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Global outlook for the transport sector in energy scenarios
Salvucci, Raffaele; Tattini, Jacopo
Published in:
DTU International Energy Report 2019: Transforming Urban Mobility
Publication date:
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Publisher's PDF, also known as Version of record
Link back to DTU Orbit
Citation (APA):
Salvucci, R., & Tattini, J. (2019). Global outlook for the transport sector in energy scenarios. In DTU International
Energy Report 2019: Transforming Urban Mobility (pp. 21-27)
Transforming Urban Mobility
DTU International Energy Report 2019
Edited by Birte Holst Jørgensen, Katrine Krogh Andersen and
Otto Anker Nielsen, Technical University of Denmark
DTU International Energy Report 2019
Transforming Urban Mobility
October 2019
Edited by
Birte Holst Jørgensen, Katrine Krogh Andersen and
Otto Anker Nielsen, Technical University of Denmark
Reviewed by
Sonia Yeh, Chalmers University of Technology (chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
William D’haeseleer, KU Leuven (chapters 8, 9, 10, 12)
Joel Franklin, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (chapter 11)
Yusak Susilo, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (chapter 11)
Step Print Power
Step Print Power
ISBN 978-87-93458-67-3
DTU International Energy Report 2019
Transforming Urban Mobility
Edited by Birte Holst Jørgensen, Katrine Krogh Andersen and
Otto Anker Nielsen, Technical University of Denmark
Reviewed by Sonya Yeh, Chalmers University of Technology, William
D’haeseleer, KU Leuven, Joel Franklin and Yusak Susilo, KTH Royal Institute
of Technology
Preface .........................................................................................7
Chapter 1 Transforming urban mobility: key findings and recommendations ...................................8
Chapter 2 Executive summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
Chapter 3 Global outlook for the transport sector in energy scenarios ........................................20
Chapter 4 Mobility in cities in emerging economies: trends and drivers .......................................28
Chapter 5 Active transport modes .........................................................................38
Chapter 6 Smart mobility .................................................................................50
Chapter 7 Freight, logistics and the delivery of goods in cities ...............................................62
Chapter 8 Integrated energy systems and transport electrification ..........................................72
Chapter 9 Alternative fuels ...............................................................................86
Chapter 10 Environmental sustainability of different transport modes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
Chapter 11 Urban mobility in transformation: demands on education ........................................112
Chapter 12 A network view of research and development in sustainable urban mobility ...................... 120
Abbreviations ................................................................................129
DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
Contents – Page 5
DTU International Energy Report 2019 presents DTU’s
perspective on the issue of the transformation of urban
mobility. The transport sector connects people across
space and enables goods to be exchanged, but it also
consumes energy and contributes heavily to CO
sions and local air pollution, with huge impacts on the
human, environmental and economic costs. With more
people, and with more of them living in urban areas, cit-
ies offer opportunities for transforming urban mobility.
The report presents recent research on three interre-
lated areas that will be decisive in developing sustain-
able urban mobility solutions: how to avoid unnecessary
transport, how to shift to eco-efficient transport modes,
and how to improve technologies, fuels and infrastruc-
ture. The report also describes the future educational
needs of urban mobility and presents a network analysis
of the areas of research that are influencing urban
mobility solutions.
International collaboration is an integral part of DTU’s
activities and a prerequisite for its status as an inter-
national elite university, a status that is consolidated,
and continuously developed, through the work of its
researchers, students and administration. Our objective
is for DTU to become one of the five leading technical
universities in Europe. Our ambition is to attract the best
researchers and research students from both Denmark
and abroad, as well as to maintain DTU as an attractive
collaboration partner for other leading research environ-
ments worldwide.
A strong network of partner universities strengthens
DTU’s position as an international elite university. DTU
is a member of alliances and strategic partnerships with
universities from the Nordic countries, Europe and Asia.
Furthermore, it also has a number of close collaborators
from different parts of the world, covering many of the
C40 Cities.
DTU International Energy Report series presents global, regional and national perspectives on current and future
energy issues. The individual chapters in the reports are written by DTU researchers in cooperation with leading
Danish and international experts.
Each report is based on internationally recognized scientific materials and is fully referenced. The reports are also
refereed by independent international experts before being edited, produced and published in accordance with the
highest international quality standards.
The target readership for the report is DTU colleagues, collaborating partners and clients, funding organizations,
institutional investors, ministries and authorities, and international organizations such as the European Union (EU),
International Energy Agency (IEA), International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), World Bank, World Energy
Council, C40 Cities, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030
(P4G) and the United Nations (UN).
Preface – Page 7
DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
connectivity, it is easier for consumers to make more
efficient choices when going from A to B – take the
cycle or public transport or just select a slower but more
energy-efficient route – and thereby influence real-time
demand in time and space. Cities can enable greater
public transport capacity and efficiency by having a
door-to-door perspective in the overall organization,
planning and operation of public transport, providing
door-to-door mobility information and guidance systems
and by facilitating intermodal travel chains.
If individual mobility services can be integrated with
public transport systems, the overall efficiency of urban
mobility systems can be enhanced, thus helping to avoid
unsustainable modes and enable efficient demand man-
agement. Although smart mobility may fill the gap be-
tween the individual solution and mass transit, thereby
impacting on congestion, air pollution, road safety, noise
and costs, recent studies show that this is not always
done in a resource-efficient way. For example, car-shar-
ing subscribers may reduce the individual vehicle mile-
age but increase their own weekly mileage.
With regard to freight, logistics and delivery services,
digitalization and smart mobility services enable unnec-
essary vehicle movements to be avoided by optimiz-
ing deliveries, consolidating goods flows and moving
towards smaller and lighter freight vehicles. Truck
platooning are also relevant for urban freight transport,
using semi-automated technology to coordinate traffic
flow, infrastructure and the flow of goods to and from
the warehouses and terminals. On the down-side, the
deployment of new technologies and vehicles will
require costly new investments by operators and urban
consolidation centers, while the additional handling
needed will increase the unit costs of the last mile.
Shift means improving trip efficiency by means of a
modal shift from the most energy-consuming transport
mode towards more environmentally friendly modes.
The transition towards an advanced multi-modal trans-
port system requires the effective optimization of the
entire transport network across a number of perfor-
mance areas. Active network management and a better
orchestration, organization and optimization of traffic
flows in the system may play a key role in this process.
Information and communication technologies, big data
and real-time information on supply and demand may
promote such modal shifts efficiently.
A reduction in personal-use and single-occupancy vehi-
cles requires adequate options for public transport, other
shared forms of transport, cycling and walking. Cities
around the world are trying to increase the share of
active transport modes, but they are having to face the
challenge that this shift is influenced by many factors.
Cycling is considered an everyday mode of transport for
all age groups and genders in Copenhagen and Amster-
dam, while walking is popular in some East European
cities. Walkability and bikeability are closely related to
accessibility, environmental qualities, safe sidewalks and
bike paths for pedestrians and cyclists.
Future mobility is expected to be autonomous, con-
nected, electric and shared and to contribute to the
efficiency and safety of transport systems. Smart
mobility solutions impacts congestion, air pollution, road
safety, noise, intermodality and costs, but not always in
a resource efficient way. Whether car-sharing is more
eco-efficient than individual car ownership is a matter of
whether it increases total person transports. Car-sharing
in combination with autonomous driving may result in a
rebound effect due to possible increases in the number
of potential users and the ease and convenience of the
system. Smart mobility solutions should be part of a
much broader mobility revolution that puts alternative
modes of transport to the forefront. Substantial gains
in energy consumption and emissions can be achieved
through significant demand shifts and integration of the
entire smart mobility eco-system where stronger pub-
lic-private partnerships may foster multi-modal transport
solutions, increase the efficiency of goods transport and
shift greater volumes of passenger traffic toward public
transport or other shared modes.
Improve focuses on vehicle and fuel efficiency, as well
as on better infrastructure.
Transport electrification can substantially contribute to
breaking transport’s dependence on oil and to decreas-
ing CO
drastically, as well as emissions of air pollutants.
The increasingly decarbonized generation of electric-
ity will provide cleaner electricity to propel electric
drivetrains and electric vehicles (EVs) and vessels, while
electric vehicles will be able to provide storage services
to the grid, favoring the further penetration of renew-
ables. Urban living labs such as Energylab Nordhavn and
Frederiksberg Forsyning, working in close cooperation
with university labs, have demonstrated that EVs can
effectively provide frequency control to support more
renewables entering the power system and even 100%
EV penetration, with only limited additional load at peak
Transforming urban mobility is the focus of DTU Inter-
national Energy Report 2019. Urban areas are home to
more than 50% of the world’s population and are the
site of most of its built assets and economic activities.
