Montreal/San Francisco, 30 May 2018—Sustainable transport is a key topic at the GCAS under the Challenge Area of Sustainable Communities.

The Summit will acknowledge all the extraordinary action that has been building pre, at and post the adoption of the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement.

It will also celebrate a series of new commitments made by states and regions, cities, businesses and investors and issue a call to action for even higher ambition, including by national governments, as the world looks to bend down emissions by 2020.

Today Kate White, Deputy Secretary, Environmental Policy and Housing Coordination in the California State Transportation Agency, will provide a preview of the Summit at the opening of the Movin’ On conference taking place in Montreal, Canada.

Nick Nuttall, Director of Communications of GCAS, said: “Kate will draw on some powerful statistics from her own unique perspective and also from key Summit cities partner C40. These will underline the momentum building and the benefits to people, economies and the environment as a result”.

“Here is a preview of some of the amazing facts and figures amassing from around the globe on the transformation of mobility in urban areas alongside why this challenge needs to be met and the urgency to Take Ambition to the Next Level,” he added.

Key Facts-Climate Action Underway

  • Transportation accounts for one third of CO2 emissions in C40 cities (and in some cities it represents as much as 45%). It is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases and has major impacts on the health of citizens.
  • It is a major contributor to air pollution, which causes 4.5 million premature deaths globally. It causes traffic noise, which is considered the second biggest environmental threat to health after air pollution, as well as traffic congestion, which can cost as much as 8% of the total city GDP.
  • The C40 Fossil Fuel Free Streets Declaration brings together 14 global cities pledging to procure only zero emission buses from 2025 and ensure a major area of their city is zero emission by 2030.
  • The aim of the declaration is to raise the bar of city ambition and send a strong signal to the private sector to create demand for zero emission products and create economies of scale. Signatory cities account for over 60,000+ buses and 80 million citizens.
  • Recent research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance on EV (electric) Buses in Cities shows that: E-buses have much lower operating costs and can already be cheaper on a total cost of ownership basis than conventional buses today.
  • The biggest challenge for electric buses is their high upfront cost compared to equivalent diesel buses. To help with the upfront cost issue, new business models are emerging, involving battery leasing, joint procurement and bus sharing.
  • Analysis of battery cost curves indicates that electric buses will reach unsubsidized upfront cost parity with diesel buses by around 2030. However, increasing demand for e-buses could bring e-bus battery prices down faster. In this case, electric buses would reach cost parity with diesel buses by the mid-2020s.
  • Freight and commercial vehicles have emerged as the biggest obstacle to cities implementing zero emission areas. Although the specifics of the challenges vary across cities, there has been a consistent acknowledgement that the movement of light, medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles are a significant challenge to implementing Zero Emission Areas. According to the Smart Freight Centre, while road freight only constituted 8% of international trade in 2015, it generates 40% of CO2 emissions.

Many Cities Acting on Sustainable Mobility – Some Key Examples

Barcelona: giving streets back to the people
Barcelona aims to give the streets back to the residents by creating “superblocks.” Taking advantage of their city grid structure, superblocks consist of 9 existing blocks (3 x 3) where public and private traffic is restricted to the roads in the perimeters and only residents and local businesses are allowed to drive at a greatly reduced speed (10km/h).

The first 5 superblocks are being piloted right now. The city aims to free up nearly 60% of streets currently used by cars and turn them into “citizen spaces” for leisure, culture, community and greening purposes.

Chinese cities: disruptive bike-sharing models
Traditional bike-sharing systems are being disrupted with the emergence of dockless bike-sharing providers. Unlike station-based bike-sharing, dockless bikes allow users to park them “anywhere”.

They can be located, unlocked and paid for using a smartphone app. Dockless bikes can be counted by the millions in Chinese cities where its introduction has been somewhat controversial – namely because of a lack of regulation, carelessness by some users, and provider incentives have led to piles of vandalised bikes.

But their introduction has had lots of positive impacts on bike ridership. Since the introduction of bike-sharing schemes, bike use has more than doubled in Chinese cities: from 5.5% on average to 11.6%. Mobike users (one of the largest providers) indicate that they have reduced the use of private cars (including taxis and car-hailing apps) by 55% since bike-sharing was introduced.

