There is a great deal needing to be said about transport here, but the bottom line is that our transport urgently needs to become carbon-neutral and much more energy efficient.

One clear objective is that our cars must be powered by electricity, rather than petrol or diesel.  However ...

  • Buying a new electric car is not a good plan, unless you need to replace your car: the best strategy is to run your existing car for as long as you can, because the energy and carbon cost of building a new electric car is massive.
  • We seem to be assuming that electric cars will all run on batteries.  While battery technology is constantly improving, this is not a viable strategy without some massive breakthroughs: we will not have enough raw materials to build all the batteries which will be needed, and we will not be able to provide dedicated charging points for all the cars owned by people in our cities.  Electric cars will need to be recharged overnight, so the owners will need to have guarranteed overnight access to a reliable charging point, and there is not enough space in most inner city residential streets for the required infrastructure.  So we must plan for a significant number of private cars to get their electricity from a fuel cell, and we must start to build the necessary fuel cell infrastructure alongside the battery charging infrastructure.
  • Also see this article on why motorway cables are probably not the best way to decarbonise lorries.

Public transport also needs to be upgraded.

 The ideal method of urban transport - when walking is impractical - is the bicycle.

  • Cycle lanes are essential on all major routes, keeping the bicycles away from both the pedestrians and the powered transport.
  • We also need practical and reliable bicycles: see this video for why we need to learn from the Netherlands - Why Dutch Bikes are Better.


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  • Push bikes are ok in cities (providing they're not too hilly).

    But electric railways and rapid transit systems are what is needed to move people and goods around.

    Batteries for cars are currently very expensive and the size of a mattress.  They last about 10 years.  The cost of replacement (and the fact that the technology would have moved on) probably means cars will have almost no value at that point.  I can see a major problem in that it's quite possible any savings in carbon emmissions during the running of the car would be negated by the discarding and replacement of the actual vehicle owing to battery costs.

    Infrastructure for electricity is a huge problem. Imagine the load on a local substation (and the cables under the street or on the poles) when a household is using their ground/air source heatpump to heat their house, and they also have two or three electric cars plugged in overnight.  It simply won't work without a complete renewal of the infrastructure.

    Also what about the problem of cables and connectors on already crowded pavements in cities where people rarely have private parking or garaging. The problems to overcome are enormous, and not even under serious consideration at present.

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