As more than two billion people are added to the global
population in the coming decades and as urban popu-
lations continue to grow (70% by 2050), the question
arises: how can people and the goods they require be
moved more efficiently and effectively than they are
The existing transport system faces significant chal-
lenges. Traffic congestion, noise, air pollution and traffic
accidents impose tremendous human and economic
costs on society. Also, transport accounts for more than
half of global oil demand, making it a key contributor to
climate change. In many places, access to affordable and
convenient transport is far from equitable.
Cities will require mobility solutions that are sustain-
able, affordable, secure, inclusive and integrated with
customer-centric infrastructure and services. This trans-
formation rests on the intertwined pillars of mobility
and energy, both of which will require radical changes
to a low-carbon economy able to cope with increasing
populations and economic growth.
This transformation will require a holistic, systemic
approach, one that acts in the intersection between
technology, infrastructure, multi-mode mobility and
behavioral changes and that seeks to achieve significant
GHG emissions reductions, reduced energy consumption
and less congestion, the ultimate objective being to cre-
ate livable and sustainable cities. Research and innova-
tion are playing a major role by developing portfolios of
low-carbon, cost-efficient, high-performance technolog-
ical and non-technological solutions at different scales
and time-frames (short-, medium- and long-term).
Transforming urban mobility and getting transport on
track to keep the global increase in average tempera-
tures well below 2⁰C will require a broad set of mea-
sures, like those analysed in the International Energy
Agency’s (IEA) Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS).
This comprehensive strategy can be broken down into
three distinct areas:
Avoid/reduce travel activity
Shift to more efficient modes of transport
Improve transport technology, fuel efficiency and
Avoid/reduce refers to the need to improve the overall
efficiency of the transport system and thereby the need
to travel.
New economic and technological trends are influencing
land-use patterns and people’s lifestyles. Digitalization,
on-demand mobility and flexible and cleaner energy
production can increase the chances of higher density
development and a more balanced mix of land uses (resi-
dential, commercial, production, schools, parks), poten-
tially reducing the demand for unsustainable modes of
travel. This is not a straightforward path for mega-cities
in emerging economies such as Beijing, Delhi, São Paulo
and Cape Town, each of which has its specific devel-
opment trajectory, density and increase in motorized
modes of transport. What is interesting, however, is that
non-motorized transport seems to have remained stable
in cities like Delhi, São Paulo and Cape Town, for underly-
ing reasons yet to be explored. Further, car use in Beijing
has peaked due to a combination of investment in public
transport infrastructure, regulatory constraints and the
roll-out of (shared) bicycle concepts and bike paths.
There are numerous bottlenecks within and across
transport modes resulting in system-wide capacity
constraints, traffic jams and increased levels of envi-
ronmental impact. With new digital technologies and
Page 8 – Transforming urban mobility: key findings and recommendations Transforming urban mobility: key findings and recommendations – Page 9
DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
Chapter 1
Transforming urban mobility:
key findings and recommendations
Birte Holst Jørgensen, Katrine Krogh Andersen
and Otto Anker Nielsen, DTU
Opt for a mission-driven RD&D approach to transforming and decarbonizing urban mobility.
These problem-specific challenges of how to avoid, shift and improve transport can only be solved by working
together across all technical, natural science and social science disciplines, as well as across institutions and
national borders, as the interconnectedness of DTU research demonstrates. By definition research does not
recognize boundaries, and as Pasteur’s quadrant illustrates, it is possible to conduct research that contributes to
both the quest for understanding and considerations of use. Such integrated energy and transport solutions are
not a question of picking technological winners but of enabling decision-makers to facilitate, create and shape
markets so that the best, most eco-efficient and most socially acceptable options are chosen. The prospect of
smart mobility is raising ethical challenges and cybersecurity concerns, which also need to be addressed by
researchers and practitioners alike.
Facilitate urban living labs in cities around the world.
Urban living labs provide an ideal opportunity to test different aspects of integrated energy and mobility solu-
tions, including by allowing regulatory exemptions from the existing legal framework in a sandbox setting. They
allow the impact for both technologies and frameworks to be evaluated before rolling out regulatory schemes
for the whole country. Across the world, urban living labs are providing a great opportunity for in-depth policy
learning, and they can be fed back into decision-making for urban planning, new regulatory frameworks and
business models.
Step up policy support and innovation to reduce the costs of alternative fuels.
While future urban mobility may to a large extent be electrified, other parts of the transport sector, such as
aviation, shipping and heavy/duty vehicles, will rely on competitive, low-carbon, sustainable fuels.
Engage actively in matching the supply and demand of skills relevant for future mobility solutions.
Insights, together with educational shifts, re- and upskilling, are needed to manage the radical transformation of
urban transport sectors that is required. Education needs to race ahead of technology, not vice versa.
Strengthen partnerships: engines of change.
Transformations of urban mobility are made by and for people, making cities more liveable and sustainable. They
will need to be co-created by multiple stakeholders by means of dialogue, participatory processes and account-
able, engaged and committed partnerships.
times. Living labs generate important knowledge and
learning that would otherwise be difficult to obtain, but
regulatory and legal constraints may hamper real-life
testing and demonstrations of new urban mobility solu-
tions. Therefore, urban sandbox experiments, show-case
regions and test regions are emerging where not only is
the technology tested, new business models and frame-
work conditions are exempted from regulations with the
consent of the consumers involved.
While battery-electric powertrains are becoming viable
options for many vehicles, aviation, waterborne trans-
port and certain heavy-duty road vehicles are likely to
continue relying largely on combustion engines and
liquid fuels in the coming decades, including in cities.
Producing such fuels of non-fossil origin will be an
important stepping stone to reducing energy intensi-
ties in order to decarbonize the whole transport sector.
Such green or alternative fuels include synthetic fuels,
hydrogen and advanced biofuels, fuel blends and engine
optimization. In order to compare the different technol-
ogy and mobility options, life-cycle assessments (LCA)
of different transport solutions compare the eco-effi-
ciency of products, services and the whole system, thus
enabling decision-makers to make informed decisions
and choices. For example the economic benefits of a fuel
efficient vehicle may be more attractive relative to other
transport modes such as public transport.
Cities will play a key role in accelerating the transfor-
mation of urban mobility, by unleashing the potential of
systemic innovation and the large-scale adoption of new
technologies and modes of mobility. Over the past de-
cades DTU researchers have contributed to this agenda,
often in close cooperation with more than three hundred
institutions in more than forty countries. This research
is characterized by a deep interconnectedness between
energy, policy/regulation, infrastructure, new electric
and alternative fuel technologies, system-modelling, the
increasing importance of alternative modes of transport,
and shifting preferences, attitudes and behavior on the
part of mobility users.
Page 10 – Transforming urban mobility: key findings and recommendations Transforming urban mobility: key findings and recommendations – Page 11
DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
Transforming urban mobility
DTU International Energy Report 2019 focuses on
sustainable mobility and transport systems in cities.
The transport sector connects people across space and
enables goods to be exchanged, but it also consumes
energy, contributes heavily to CO
emissions and local air
pollution, and imposes tremendous human and economic
costs on society. Cities also offer opportunities for
transforming urban mobility. Cities will require mobility
solutions that are sustainable, affordable, secure, inclu-
sive and integrated with the wider urban infrastructure
and services, the ultimate objective being to create
liveable and sustainable cities. For this to happen, a
systemic transformation is needed, which will take place
in the intersection between technology, infrastructure,
multi-mode mobility and behavioural changes. This is
summarized in three interrelated areas: how to avoid
unnecessary transport, how to shift to eco-efficient
modes of transport, and how to improve technologies,
fuels and infrastructure. The report also addresses
future educational needs in the area of urban mobility
and presents a network analysis of the areas of research
that are influencing urban mobility solutions.
Global outlook on transportation
The global energy outlook on transportation addresses
the energy- and climate-related challenges in the trans-
port sector and analyses two pathways through which
the sector can contribute to a low-carbon future. Today
the transport sector accounts for almost two-thirds
of final energy consumption, produces approximately
one-third of global energy-related CO
emissions and
is primarily responsible for urban air pollution. Cities
are expected to increase the impact on global energy
demand and energy-related emissions. This represents a
challenge but also an opportunity in transforming urban
mobility. Growing population and income levels, flexible
freight transport, e-commerce and digital technologies
in cities are key drivers of transport activities. However,
thanks to high population densities and travel patterns
characterized by shorter distances, cities can be leaders
in achieving active transport modes, public transport and
the uptake of sustainable transport technologies such as
electric vehicles (EVs). Getting transport on track to keep
the rise in average global temperatures to well below
2⁰C requires putting into practice a broad set of “avoid,
shift and improve” measures.
