What will it cost to decarbonize transportation? According to our best evidence, the change required is a transformation that will pay back dividends.

Here are some of the things we can expect from making the investments needed to create a transportation system that produces 80% less climate pollution:1

Most travelers for most trips will have the option of satisfying alternatives to private passenger cars.

This includes high-performing public transit and bicycling or walking in plush facilities on a space-efficient grid. People can choose to live conveniently and affordably without a private car most of the time, if they want to.

The cost of transportation falls dramatically.

As transportation is designed to use energy more productively, the financial burden to households and communities, along with deaths and serious injuries in the transportation system, moves systematically towards zero. Public space is given back to people and physically moving around is widely a source of joy and vitality.

Electrification and multimodal design are reciprocal.

The superior technology of battery-electric power systems makes autos do more with less, and the revolution in investments to wire up transportation gives people new personal capabilities with e-bikes and other forms of emerging micromobility.

Communities are more resilient.

Transportation becomes an ecosystem of interoperable modes in which more people have more flexible options for physical mobility, public resources are used more efficiently, and communities are better able to include and care for more people.

1 Based in part on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (2022).

Further Reading

Here is a List of Reading on Transportation Climate Action.

More Information

This document is a working explainer by Ryan Schuchard. Please watch for updates. For questions and feedback, please connect with Ryan through the contact form.

Updated April 20, 2023

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