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Policy Development and Implementation

Climate change is internationally recognised as one of the greatest challenges facing the world today and is becoming an increasingly important driver for change in the transport sector. International, national and local level policy is beginning to shape the transport sector's development.

Policy Development and Implementation

As required under the Climate Change Act 2008 all Government Departments in the UK published their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and respond to the risk of climate change in March 2010. The Department for Transport has set out their plans for reducing carbon emission from transport and taking action to ensure transport systems and services are more resilient to climate change:

  • Their Carbon Reduction Delivery Plan (DfT, 2010) identifies how they will deliver their low carbon strategy (‘Low Carbon Transport: A Greener Future').Their target is to reduce transport emissions by 14% from 2008 levels by 2020.
  • Their Adaptation Plan sets out the actions that the Department will take over the next two years to reduce the risks posed to the UK transport system by climate change. The plan states that DfT will integrate climate change adaptation into its investment decisions, policies and risk assessments, so that it is routinely considered, with progres assessed annually.

Having robust and appropriate policies in place is only part of the story. Translating high level strategy and targets into real action on the ground can be particularly challenging; especially when the benefits of taking action are long term and are not currently easy to measure, such as in the case of climate change.

TRL has extensive experience of supporting the development and implementations of sustainable transport policies. For example 

  • as part of the international ‘Bridging the Gap' consortium, which includes GTZ, Veolia Transport, UITP and ITDP, TRL is currently leading a set of actions to better integrate the transport sector in a Post-2012 climate change framework,. Actions include the formulation of suggestions to the UNFCCC negotiating text, chairing of expert workshops, drafting of strategy papers and presenting at major events including the UNFCCC climate summits.We have also been working with local policy makers and transport specialists in a number of countries to develop strategies to mitigate future carbon emissions and adapt infrastructure to a changing climate. For example we have recently worked with the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) to support the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) of the Republic of Indonesia to develop a Roadmap for Transport and Climate Change. For further information visit our international webpage.

Nationally, TRL has been supporting local authorities in developing their climate change strategies and action plans. We have also been helping regional bodies such as the West Midlands Climate Change Adaptation Partnership to develop their climate change programmes and raise awareness of climate change issues amongst stakeholders.

TRL's key capabilities in policy development internationally and at the domestic level include:

  • leading action to better integrate the transport sector in a Post-2012 climate change framework,
  • supporting modal shift to less carbon intensive modes of transport through technology transfer, knowledge sharing and capacity building,
  • supporting the development of sustainable transport policies and strategies in both nationally and internationally, including building the evidence and data to support policy development,
  • policy assessment at the national, regional and local level,
  • assessing the barriers to implementing climate change policies within the transport sector and identifying the options for overcoming these,
  • examining the current and future role of financing to enable the required paradigm shift towards the development of sustainable, low-carbon transport in developing countries,
  • the development of routemaps and action plans for a country or region,
  • development of performance indicators and performance management methodologies.

For more information on Bridging the Gap please visit

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