In this chapter, the outlook for a low-carbon transport
sector is analysed in two scenarios: the New Policies
Scenario (NPS) and the Sustainable Development Sce-
nario (SDS). The first scenario (NPS) analyses the out-
look towards 2040, taking into consideration officially
declared policy measures and regulations, including
Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris
Agreement, and taking known technologies into account.
In this scenario, total energy-related CO
emissions rise
by 10% in 2040 compared to 2017, which will result in
a temperature increase of 2.7⁰C. The second scenario
(SDS) analyses how the energy and transport sectors
can meet the Paris Agreement while also achieving a
drastic reduction in air pollution and wider access to
energy by means of the large-scale adoption of “avoid/
shift/improve” measures in transport. The main mitiga-
tion levers include regulations to reduce the frequency
of use of and distance travelled by energy-intensive
modes of transport, a shift towards more efficient
modes of transport, and the adoption of energy-efficient
technologies for vehicles and of low-carbon fuels.
Mobility in cities in emerging economies
Future mobility trends will be determined by how cities
in emerging economies address the huge challenges
associated with increasing urbanization and growing per
capita incomes. This chapter analyses mobility trends
and challenges in four megacities in four emerging
economy countries in three continents: São Paulo (Bra-
zil), Beijing (China), Delhi (India) and Cape Town (South
Africa). These four cities are quite diverse in terms of
their demographic and economic characteristics and
belong to C40 Cities. The four countries differ in terms
of their respective developments, trajectories, mobility
choices and impacts. All four cities have historically been
densely populated and with time have further densified,
except for Beijing.
In terms of mobility trends, Beijing has witnessed a
decline in walking and cycling, whereas in other cities
mode shares for non⁰motorized transport (NMT) have
remained stable. São Paulo has most of its employment
heavily concentrated in its central areas, while its low⁰
income residents have settled on the peripheries, where
a significant proportion of the poor population still
walks. The situation in Cape Town is similar, with a large
proportion of the population being poor and making
many walking trips. Delhi is similar to many Indian cities,
with mixed land use and a high share of walking and
cycling trips (around 40%). The shift in modal shares
from NMT is mainly to modes of public transport, where
available, and to private vehicles.
In fact, the mode shares of private motorized vehicles
have shown increasing trends except in São Paulo
and Beijing. Beijing has experienced a peak in car use,
Chapter 2
Executive summary
Birte Holst Jørgensen, DTU
Executive summary – Page 13
DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
Many different factors play a role in the uptake of
cycling and need to be addressed. What is required is
an integrated package of complementary interventions
that address people differently, taking account of their
current travel behaviour and intentions, as well as the
existing urban lay-out and infrastructure.
Smart mobility
New, smart mobility solutions are designed around
individual needs, usually with operations using new
technology and often with resource-sharing. Smart
mobility enables many solutions, ranging from shared
on-demand mobility (car-sharing, bike-sharing, ride-hail-
ing etc.) to integrated solutions (mobility as a service,
apps for informed multimodal trip planning).
Smart mobility is primarily rooted in recent technological
progress and digitalization where sensors, information
and communication technology, and developments
in computer science define mobility smartness. The
sensors constantly monitor the main constituents of a
transport system, namely vehicles, infrastructure and
people. The sensors in a car monitor the hardware,
driving, position and environment. Infrastructure sensors
are used for intelligent traffic management systems,
environment and parking. Sensors in smart phones and
wearable electronics can also be used as personalized
mobility services. The totality of digitalization produces
a giant digital footprint, which can be used to monitor
online transactions and smart-card usage and to predict
transport supply and demand. Information and commu-
nication technology in this context relies on wireless
data collection from vehicles, infrastructure, people,
the digital footprint and communication between them.
Vehicle-to-everything communication expands the
technical options and includes tests on the platooning
of trucks and autonomous fleets, as well as facilitating
intelligent traffic management, parking assistance, driv-
ing assistance and remote diagnostics and positioning.
Analysing the vast amounts of data from sensors can
support decision-making in respect of smart mobility,
including user behaviour, transport demand prediction
and autonomous driving.
These technological features are giving rise to four
operational features of smart mobility: flexibility,
responsiveness, personalization and efficiency. From a
traveller’s perspective, flexibility relies on cost-effective
gains in terms of modal, spatial and temporal accessi-
bility for handling anticipated changes in the operating
environment. Responsiveness is achieved through
demand prediction, supply optimization and the interplay
between the two. Personalization is achieved through
interface design, product offering, payment and other
service integration or information provision. Privacy
challenges requiring data-processing and complexity are
challenges addressed by research. Lastly, efficiency in
smart mobility is related to resource allocation, mobility
performance, safety, energy and the environment.
New mobility trends are based on rapid technological
progress and are rooted in completely new business
models. Shared and on-demand mobility are booming
in densely populated cities and are particularly popular
with the younger generation and medium to high-in-
come urban populations. Future mobility is expected to
be connected and autonomous, synchronized into fleets
and using V2X communication and artificial intelligence.
Traditional public-policy instruments such as investment,
pricing or regulation can be complemented by nudges
that redirect behaviour through slight interventions.
Coordination among mobility providers will increase the
availability of services, with smooth multi-modal transi-
tions and the integration of payment and information.
Smart mobility has impacts on congestion, air pollution,
road safety, noise, intermodality and costs, but not
always in resource-efficient ways, as shown in recent
studies. Nonetheless, substantial gains in energy and
emissions can be achieved through significant changes
in demand and the integration of the entire smart mobil-
ity eco-system, where stronger public-private partner-
ships may dramatically impact on modal shifts, mileage,
emissions and accessibility.
Freight, logistics and delivery of goods
The transport of freight and goods in and out of cities
spans a wide range of industrial supplies, finished goods
and returns. The main challenge is how to minimize
operating costs while minimizing the negative effects of
urban freight transport. Private, public, commercial and
industrial consumers demand goods to be delivered for
consumption or further refinement, generating waste
and other returns to be sent in the opposite direction.
Urban freight and logistics are subject to the unit costs
of the last mile due to low or medium fill rates in small-
or medium-capacity vehicles operating in congested
areas. The sector involves many different stakeholders,
ranging from consumers living in the city, commuters
and tourists to commercial businesses and industry
and transport operators and shippers. Cities face the
dilemma of how to make the city liveable with restricted
or regulated traffic and access to good infrastructure
while also allowing for multiple economic activities.
whereas Cape Town has traditionally been a car⁰based
economy, meaning that the share of car trips remains
high. Delhi has a better public transport system than
other Indian cities, despite which modes of private trans-
port account for 36% of all trips, and car ownership has
risen 3.5 times in ten years.
Cities in emerging economies are quite dense and
provide opportunities for public transport and for shared
and on-demand mobility solutions. Cities are investing in
transit systems, mainly rail-based systems, to increase
public transport. Although the ridership of these transit
systems has increased, the share of public transport has
not increased significantly, except for Beijing, which has
a higher share of rides, as well as of public transport.
China and India are witnessing a transformation towards
on-demand transportation, accounting for three-quar-
ters of the market for this mobility service. In China,
ride-sharing is considered a mode of public transport and
is led by the company Didi Chuxing. In India on-demand
transportation has become an important mode of trans-
port, provided by commercial taxis such as Ola and Uber.
Fuel efficiency has improved across all vehicle sizes, but
efficiency in similar vehicle-size categories varies across
countries. More fuel-efficient cars are also available
in emerging economies, but the impact on overall fuel
efficiency is being offset by increasing numbers of
medium-sized vehicles. Electric vehicle (EV) policies
are now in place in all four countries, but none of them,
except for China, has any significant share of EVs. China
is at the forefront of EVs, which make up 2.3% of the
home market but 50% of the global EV market. China has
implemented policies at all levels, including at city level,
placing restrictions on the use of fossil-fuel cars and
also providing incentives such as access to bus lanes,
free parking, toll exemptions, insurance exemptions and
local tax exemptions for electric vehicles.
Active transport modes
Cities around the world are currently trying to increase
their shares of active transport modes, most importantly
walking and cycling, in order to make themselves more
sustainable and liveable. Social, environmental and in-
dividual factors influence when active transport modes
are used.
Social factors and status associated with different
transport modes vary considerably between countries
and regions. The Netherlands and Denmark are the
leading cycling countries in Europe, while East European
countries like Romania and Bulgaria are dominant in
walking. Walking may reflect economic disadvantages
and limitations in alternative modes of transport rather
than preferences, but it may also reflect different
cultures and traditions. Cycling is considered an every-
day mode of transport in Denmark and the Netherlands,
while people in other countries may consider it abnormal
or associated with a low social status.
Environmental factors are related to urban densities and
accessibility as preconditions for shorter travel distances
and the use of active travel modes. There is a positive
relationship between density, land-use mix and both
walking and cycling. Walkability and bikeability are as-
sociated with access conditions, environmental qualities
and infrastructure for pedestrians and bicycles. Prefer-
ences for route choices differ by region; cyclists in Co-
penhagen, for example, prefer elevated cycle tracks next
to the road, whereas cyclists in Oregon put a relatively
high value on off-street cycle paths. More generally,
dedicated cycle tracks and sidewalks, separated from
motor traffic, are considered a fundamental principle of
road safety and active-mode mobility.
Individual factors are context-specific. In high-cycling
countries all age groups and genders are well repre-
sented, whereas in low-cycling countries women and
the elderly are underrepresented, which may be linked
to differences in safety perceptions. Household mobility
needs may facilitate car use, but bicycles can compete
with the car in a city like Copenhagen that facilitates
cycling. Travel mode decisions are influenced not only by
functional but also by symbolic and affective motives,
as well as by social norms. Cycling initiatives such as
on-line platforms can fulfil both functional and social
roles, while health-related motives also seem to be an
important factor in cycling.
Modal shifts from cars to active modes of transport are
influenced by “hard” measures such as better infra-
structure and car-restrictive policies, as well as “soft”
measures such as information provision and awareness
campaigns. Infrastructural improvements and mainte-
nance are not just about sufficient and safe pavements,
but also about cycle tracks and sidewalks that are sepa-
rated from motor traffic. Car-restrictive policies and park-
ing-management policies are likely to increase the costs
and difficulties of travelling by car, thus favouring other
modes. Also, the taxation of cars and fuels influences
choice of travel mode. In aiming to encourage voluntary
changes in mode choice, theory-based interventions
that include self-monitoring and intention-formation
techniques have shown the most promising results.
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DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
replace conventional power plants in supporting the use
of renewables in the electric power system. In addition,
a 50% EV penetration would not pose a serious threat
to the 400V distribution grid. However, to fully leverage
the flexibility of EVs, the local grid should be moderately
reinforced and smart grids must be expanded.
Other national demonstration projects are currently
being undertaken in real-life settings. The Frederiksberg
utility and partners are conducting commercial tests
focusing on scaling up, real grid support, daily operations
and the business aspects of how, when and how much
to use EVs to support the electric grid.
These living labs have generated results and enabled
learning otherwise difficult to obtain. This includes
staging experiments in real-life conditions with real-life
interactions and human behaviour. In order to improve
technical developments and develop new business mod-
els taking note of human behaviour, it may be beneficial
to exempt living labs from the ordinary legal and regu-
latory frameworks for a limited period. Further research
also includes ethical and safety measures related to such
smart, integrated energy and mobility systems.
Alternative fuels
Alternative fuels are important building blocks in
reducing energy intensities and decarbonizing the
transport sector. Liquid hydrocarbons like diesel, jet fuel
and gasoline will remain essential fuels for transport,
especially for shipping and aviation, and in an urban
context especially for heavy transport of goods. For
urban transport, candidate fuels are hydrogen, meth-
ane, methanol, ethanol, dimethyl ether (DME), synthetic
gasoline and bio-diesel. They differ with respect to
overall well-to-wheel efficiencies, production facilities,
fuelling infrastructure and adaptations of vehicles and
engines. Methane and methanol are promising fuels with
view to the ease and efficiency of the synthesis while
Fischer-Tropsch diesel, biodiesel, methanol to gasoline,
upgraded pyrolysis oil and bio-ethanol are promising
fuels with view to existing vehicle fleets.
Hydrogen is a promising transport fuel, also being im-
portant in alleviating shortages of biomass. Electrolysis
is a well-known technology for producing hydrogen from
renewable resources. Promising technologies include
alkaline electrolysis, which is characterized by low-cost
per-unit areas and excellent durability, but also low
efficiency and production capacity per unit area. Polymer
exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis has matured
rapidly and has recently been scaled up to ~1MW. It is
characterized by high production capacities and rapid
response times. Solid oxide electrolysis is still at an early
stage, with units of around 50kW and plants of 300 kW
under construction. It is characterized by high levels of
efficiency and modest cost per area, but improvements
are needed in long-term durability and robustness.
Improvements in the manufacturing processes of cells,
stacks and modules are further needed to bring down
overall costs and increase capacity.
Methane, a natural gas, is already widely used in the
transport sector and can be produced from biomass via
several thermal gasification routes or anaerobic diges-
tion. Thermal gasification involves the high-temperature
thermochemical conversion of biomass into a calorific
product gas. It is scalable, efficient and fuel-flexible,
but requires expensive and complex gas cleaning and
is still in the demonstration phase. In a recent gasifica-
tion-based SNG production project, its efficiency was
doubled by integrating electrolysis to let hydrogen con-
vert CO
to methane. Methane can also be produced via
the anaerobic digestion processing of organic residues
and liquid effluents from the food industry. Pilot-scale
development and demonstration are still being under-
taken to optimise the process. Not widely applied but
very promising is the production of methane through the
biological conversion of synthesis gas.
Alcohols and DME (Methanol) are energy-dense liquids.
They have been produced commercially for nearly a
century, but methanol derived from biomass gasification
is still at the development stage. As with SNG, adding
hydrogen to the process may boost the production per
unit of biomass and thereby double output. Several
projects aim at integrating electrolysis into the bio-
mass-to-methanol process, as well as finding solutions
to the problem of reducing the tar concentration. A
full concept demonstration of electrolysis-assisted
straw-to-methanol is currently being conducted at DTU.
Ethanol is a widely used fuel produced from biomass,
mainly sugarcane and corn. Concerns that biofuels may
compete with food production have shifted the research
effort towards second-generation bioethanol production
from lingo-cellulosic residues. Another promising route
for bioethanol production from lingo-cellulosic resi-
dues is via a syngas platform where high-temperature
gasification is combined with downstream fermentation,
creating high levels of energy efficiency and a high
degree of carbon exploitation.
The freight transport and logistics sector is exposed to
an increasing demand for efficiency, availability services
and sustainable solutions, while increasing levels of
traffic and consumption are making freight logistics in
cities even more complex. E-commerce and on-demand
delivery impact on freight patterns both positively and
negatively. In particular, same-day delivery services may
lead to lower vehicle fill rates and more freight move-
ments. As the freight logistics sector consists of a rela-
tively high number of operators, many delivery vehicles
may be servicing neighbourhoods and households, with
impacts on congestion, noise, traffic safety and energy
consumption. Operators are investing increasingly in
new digital solutions such as booking platforms, track
and trace features and on-demand services, helping
operators deliver goods within strict time limits. New
concepts and technologies are giving rise to interesting
opportunities: automation facilitating cost-effective
last-mile operations, freight delivery drones and even
sideway robot drone technology, and highly automated
operations in freight terminals and logistics hubs.
Today most freight transport is operated by diesel
trucks, but they may be replaced by EVs or alternative
fuels such as biofuels, hydrogen etc. Urban freight
movements are ideal for deploying such alternatives
due to the limited driving ranges and capacities of both
the vehicles and urban areas. Semi- or fully automated
vehicles likewise offer interesting opportunities to
bring down costs and reduce energy consumption and
emissions. Truck platooning is relevant not just for long-
haul transport, but also for freight transport in cities, by
using semi-automated technology to coordinate traffic
flows, infrastructure and the flow of goods to and from
warehouses and terminals. City logistics based on urban
consolidation centres aim to bring down last-mile costs
by consolidating goods from various shippers on to the
same delivery vehicle.
Regulation plays a key role in making the sector more
sustainable and efficient by banning certain vehicle
types, favouring environmentally friendly vehicles or im-
posing road-charging schemes, all of which may also add
to the last-mile costs. The future development of the
freight logistics sector may take place in an urban living
lab setting where operators invest in green vehicles (EVs
and/or alternative fuels) while at the same time utilities,
municipalities and others co-fund new infrastructure. In
a similar setting, semi- and fully automated vehicles may
be tested, providing operators with knowledge about
off-hour deliveries. Finally, digitalization facilitates effi-
cient planning and management and makes possible the
consolidation and coordination of freight transport and
logistics in city transport corridors.
Living lab for integrated energy systems
In a low-carbon energy society, the power system is con-
tinually being challenged by variable power generation
and increased demand. This calls for demand response in
power consumption and for storage solutions. Although
electro-mobility in urban settings represents an increase
in electricity demand, it can also be used as a variable
storage solution through the integration of EVs into the
grid using so-called “vehicle-to-grid” technology (V2G).
Thus EVs are flexible resources and as such offer flexi-
bility to the electric power grid. Rapid developments in
mobility, particularly urban electro-mobility, have already
significantly impacted on the current power system.
