What We Are Reading Currently
MRP notes that the reliance on ICE and Personal EV / SUV will continue as long as infrastructure and policies are not calibrated to accommodate safe mixed-use of different transport options. This is the same story, the world over.
This points to the teamwork required between all stakeholders as we have outlined in previous weeks' posts. Increasing the uptake of more sustainable transport modes will require further public investment into policy and infrastructure which will lead to higher community adoption.
“While 9 out of 10 French people drive at least one type of vehicle (car, motorbike, MPV, bicycle, etc.), 84% use a car. Of these, 81% use it at least once a month… A high figure, with no great surprises, but on deeper analysis it points to the gradual development of mixed-use.”
Our concern is that gradual development can seem at times glacial in the extreme, as we see continued temperature increases globally. These are issues that we need to look at more closely and adapt to more rapidly, in the near-term.
It's also worth noting that micromobility and sustainable transport is just one sector in which we have to adapt. There are many others that need similar attention. Considered in this scope, there's a lot to do!
The new head of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jim Skea, made some fine points in this recent CNN interview (starts at 18:00 minutes). In his words:
"We need to acknowledge that it’s not only climate change that’s going to affect people’s lives.
The measures that we take to address climate change will also have social and economic implications as well. It’s why, in the last report we started to flag the idea of just transition. The idea that in transitioning to net zero we should pay much more attention to the impacts of climate action 🌍 So we’re well aware, I think, of the fact that there are implications of climate change action but we need systematic ways of actually addressing that. And there are solutions, because there are jobs in low carbon industries and there are other benefits that people will get in the longer term from actually reducing the impacts of climate change."
These are encouraging words following his urge to note overstate the 1.5C degree limits on global temperature increases (credit: Deutsche Welle) which is an important point to keep in mind.The MRP sees this as a positive response towards adoption of climate change measures within communities. A successful switch to more sustainable sector alternatives and solutions is linked directly to how consumers and providers can engage both socially and environmentally in a constructive manner.
The MRP, an international non-profit organization that studies micromobility and sustainable transportation, announced the results of a study by University College London (UCL) in the UK that e-scooters contribute to mobility as an eco-friendly means of transportation.
Ferdinand Balfoort, Managing Partner of the MRP, said, "This excellent UK study shows that e-scooters should be expanded to efficient urban transport in that they reduce traffic congestion in cities with smooth and fast movement and contribute to environmental protection as eco-friendly transportation." and added "In order for e-scooters to develop into sustainable transportation, it will be necessary to improve urban infrastructure and facilities as well as improve citizens' safety awareness. It is very positive to find the MRP sustainability calculations being confirmed independently by UCL equally, confirming the significant impact e Scooters have on reducing transport emissions".
Considering the environmental impacts of cars, the focus tends to be on air pollution in the form of exhaust coming out of tailpipes. But tires contribute significantly. According to a report shared by Emissions Analytics, a single car sheds 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds) of tire particles weight per year, on average. Multiplied across the global fleet that equates to 6 million tons of tire particles annually.
“Emissions Analytics performs independent tests on cars including real-world tailpipe and tire emissions. It has compiled data that confirms that tire particulate pollution has significantly surpassed tailpipe emissions.”
What might initially look very sustainable, like EV, can be proven harmful in other ways once a rigorous scientific analysis is applied. It is important that we do not dampen technological efforts to curb emissions impacts but rather facilitate establishing their sustainability in toto, before they become a claimed government Silver Bullet. Teslas and other EV may in the end not really be much less emitting or in fact even more emitting than our old internal combustion engines. Especially if everyone keeps buying SUV sized EVs.
This op-ed by Deutsche Welle demonstrates some of the hidden environmental and socials costs of existing and developing transport solutions. To be considered sustainable, solutions should address all pain-points and be more closely regulated.
At the MRP we've been looking at particulate matter emissions (PM2.5 / 10) and their impacts for the past ten-years.
To harness the potential of new technologies to meet the needs of citizens, smart places should be built for people and designed with people. The Smart Places Customer Charter captures customer expectations of smart places in six principles which have been shaped by direct community input.
We are beyond thrilled to have put the MRP's name to the Smart Places Customer Charter.
With our focus on delivering smart places in collaboration with academic, private, and public institutions and adherence to UN Sustainable Development Goals we felt that the Charter was a fantastic fit!
We believe that the natural environment should be preserved and incorporated into transport and urban planning to offer cleaner, healthier, and transparent living environments for current and future generations; domestically and globally. This is accomplished through the provision of ethical and secure integrated data, modelling, and digitally inclusive solutions that are stringently verified and certified by external governing bodies, organisations, and institutions.
We are excited to share more developments towards delivering measurable, sustainable benefits that will ensure that we inculcate continued adoption of socially and environmentally sustainable transport initiatives with all stakeholders; the community, academia, public / private sector.
We greatly encourage our MRP members to consider aligning with the Charter's core principles.