policy measure that is very familiar to manufacturers; it's used across about 90% of the International light vehicle markets in the world."
You can listen to the panel discussion below: