Road transport • The road towards low carbon mobility

This paper is a synthetic report analysing the most recent data on the road sector and the factors explaining the origins of its growth and its development.

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Sudhir Gota • Consultant, Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT)


The Paris Agreement encourages raising mitigation ambition in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by reviewing and assessing the strength of their ambition and to formulate long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies. The current NDC’s identify the transport sector as a significant mitigation source whose decarbonisation is critical in achieving economy-wide decarbonization.
This chapter is a synthesis report analysing the most recent data from the road sector and the factors behind its growth and development. The main ambition is to provide a status of global climate action related to the road transport sector, and the synergies between the State and non – state actors.


1 • Status of road transport carbon emissions
2 • Why have carbon emissions increased in the road transport sector? 

  • High Growth in Road Transport Demand (Activity)
  • Mode Share (Shift in Transport Demand)
  • Changes in Energy Intensity and Low Carbon Fuel


Road transport carbon emissions are the result of a complex mix of human behaviour, economic growth, public policy and transport regulations. Overall, the global road transport carbon emissions have increased when compared with 2000 levels. The rapid increase in the travel demand (growing in non-OECD countries), modal-structure (shift towards energy-intensive modes, especially in non-OECD countries), energy intensity (minor improvement due to new technologies) and high carbon content of fuels (lack of penetration of low carbon fuels) interacted to determine overall increase in global road transport carbon emissions.