Autonomous transport, electric bikes and scooters
for the last mile, delivery of goods by drones, shared
vehicles and mobility as a service may likewise influence
the electric power system. At the distribution level, the
massive deployment of electric vehicles (EV) may gen-
erate local voltage excursions and grid congestion, but
if EV charging and de-charging are being controlled, EVs
can potentially help mitigate the self-incurred adverse
Models, laboratory tests and proof of concepts are
steps required in order eventually to roll out and scale
up solutions supporting sustainable developments in
urban mobility. In this context, living labs and super-lab
settings represent the final step towards industrial and
commercial realization. Coupling two or more energy
systems and infrastructures is a prerequisite for a future
with sustainable urban mobility. EVs and chargers can
be used to create a coupling between transportation
and the electric grid. Electrification of transportation,
customer interactions, the roll-out of charging infrastruc-
ture and the integration of EVs are key elements driving
achievements in sustainable urban mobility.
EnergyLab Nordhavn addresses multiple facets of
new developments. Electro-mobility is one of several
interconnected systems being highlighted. Chargers and
fast-chargers for EVs have been installed in a multi-sto-
rey car park and are closely monitored. PowerLabDK
includes a multiple location lab integrated with field
testing areas on Risø (SYSLAB) and Test Zone Bornholm.
The labs are interconnected through monitoring and con-
trol and boast a dedicated EVlab with several chargers
and EVs. Various technical solutions for electro-mobil-
ity are being tested and validated at different levels
of maturity. Results showed that EVs can effectively
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DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
count sectorial, occupational and geographical changes
and differences, as well as forecasting the medium to
long-term demand and availability of workforce and
anticipating developments in occupational structures
and educational needs. The skills of urban planning
professionals are already undergoing change in respect
of their analytical, methodological, visionary, creative,
social, communicative and inter-cultural skills. Also
important is continuous curriculum development in
technical engineering skills, planning and process skills,
customer skills, and organizational and managerial skills.
For transport engineering professionals, mathematical
and statistical models and computer-based modelling
and simulation tools continue to be important, but
are used rather as a tool to embrace the uncertainties
within a wider methodological paradigm. Also, a further
development of route planning and operation manage-
ment is needed to capture the developments of new
business models, customer expectations and on-demand
deliveries. For both groups of professionals, curriculum
development should take stock of the rapid innovations
in technologies, business models and business eco-sys-
tems, something which also requires life-long learning,
upgrading skills and re-skilling.
Examples of key drivers of change in urban mobility im-
pacting on critical skills include big data (data collection,
analysis and use), artificial intelligence and its implica-
tions for restructuring tasks, autonomous and connected
vehicles, block chains in financial services, electrification
of transport, densification of the built environment with
new transport modes and infrastructure, and ensuring
the safety and security of digital and power systems
against operational disruptions, cyber-attacks etc.
For both groups of professionals, skills in systems design
and operations are needed, together with co-working
in multi-disciplinary teams and projects, combined with
niche knowledge regarding AI, privacy and security,
logistics etc. Exploiting the ability to engage local stake-
holders in open-data platforms or civic laboratories re-
quires enhanced skills and competences in change- and
participatory innovation management. Thus, educational
shifts, reskilling and upgrading skills are needed to man-
age radical transitions in the context of the new promi-
nence of urban mobility. Apart from technical skills, this
also encompasses ethical and participatory, mediating or
governance issues related to the new technologies.
A network view on research and
development in sustainable urban mobility
Developing solutions for sustainable urban mobility
requires connecting knowledge and technologies from
a diverse and large range of actors. Thus, educational
shifts require navigating a whole spectrum of multiple
research areas that are part of a complex and interde-
pendent whole. The ways in which they connect with
each other will affect how urban mobility is designed
and managed.
The data-driven mapping exercise presented in this
chapter provides a representative overview of the con-
tent and collaborations of DTU researchers over the last
35 years. For example, DTU researchers have links with
more than forty countries and three hundred institutions
working on topics related to sustainable urban mobility
solutions. Collaborations are geographically dispersed,
covering a wide range of organizations. Although most
collaborations are in Europe, organizations such as MIT
(US) and the University of Queensland (Australia) rank
high as well. Furthermore, collaborations with the USA,
China and other non-European countries are growing.
Based on a co-occurrence network and cluster analysis,
the spectrum of research influencing sustainable urban
mobility solutions and how they are linked to each other
can be identified. DTU research is clustered analytically
into six different topic groups, mostly created by five
research communities: 1) synthetic fuels and other
alternative fuels; 2) life-cycle assessment and other
general sustainability aspects related to transport; 3)
energy policy; 4) energy grid, energy storage and energy
production; and 5) transport-specific research. Only
one of the five research communities can be defined as
transport-specific, the energy policy community being a
shared interface between the other four communities.
The mapping of key R&D trends reveals that DTU’s
contribution is characterized by a topical shift towards
sustainability-related areas a more systemic approach
with a focus on mobility, human behaviour and design
and increasing uncertainties in urban mobility. More-
over, alternative fuels, algorithms for decision-support
systems, inclusion of the built environment and active
transport are among the high-growth, high- occurrence
These findings point towards the deep interconnections
between energy, policy, infrastructure, new electric and
alternative fuel technologies, system modelling, the
increasing importance of new modes of transport, and
the shifting preferences, attitudes and behaviour of
mobility users.
Higher hydrocarbons and other heavy fuels are fuels
with properties close to those of diesel and gasoline.
Syngas can be converted into liquid hydrocarbons, for
example, diesel by the Fisher-Tropsch process, or to
methanol, which then can be converted into gasoline in
the methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) process. The large-scale
gasification of biomass and syngas clean-up are still at
the demonstration level and rely on well-known, down-
stream methanol and Fisher-Tropsch technologies. Pyrol-
ysis oil is produced in a process in which dry biomass is
rapidly heated. It can be catalytically hydro-treated to
form hydrocarbons similar to gasoline and diesel, but is
challenged by the formation of char and coke. Combining
pyrolysis and hydro-treatment in catalytic hydro-pyroly-
sis is currently at the demonstration stage. Historically
bio-diesel has been produced from plant oils, but it can
also be produced from waste oils such as cooking oil and
fats. However, due to shortages in the supply of waste
oils for bio-diesel, alternative feedstocks have been
explored, such as micro-algal and single cell oils.
Environmental sustainability of different
transport modes
Modern society depends on transporting people and
goods from A to B, but it comes with substantial nega-
tive impacts such as climate change, energy consump-
tion, air pollution impacts on human health, chemical
pollution and the reduced availability of metal resources.
It is crucial to assess these negative impacts when
deciding on the development of a sustainable transport
future. In order to assess all the impacts of a transport
system, a systems perspective is adopted capturing all
aspects of the life-cycle of the system’s physical ele-
ments – the fuels, vehicles and infrastructure, from the
extraction of resources to the end of life.
The life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool for comparing
the eco-efficiency of products, services and the systems
that provide them. For individual transport technolo-
gies, the quantitative measures include the number of
persons, the weight or volume of goods, the distance
over which the transport occurs and the frequency with
which it occurs. Person transport is expressed in person.
km and freight in or Qualitative measures
include, for person transport comfort, the duration of
the trip and the ability to take luggage, while for freight,
duration may be an issue for certain goods.
The degree of interdependence between the eco-ef-
ficiency of the technology and the level of demand is
also assessed. There may be a rebound effect when the
economic benefits of a more fuel-efficient car are more
attractive relative to other modes of transport, such as
public transport. The implementation of new transport
technologies may have unintended consequences, for
example, an uptake of EVs sufficiently large that it
requires the construction of additional power plants.
Therefore the full consequences of changes to the
existing transport system should be analysed at the
planning and design stage to ensure that all the relevant
elements have been assessed.
LCA studies primarily of passenger cars reveal that
regional location is a determining factor in the per-
formances of EVs. One location-specific factor is the
local climate, which impacts on the need for heating or
cooling vehicles and cabins.
For internal combustion engine vehicles, the life-cycle
environmental impact of the fuel typically predominates
over the impacts of the vehicle itself. With regard to
vehicles using biofuels, the environmental burden may
remain for the vehicle but shift from a climate-change
impact to a land-use impact. For EVs, the fuel life-cycle
may be as important as the vehicle, depending on the
supporting electricity mix. The environmental impacts of
infrastructure (e.g. charging stations) seem to be insig-
nificant compared to the impacts of any other life-cycle
stage of the system. Infrastructure typically has a long
life over which it supports a high number of vehicles and
thus has a relatively small impact measured as
driven at the entire fleet level.