Nearly 80% of the cities where bike-share has been introduced reported a decline in traffic congestion – in 15 of these cities congestion has declined by more than 8%. That isn’t that surprising since for distances shorter than 5km, traveling by bike in these cities is reported to be faster than cars in 92% of the cases.

Bogotá: Car-free Sundays
From 7 am to 2 pm every Sunday and holiday, 120km of streets are closed (partially or fully) to traffic for the Ciclovía, a cycling program the local government has run since 1974. Some 1.7 million people, or about a quarter of the city’s population, on average turn out for it every week. Surveys have found that nearly half of people use the blocked-off streets for at least three hours.  A number of cities like Ottawa, Mexico City, Los Angeles and others are trying to replicate Bogotá’s success with their own Sunday Bikedays.

Madrid: giving space to pedestrians, cyclists and zero-emission vehicles in the city centre
Madrid’s equivalent to London’s Oxford Street, the Gran Vía, will soon be closed to car traffic. Madrid plans to start doubling the street’s sidewalks, taking space from car lanes to give pedestrians an extra 58,000 square feet for walking, as well as a segregated bike lane.

In June Madrid will debut its Zero Emissions Zone, which will only allow local residents, people with limited mobility, and zero-emissions vehicles into most of the old city. These initiatives are included in the ambitious air quality “Plan A”, because with climate change “there is no Plan B,” Mayor Carmena says.

Curitiba: modernising BRT
Curitiba was the first city to develop Bus Rapid Transit in 1974, and today the city continues to be a transit innovator, having recently launched a program to implement hybrid and electric buses.

Mayor Jaime Lerner thought of the solution in Curitiba: lifting buses up and out of the ordinary flow of the streets, segregating them on dedicated high-speed lanes and freeing up road space for other traffic. Curitiba-style BRT showed that a relatively low-cost, bus-based infrastructure could move masses of people through a city with the speed and capacity of a much more expensive metro system. Curitiba’s BRT system model has already been replicated in more than 150 cities worldwide. Key impacts: 80% of travellers use the BRT system and it carries around 2 million passengers per day.

Dar es Salaam: bringing BRT to East Africa with the Dar Rapid Transport Project (DART)
Dar es Salaam became East Africa’s first city to implement a bus rapid transit system, known as DART in 2016, and it has revolutionized urban mobility and accessibility. The DART serves an average of 200,000 people every day with a fleet of 140 buses. The system is projected to carry an estimated 400,000 passengers per day. DART has reduced commute times by more than half for residents that faced four hours stuck in traffic every day. The system has included cycle paths, sidewalks and improved pedestrian safety, with well-designed pedestrian crossings that encourage more people to walk and cycle.

London: charging dirty vehicles
London introduced a first of its kind T-Charge or toxicity charge in addition to its congestion charge in October 2017, revolutionising mobility pricing with an emissions-based charge.

The charge is designed to make it more expensive to drive dirty vehicles in London. Already a world leader in using market mechanisms to change driver behaviour, London is setting the standard with this kind of innovation. For the first time in 10 years, London’s air quality did not breach WHO standards in January and the T-charge is one of the key reasons people can breathe easier in the capital.

Los Angeles: funding long-term transportation solutions
LA’s Mayor Eric Garcetti led a campaign to ask Angelinos to approve a ballot measure to raise sales tax by 0.25% and unlock funding for dramatic public transport infrastructure expansion. The ballot measure was called Measure M.

Angelinos overwhelmingly agreed with Mayor Garcetti and his vision for mobility in LA, passing the measure with 71% approval. This funding mechanism has allowed LA to embark on a 40-year program to expand metro infrastructure, subsidise bus operations, invest in walking and cycling and change the way that the car capital of the world moves.

London: zero-emission taxis
London has taken strong policy action to reduce emissions from its large and polluting taxi fleet. The mayor has introduced emissions standards for taxis and private hire vehicles requiring all 88,000 private hire vehicles and 22,000 black cabs to be zero-emissions capable (electric, plug in hybrid or hydrogen) by 2033. From 2018 all new black cab taxis need to be zero-emissions capable, and no more diesel taxis will be licenced from 2018. A new rapid charge network has been introduced with points dedicated for taxi use.

