Bristol must overhaul transport system to reach net-zero

Bristol won’t become carbon-neutral by 2030 without a major shift towards active and sustainable travel, says a new report published by researchers at the University of Bristol. 

According to the report, the number of car journeys made in the city needs to be cut by 31% and at least 55% of journeys need to be made on foot or by bike if Bristol is to reach its ambitious target of net-zero emissions.

The researchers have argued that the recommendations made by the Sustainable Transport Network in 2019 did not go far enough and that a shift towards active and sustainable travel needs to be more extreme.

They also highlighted that Bristol lacks the data needed to monitor the ongoing travel behaviour of residents and that a collaborative framework between transport and stakeholders in the city is needed.

The amount of congestion in Bristol is three times the national average and emissions from the transport sector remain the largest in the city at 32%. In order to reduce congestion and achieve Bristol’s proposed targets, the researchers have argued that walking and cycling must be made more accessible and should be prioritised.

By building more connected cycling infrastructure and introducing more low-traffic neighbourhoods the researchers have said it would improve safety and facilitate a shift towards more active ways of travelling.

Postgraduate student Clare Watson, said: ‘Our findings show that travel in Bristol is currently dominated by cars, when what we urgently need is for more people to travel by bus, and most importantly, by foot or by bike.

‘We need our road spaces transformed into safe and spacious streets, with designated cycling lanes and travel networks that connect the entire city.

‘There are limited records of our travel habits, meaning efforts to create a more sustainable transport system often offer little more than intelligent guesswork. Our research provides the best possible estimation of the way that people in Bristol are travelling today and the change in travel habits that all need to meet for the city to become net-zero.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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