Getting the technology and system right requires car-de-
sign strategies aimed at increasing eco-efficiency and
improving fuel efficiencies in the use stage and reduced
energy use through light-weight constructions. It is not
easy to make urban transport modes eco-efficient, and
there may be rebound effects in consumption or use.
Several top-down approaches to determining absolute
environmental sustainability targets at different levels
have been proposed.
Urban mobility in transformation:
demands on education
The digitalization and integration of city infrastructure
are giving rise to a transformational change in urban
transport that will involve fundamental changes to the
future skills of urban planning and engineering profes-
Matching the supply of and demand for skills in the
area of urban mobility is a social challenge. Anticipating
the development of such skills should take into ac-
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DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
Some of the main challenges hindering the sustainable
transition of the transport sector are related to the facts
Transport activity is tightly coupled with gross do-
mestic product (GDP) and to population and income
levels, factors that are increasing in many countries
worldwide. By 2050, the global population is ex-
pected to have grown by 30% compared to 2015 [2].
In particular, given the increase in the urbanization
rate, two-thirds of the global population will be living
in cities, the same place where countries’ economies
will develop the most, especially in emerging econo-
mies. Therefore, due to increases in prosperity, urban
populations will potentially be responsible for higher
consumption levels of goods and services, more
transport activity and greater ownership of private
vehicles [2].
Sustainable transport technologies are already avail-
able on the market, but their high investment costs
are slowing their widespread acceptance and thus
call for policy support [7]. Moreover, the adoption of
low-carbon technologies is being hampered by the
slow turnover rate of existing vehicle fleets and the
lock-in effect derived from the existing infrastructure.
The growing demand for flexible freight transport
implies a greater utilization of trucks, especially in
emerging economies, where the road infrastruc-
ture is rapidly expanding, leading to trucks being
regarded as among the fastest growing sources of
global oil demand [8].
The increasing penetration of e-commerce and
digital technologies such as Mobility-as-a-Service
(MaaS), sharing mobility and autonomous vehicles
might result in additional overall transport activity,
with potentially negative impacts on energy con-
sumption and emissions from transport [9].
The successful low-carbon transition of the transport
sector requires major policy and technology devel-
opments and relies on the ability of policy-makers to
identify the challenges and to implement an all-encom-
passing set of measures aiming at addressing them.
Decarbonization strategy:
Getting transport on track to meet global environmental
goals such as the Paris Agreement [10] requires putting
into practice a broad set of measures, summarized in
the International Energy Agency’s slogan Avoid, Shift,
Improve. Avoid entails mitigating transport activity by
limiting the number of trips and reducing their distances.
Shift consists in limiting the reliance on carbon-intense
modes of transport by enhancing the use of public
transportation and non-motorised modes of transport.
Improve implies enhancing vehicle efficiency by adopt-
ing more efficient power trains, replacing oil-based fuels
with low-carbon fuels, increasing vehicles’ occupancy
and load factors and light weighting. This section
describes the main recent developments and trends rela-
tive to the three key pillars of transport decarbonization.
The measures included in the category Avoid are those
that aim at reducing energy consumption and emissions
from transport primarily through a reduction in activity
(measured in passenger-kilometres or tonne-kilometres).
Such measures enable people to satisfy their daily needs
while avoiding taking a trip or limiting its distance and
ensuring that goods are delivered while minimizing their
overall distance. Urban design is an important driver of
transport activity. Compact cities or neighbourhoods that
include both residential dwellings and commercial or busi-
ness activities enable shorter trips [2]. A wider adoption
of intelligent transport systems (ITS) can also reduce total
distances travelled by suggesting shorter routes and can
mitigate congestion by recommending less busy routes.
Teleworking and virtual mobility are increasingly being
adopted by companies and have the potential to reduce
their employees’ transport activity levels, also resulting
in less congested roads and less busy public transport
during peak hours. A wider deployment of logistical hubs
and the concurrent enhancement of logistical services can
improve the overall freight supply chain, resulting in lower
freight transport activity.
The actions grouped under the category Shift aim at
reducing transport externalities by replacing carbon-in-
tense modes of transport with low-carbon ones. Figure
1 illustrates the rationale behind shift measures: rail has
the lowest energy intensity in the passenger transport
sector and the second lowest (after shipping) in freight
transport [11]. Therefore, shifting transport activity from
private modes of transport or aviation to public transport
enables energy consumption to be limited significantly.
So far, shift policy levers have mainly been limited to
urban areas, as reflected by the several targets on the
modal share of public transport in the NDCs of several
countries [12]. However, shift policy measures generally
do not target as much freight and intercity passenger
Transport is an important driver of social and economic
development, as it connects people across different
regions and enables the exchange of goods. However,
transport is also responsible for several externalities.
Today the transport sector accounts for almost one-third
of final energy consumption [1]. It is also a major con-
tributor to global warming, accounting for approximately
one-third of global energy-related CO
emissions, and is
a primary responsible for urban air pollution. Moreover,
the transport sector currently presents the least diver-
sified portfolio of energy resources among all energy
sectors, relying mainly on oil and accounting for nearly
two-thirds of total oil consumption.
Given the increasing rate of urbanization globally, which
will lead to two-thirds of the global population living in
urban areas by 2050 [2], cities are expected to play a
major role in terms of global energy consumption and
energy-related environmental emissions. The trend
towards urbanization represents both a challenge and an
opportunity for the transport sector’s sustainable tran-
sition. On the one hand, growing population and income
levels in urban areas are key drivers of rising transport
activity. On the other hand, thanks to their high pop-
ulation densities and urban transport patterns, which
are normally characterized by trips of short distances,
cities can be leaders in the utilization of non-motorized
forms of transport and public transport, as well as in the
uptake of sustainable transport technologies such as
electric vehicles (EVs) [2]. In addition, cities are often
more ambitious than national governments in commit-
ting themselves to more ambitious environmental goals
[3]. This, for instance, is the case in the Nordic capitals,
which are already leaders in terms of sustainable mobil-
ity, each one with its own peculiarities: public transport
(Stockholm), cycling (Copenhagen), light-duty EVs (Oslo)
and EV buses (Helsinki) [4].
This chapter first sets out the situation in the current
global transport sector, highlighting the main challenges
related to its sustainable transition and reflecting on
which strategies should be put in practice to mitigate
the sector’s externalities. Then it describes future
outlooks for the global transport sector according to the
International Energy Agency (IEA) before concluding by
recommending key policies for decarbonizing transport.
Global challenges in transportation
Given the relevance of transport externalities, changing
the current transport paradigm is of major importance
to the tasks of mitigating climate change, alleviating air
pollution and enhancing energy security. However, sev-
eral elements suggest that finding a sustainable transi-
tion for the transport sector is particularly challenging.
Despite the wide set of policy measures implemented
globally to reduce transportation carbon intensity and
reliance on oil, CO
emissions from the transport sector
increased by about 2% a year from 2010 to 2016 [5].
The continued growth in carbon emissions from the
transport sector is attributable to the fact that the
growth in transport activity resulting from increasing
populations, gross domestic product (GDP) and income
levels is proceeding at a faster pace than improvements
to the performance of transport technologies. Emissions
from the aviation and maritime sectors continue to grow,
suggesting that more cooperative international efforts
are needed to reverse the trend. At the same time,
emissions from all modes of road transport (cars, buses,
trucks and two-wheelers) have also kept on rising, attrib-
utable in part to the preference of car buyers for bigger
and heavier vehicles worldwide [6]. In Europe, this trend
sums up to decreasing sales of diesel cars, which have
lower CO
emissions than gasoline cars, but are worse
in emitting pollutants. Overall these developments are
outweighing the positive effects of rising sales of hybrid
and electric cars and in 2018 led to the average fuel
economy improvements of light-duty vehicles slowing
down to 1.4% per year, the lowest rate since 2005 [6].
Global outlook for the transport sector in energy scenarios – Page 21
DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
Chapter 3
Global outlook for the transport
sector in energy scenarios
Raffaele Salvucci, DTU Management
Jacopo Tattini, International Energy Agency
should evolve to be in line with the Paris Agreement, in
parallel with achieving a drastic reduction in air pollution
and broader energy access.
Transport in the IEA’s New Policies Scenario
Under the NPS, transport energy consumption growth
is contained at around 30% despite the strong increase
in mobility demand (Figure 3), passing 150 EJ in 2040,
up from about 120 EJ today. Oil is projected to account
for less than half of the growth in transport energy
consumption by 2040. Electricity consumption grows
around five-fold, and biofuels and gas three-fold each by
2040 compared to 2017. However, transport continues
to rely significantly on oil, which in 2040 will account for
82% of total energy consumption, while transport CO
emissions will increase by 20% compared to today.