New York City: fast charging for EVs
NYC has recently announced large investment to support the transition to electric vehicles in the city. In September NYC announced new EV charging infrastructure with 50 fast charging stations across the 5 boroughs by 2020. The city is investing $10 million in partnership with utility Con Edison. There will be up to 20 chargers per site clustered together in Charging Hubs. The city has also invested in 80 all electric Chevy Bolt EVs for a shared fleet initiative.

Shanghai: making registration easier for EVs
Shanghai (plus 4 other Chinese cities) have special licence plates for new energy vehicles (EV, plug in hybrid and hydrogen) to encourage the shift to cleaner vehicles. To crack down on pollution and congestion, cities have introduced auctions or lotteries for new car registration plates, many people who want a licence plate can’t get one – preventing them from putting a car on the road.

Five Chinese cities are offering free or expedited plate access for New Energy Vehicles, whereas registration of an internal combustion engine vehicle can take a year. NEV plates are green rather than the standard blue. This increases the profile of new energy vehicles and facilitates other policies that favour clean cars over dirty ones.

Los Angeles: 100% zero-emission buses by 2030 to deliver Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets
LA’s Department of Transportation have committed not only to procure only zero-emission buses by 2025 but to ensure their bus fleet is 100% zero-emission by 2030.

LA Metro, which operates the majority of buses in Los Angeles, has also made the commitment to electrify 100% of their buses by 2030. LA is an exemplar in terms of cities delivering the Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration commitment to ‘procure, with our partners, only zero emission buses from 2025’.

Oslo: leading global ambition on electric vehicles
Over 50% of new cars in Norway were electric or hybrid in 2017 with 39% plug in hybrid, electric or hydrogen.

EV costs are on a par with Internal Combustion Engines largely because they are exempt from 25% VAT on purchase or leasing, there is no import or purchase taxes, no charges on tolls or ferries, low annual road tax, 50% reduction in company car tax, no fuel taxes for hydrogen or electricity, free access to bus lanes, free municipal parking and free charging station use.

Oslo has the highest electric vehicle share of any major metropolitan area in the world. The City of Oslo has one fourth of the national population but 40% of national electric vehicles sales in 2015. Oslo offers free public charging with renewable energy.

The city owns 1,300 on-street charge points, and the total of publicly available charge points in Oslo is close to 2,000. By some estimates, Oslo has the largest share of public chargers per million inhabitants and 600 new chargers are still to be installed in 2018.

Norway has set the ambition of selling only zero emission cars from 2025, whereas the city of Oslo also has an additional target for their public transport to be fossil-fuel free in 2020.

China: the world’s largest EV market
With over 600,000 electric vehicles sold in China in 2017 this represented approximately half of global sales of EVs. Sales of new energy vehicles (electric, plug in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell) were 2.4% of the auto market in 2017 and sales were four times higher than the second largest market (USA).

The central government in February 2018 increased the subsidy for new energy vehicles with a range of 249 miles or more from 44,000 Yuan to 50,000 Yuan ($7900). The Chinese government has just introduced a New Energy Vehicle mandate which will require plug in vehicles to be 10% of vehicles for 2019 and 12% for 2020.

Many cities offer additional consumer fiscal rebates and incentives. Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing have the highest electric vehicle sales, with these cities accounting for approximately 41% of all EV sales in China in 2015. Shanghai provides an additional $4,400 purchase subsidy and EVs are exempt from the licence plate auction system.

China: Electrifying the bus fleet 
Bloomberg New Energy Finance research shows that by 2025 99% of the world’s battery powered buses will be in China. BNEF forecast EV buses will triple from 386,000 in 2017 to 1.2 million in 2025 totalling 47% of the world’s city bus fleet. Shenzhen have already transitioned their entire bus fleet of over 16,000 buses to electric, and Beijing have a target of 60% in 2020 (equivalent to 10,000 buses

Shenzhen’s EV bus fleet is bigger than the 5 largest North American bus fleets combined. According to the BNEF the largest influences in EV bus sales in China is national and regional subsidies, a drive to tackle urban air pollution, cities building public transit fleets from scratch so not having to fit new technologies into an existing fleet renewal cycle and national investment in battery manufacturing.