CITIES, MOBILITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
PROFESSOR DAVID BANISTER
Professor of Transport Studies and Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford University, U.K.
21 JUNE 2010 (MONDAY)
19:00 - 20:00
WANG GUNGWU THEATRE, GRADUATE HOUSE, THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
Institute of Transport Studies, The University of Hong Kong
Societies gain enormous benefits from travel, as economies have become more globalised and as the new communications infrastructure allows international networking at low cost. Globalised media coverage has contributed to people's increased aspirations and expectations, along with more educational and leisure opportunities, and increasing wealth. There is a true internationalisation of all activities, and travel forms an essential part of that process, however, this is fuelled by carbon, and there is evidence that carbon emissions are affecting the global climate with irreversible long term consequences. Transport is the one sector where a reduction in energy use and emissions is proving to be extraordinarily difficult to achieve despite some success in urban areas, where there are many good examples of reductions in energy use in transport, through demand management, public transport investment, priority for walking and cycling, and soft measures targeting single occupancy cars. Planners have also actively created more high quality local neighbourhoods, with innovative housing, mixed use developments, and an emphasis on accessibility, all intended to reduce the need to travel (particularly by car), to reduce distance travelled and encourage greater use of public transport, walking and cycling. There are signs that such city living is becoming "fashionable" with more people adopting sustainable lifestyles (Banister, 2005). This paper presents a global picture of what is happening in terms of cities, mobility and climate change, highlighting recent trends. It is argued that the current situation is unsustainable, and that transport must contribute fully to achieving carbon reduction targets. A proposed alternative is presented, based on the sustainable mobility paradigm (Banister, 2008) that looks at ways to reduce the need to travel in cities. The belief that technology provides the solution is misplaced, as technological innovation can only get us part of the way to sustainable transport. Finally, it is suggested that there may be opportunities for cities in the developing world to switch to low carbon systems without passing through the period of oil dependency. Potentially, the future is bright for low carbon transport in cities, but the real question is whether there is the commitment and leadership to follow such a path.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
David Banister is Professor of Transport Studies at Oxford University and Director of the Transport Studies Unit, and a Fellow of St Anne's College. Until 2006, he was Professor of Transport Planning at University College London. He has also been Research Fellow at the Warren Centre in the University of Sydney (2001-2002) on the Sustainable Transport for a Sustainable City project, was Visiting VSB Professor at the Tinbergen Institute in Amsterdam (1994-1997), and Visiting Professor at the University of Bodenkultur in Vienna in 2007. He has been a Trustee of the Civic Trust and Chair of their Policy Committee (2005-2009), and is Acting Director of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University. He is editor of two International Journals and on the Editorial Boards of 6 other Journals. He has authored or edited 18 research books related to transport, published over 150 papers in international refereed journals, and more than 250 other research papers.