Oil consumption from cars peaks in the 2020s due to
the assumed improvements in fuel efficiency and the
increased reliance on biofuels and electricity. On the
other hand, trucks, aircraft and ships will contribute
to the overall rise in global oil demand [1]. Emerging
economies are expected to drive the increase in oil
consumption due to their expected slower deployments
of efficiency measures and low-carbon fuels compared
to OECD countries.
With an additional forty million vehicles per year,
the global car fleet in 2040 will have grown by 80%
compared to today, reaching two billion cars. China and
India will be responsible for 60% of this growth. Under
the NPS, the average efficiency of a gasoline car in
2040 reaches 6.6L/100 km (vs 9.9L/100 km of today).
Energy-efficiency measures and the uptake of EVs will
limit the increase in energy use from the car stock to
less than 20% despite the 80% increase in the global
car fleet [1]. In 2040, around 300 million electric cars,
740 million electric bikes, scooters and rickshaws, 30
million electric trucks and 4 million electric buses will
be deployed under the NPS [1]. China keeps its leading
role in the electric mobility sector, accounting for 40% of
electric cars and 60% of electric buses in the world.
Overall, road transport remains a major consumer of oil
up to 2040 under the NPS, accounting for an increase of
around 8 EJ with respect to 2017. Stringent fuel-econ-
omy and emissions standards, improvements in engines,
hybridization and fuel switching to biofuels and natural
gas are key measures to avoid the expected additional
40 EJ of oil demand, while introducing EVs avoids 10 EJ.
The most significant mitigation measures are the im-
provements in vehicle and logistical efficiencies, which
alone avoid 32 EJ of additional oil demand [1].
Trucks are the main responsible for the growing oil
demand in the road sector (8 EJ), due to an increase in
road freight activity of 3.1% per year. Energy savings in
trucks, which avoid around 11 EJ of additional demand
growth, come from both improvements in logistics, lead-
ing to increased load per vehicle, and engine enhance-
ments [1]. Under the NPS, the average efficiency of a
new heavy-duty truck in 2040 will have improved by
15% compared to today. The consumption of alternative
fuels in trucks displaces more than 4 EJ of oil demand in
2040, while electric trucks have a lower impact (around
1.3 EJ).
In the aviation sector, the increase in activity largely
offsets energy efficiency and biofuels, resulting in an
overall increase of oil demand of 50%, reaching 21 EJ in
2040. In the shipping sector, the IMO regulation limiting
the sulphur content of marine fuels [18] pushes away
Proper land-use planning that takes into account
integrating the transport sector with the overall urban
environment can foster the utilization of active modes
of transport such as ‘bike and walk’ and increase public
transport ridership. Transit-oriented development should
be the urban paradigm for fast-growing cities, facilitat-
ing access to public transport and shorter trips.
Figure 1 shows that rail can play an important role in
limiting both energy consumption and the environmental
impacts of transport. Enhancing the role of rail in the
overall transport system relies on three pillars [11]:
Minimizing the cost of transport services by max-
imizing use of the rail network, to be achieved by
integrating rail with the different mobility options,
improving interoperability and widely adopting
digital technologies.
Maximizing revenues from rail systems, not by in-
creasing tariffs, but by capitalizing on the capacity
of railways stations to aggregate passengers, e.g.
developing commercial activities in stations and
capturing the increase in residential property values
in the proximity of stations.
Reflecting in the price of the transport modes
the actual environmental impacts generated, e.g.
through congestion charging, fuel taxes, vehicle
registration taxes or road pricing.
The measures included in the category Improve are those
that aim at reducing the energy intensity of transport by
deploying low- and zero-emissions vehicles and replacing
carbon-intense fuels with low-carbon fuels. The size of
the global electric vehicles fleet is increasing rapidly.
The stock of electric cars at the end of 2018 reached 5.1
million globally [13], 45% of which was located in China
(see Figure 2). Sales of electric cars were about 2 million
in 2018, up 68% compared to 2017 and achieving a 2.7%
sales share globally.
While China leads the electric mobility sector in absolute
numbers, Norway and Iceland have the highest sales
shares, reaching 46% and 11% respectively in 2018.
Cities that are experiencing a particular surge of EVs
include Shenzhen (China), whose bus fleet has been
completely electrified, and Oslo (Norway), where 55% of
car sales were electric last year.
Global biofuel production in 2018 grew by 7% with
respect to the previous year, reaching about 3.7 EJ (152
billion litres). The IEA expects such production to grow
at 3% per year in the next five years [14]. Brazil is the
global leader in biofuel production and consumption,
reaching record levels of bio-diesel and ethanol produc-
tion in 2018. The consumption of biofuels in the United
States and Europe still occurs in the form of blended fuel
additives to fossil fuels at low percentages.
While an increasing portfolio of low-carbon technologies
is becoming available for short-distance inland trans-
port, the shipping and aviation sectors are still facing
a slow uptake of clean technologies and are proving to
be the most difficult to decarbonize. The low energy
density of batteries constitutes the main hurdle to the
electrification of aviation, long-distance road transport
and shipping. Currently, biofuels, synthetic fuels or
hydrogen seem more attractive low-carbon solutions
for these sub-sectors, as long as their production chains
follow sustainability criteria. The low-carbon transition
of the aviation sector is being encouraged through the
Carbon Offsetting and Reducing Scheme for Interna-
tional Aviation (CORSIA), the regulatory framework
that aims to stabilize GHG emissions from the aviation
sector by 2020 [15]. For the shipping sector, in 2018
the International Maritime Organization approved the
target of reducing its GHG emissions by 50% by 2050
with respect to 2008 levels [16]. However, the policy
measures needed to reach this target have not yet been
identified. The only binding regulatory framework is still
the EEDI, a fuel-efficiency standard mandating a mini-
mum improvement of energy efficiency for new ships
[17] and a policy imposing a cap of 0.5% on the sulphur
content of maritime fuels [18]. The latter policy is push-
ing ships to switch from burning heavy fuel oil (HFO) to
equipping themselves with scrubbers, maritime diesel,
biofuels, LNG and low-sulphur fuel oil [19]. Ammonia and
hydrogen are also being looked at with growing interest
for their potential to serve as low-carbon fuels in the
shipping sector and are expected to play a growing role
in addressing CO
and local pollutant emissions [20].
Global transport outlook
The future evolution of the global transport sector is an-
alysed here through the lens of the International Energy
Agency’s two key scenarios: the New Policies Scenario
(NPS) and the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS).
The NPS investigates how the global energy sector will
evolve in the light of officially declared policy measures
and regulatory frameworks, including government com-
mitments in the Nationally Determined Contributions
under the Paris Agreement, and taking into account
the development of known technologies [1]. The SDS
describes how the future energy and transport system
Large cars Air Ca rs Buses a nd
2- and 3-
MJ / pas senger-km
Medium trucks Heavy trucks Rail Shipping
MJ / tonne-km
Figure 1. Comparison of the energy intensities of different modes of transport (passenger and freight)
Notes: The boxes indicate the range of average energy intensity in various countries, while the horizontal lines represent the
world averages. Source: [11].
Page 22 – Global outlook for the transport sector in energy scenarios Global outlook for the transport sector in energy scenarios – Page 23
DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
more efficient than today. A quarter of buses become
electric by 2040, and 20% of the fuel consumed by
trucks is low or zero carbon fuel. Overall, road transport
energy consumption decreases by more than 38 EJ com-
pared to today. Oil demand in aviation drops by 1.7 EJ,
thanks to enhanced efficiency measures and an increas-
ing penetration of biofuels, which in 2040 accounts for
2.8 EJ. Moreover, hydrogen-based fuels start to appear
progressively in the shipping sector [1].
Power generation in the SDS is almost entirely decar-
bonized. Renewables are responsible for two-thirds of
electricity generation, nuclear for 13%, while coal power
plants, which are mostly equipped with carbon capture
utilization and storage devices, account for only 5% [1].
Under the SDS, energy-related CO
emissions peak in
2020 and then decrease by more than 45% in 2040
compared to today. Despite the strong reduction in
emissions, transport remains the largest emitter among
all sectors, followed by industry. However, global ener-
gy-related CO
emissions are consistent with a long-term
average increase in temperature of 1.7-1.8°C above
pre-industrial levels, just within the limits laid down
in the Paris Agreement. Moreover, NO
emissions from
transportation fall by 50% due to fuel switching and pol-
lution control measures, while almost 25% of particulate
emissions come from sources unrelated to combustion,
such as brake and tyre abrasion [1].
The SDS shows that the large adoption of the avoid/
shift/improve decarbonization strategy in transport can
reduce energy consumption and put transport emissions
on track for being aligned with the Paris Agreement’s
objectives. However, the transition should be put in
motion within the next decade so as to avoid the need
for stricter and more costly measures at a later stage.
