Skip main navigation

Mobility and its climate impact

Thinking climate policies read more on the relative carbon emissions and space requirements of different modes of urban transport.
Young woman wearing protective mask adjusting with hand in the city street, with blurred cars in background
© RMIT Europe and EIT Urban Mobility

Shifting economic pressures and cultural preferences in city building and urban mobility occur within the context of climate policy and the need to decarbonise all sectors of society.

This infographic adapted from Institute for Sensible Transport, shows the relative carbon emissions and space requirements of different modes of urban transport before the large-scale conversion of energy grids towards renewable sources that is underway in most jurisdictions (using Victoria, Australia as a reference).

Alt textClick to expand

Image by Reality Learning, adapted from Institute for Sensible Transport

While all modes of transport have the potential to become carbon-neutral by converting vehicles to electric or battery-electric propulsion (using renewable energy), reducing the consumption of road space relative to the movement of people also requires a shift of transport tasks from cars to public transport, walking and cycling. This is particularly salient in the context of urban intensification that puts all space in cities at a greater premium.

Further reading

If you would like to explore some of the concepts we have covered in more detail, the following resources are optional.

Climate Mobility Impacts

Impacts of Mobility on the Environment

Climate Change and Human Mobility

© RMIT Europe and EIT Urban Mobility
This article is from the free online

Urban dynamics: Spatial Accessibility and Real estate

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now