The main mitigation levers include regulatory mea-
sures to reduce the frequency, distance and reliance on
energy-intensive modes of transport, a shift towards
more efficient modes of transport and the adoption
of energy-efficient technologies for vehicles and fuel
production. In order to reach the SDS goals, progress in
transport efficiency must double compared to the aver-
age rate seen since 2000.
Conclusions and recommendations
Transport is responsible for several externalities and
today accounts for about one-third of energy-related CO
emissions. The future development of the transport sec-
tor envisioned in the IEA’s New Policies Scenario (NPS)
highlights that so far the officially declared policies and
regulatory framework are not sufficient to steer energy
consumption and CO
emissions towards a decreasing
trend, and that actually CO
emissions are projected to
continue growing [1]. Clearly, the NPS is not in line with
a trajectory of CO
emissions that would enable the Paris
Agreement to be achieved. This calls for the deployment
of a more ambitious set of policy measures as envi-
sioned in the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS).
high-sulphur fuel oil, which will account for only for 25%
of fuel use in 2040 (all used with scrubbers). On the
other hand, the share of low-sulphur fuel oil and marine
gasoil increases to 60%, while liquefied natural gas
(LNG) grows its market share moderately [1].
The use of renewables in the overall transport sector
increases gradually, reaching 8% of the fuel mix in
2040, more than double today’s share (3.5%). Thanks
to more efficient combustion engines, biofuels deliver
more useful energy, while the contribution of renewable
electricity increases as the deployment of EVs rises
and the growth in electricity generation from renew-
ables expands. Renewable-based electricity in 2040
accounts for 25% of renewable energy use in transport
compared with today’s 10%. China accounts for 40% of
such growth, followed by the European Union (25%),
India and the United States (<10% each) [1]. The use of
biofuels increases worldwide at a rate of 5% each year
until 2025, and of 3.5% between 2025 and 2040 as the
use of gasoline and diesel levels off. This is particularly
true for the European Union, where transport biofuel
consumption plateaus after 2030 [1].
Under the NPS, total energy-related CO
emissions rise
by 10% in 2040 compared to 2017 levels. Most of this
growth comes from gas and oil, while coal remains the
largest source of emissions in 2040. CO
emissions from
the transport sector grow to 9.6 Gt in 2040, 20% more
than today. In the road transport sector, EV uptake and
improvements in vehicles and logistical efficiencies limit
the growth in CO
emissions to 15%, while for other
sub-sectors such growth reaches 40%. On the other
hand, emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO
), nitrogen oxides
) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) decline [1].
The increase in energy-related CO
emissions under the
NPS, together with non-energy-related GHG missions
coming from other sectors, would lead to a global
temperature rise of 2.7°C by 2100, not in line with the
Paris Agreement, which aims at a 1.5-2°C maximum rise
[10]. The energy-related CO
emissions resulting from
the NPS’s assumptions are within the levels declared by
countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions. Within
this scenario, countries result to be on track to deliver
what they promised, but these commitments are far
from being sufficient to limit the rise in average global
temperature in line with the Paris Agreement.
Steering transport towards a
sustainable transition
Under the SDS, final energy consumption from transport
peaks in 2025 and then gradually reduces despite the
increase in mobility demand. Electricity plays a larger
role than in the NPS: its consumption in transport grows
by 11% yearly on average, mainly driven by the strong
uptake of EVs, which in 2040 accounts for more than
900 million cars. The combination of electrification and
strong improvements to ICE fuel economy contributes
to reducing oil demand in 2040 by approximately 40%
compared to 2018. The SDS incorporates a shift to more
efficient transport modes, such as from cars to public
transport and non-motorized modes and avoid measures,
involving urban design and reductions of trip frequen-
cies and distances. Together, these measures facilitate
the sustainable transition of the transport sector,
accounting for a 3% decrease in transport CO
by 2040 [1].
Oil demand peaks in almost all countries before 2030,
except for India and sub-Saharan Africa, which reach
their peaks later. Half of the global car fleet will be elec-
tric in 2040, while gasoline and diesel cars will be 40%
Gt CO₂
N ew Policies Scenario
CO₂ emissions
Gt CO₂
Sustainable Developm ent Scenario
Figure 3. Final energy demand and CO2 emissions from transport by scenario, 2017-2040
Notes: The values for 2020 are obtained from linear interpolation between 2017 and 2020. Source: [1].
2013 201 4 2015 201 6 2017 201 8
Ot hers
United States
Electric car stock (millions)
Figure 2. Passenger electric car stock in main markets, 2013-2018
Source: [13].
Page 24 – Global outlook for the transport sector in energy scenarios Global outlook for the transport sector in energy scenarios – Page 25
DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
1. International Energy Agency (IEA). World Energy Outlook 2018. Paris, France: IEA Publications; 2018.
2. International Energy Agency (IEA). Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 - Towards Sustainable Urban Energy
Systems [Internet]. Paris, France: IEA Publications; 2016. Available from:
3. Center McKinsey For Business And Environment, C40. Focused acceleration: A strategic approach to climate action in cities to
2030 [Internet]. 2017. Available from:
4. International Energy Agency (IEA), Nordic Energy Research (NER). Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives 2016 [Internet].
Energy Technology Policy Division. Paris, France. Oslo, Norway: IEA; 2016. 269 p. Available from:
5. International Energy Agency (IEA). CO2 Emissions Statistics [Internet]. Available from:
co2emissions/ [accessed April 2019].
6. International Energy Agency (IEA), International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). Fuel Economy in Major Car Markets:
Technology and Policy Drivers 2005-2017 [Internet]. Paris, France: IEA Publications; 2019. Available from: https://webstore.iea.
7. International Energy Agency (IEA), Nordic Energy Research (NER). Nordic EV Outlook 2018 - Insights from leaders in electric
mobility. Paris, France: IEA Publications; 2018.
8. International Energy Agency (IEA). The Future of Trucks: Implications for energy and the environment. Paris, France: IEA
Publications; 2017.
9. International Energy Agency (IEA). Digitalization & Energy [Internet]. Paris, France: IEA Publications; 2017. Available from:
10. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The Paris Agreement [Internet]. Available from: https:// [accessed April 2019].
11. International Energy Agency (IEA). The Future of Rail: Opportunities for energy and the environment. Paris, France: IEA
Publications; 2019.
12. International Transport Forum (ITF). ITF Transport Outlook 2017 [Internet]. Paris, France: OECD; 2017. (ITF Transport Outlook).
Available from:
13. International Energy Agency (IEA). Global EV Outlook 2019: Scaling-up the transition to electric mobility. Paris, France: IEA
Publications; 2019.
14. International Energy Agency (IEA). Renewables 2018: Analysis and Forecasts to 2023. Paris, France: IEA Publications; 2018.
15. International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)
[Internet]. 2019. Available from: [accessed April
16. International Maritime Organization (IMO). UN body adopts climate change strategy for shipping [Internet]. Available from: [accessed April 2019].
17. International Maritime Organization (IMO). Energy Efficiency Measures [Internet]. Available from:
OurWork/Environment/PollutionPrevention/AirPollution/Pages/Technical-and-Operational-Measures.aspx [accessed April
18. International Maritime Organization (IMO). Sulphur 2020: cutting sulphur oxide emissions [Internet]. Available from: http:// [accessed April 2019].
19. International Energy Agency (IEA). Oil Market Report 2018. Paris, France: IEA Publications; 2018.
20. International Energy Agency (IEA). The Future of Hydrogen: seizing today’s opportunities. Paris, France: IEA Publications; 2019.
21. International Energy Agency (IEA). Tracking Clean Energy Progress: Transport [Internet]. Available from:
tcep/transport/ [accessed April 2019].
The strategy of putting the transport sector on track to
meet the Paris Agreement rests on the following three
Managing travel demand to limit the frequency and
distance of trips (Avoid measures)
Promoting low-carbon modes in order to spur a shift
from private modes of transport and aviation (the
most carbon-intense ones) to public transport and
non-motorized modes (Shift measures)
Rapidly scale up the offer and facilitate the
adoption of efficient transport technologies, and
increasing the availability of low-carbon fuels (Im-
prove measures)
A comprehensive policy portfolio is recommended for
implementation at several jurisdictional levels, interna-
tional, national, subnational and urban. Fiscal policies
can steer the decisions of transport users to be more in
line with the overarching decarbonization targets. First
of all, incentives for fossil fuels should be rapidly phased
out and fuel taxes should incorporate the externalities
incurred by consuming them. These measures would
enhance the attractiveness of efficient and low-carbon
vehicles and potentially lead to more efficient driving,
to shifts towards low-carbon modes or to not taking
trips at all [21]. Differentiated vehicle purchase taxes
that reflect the environmental performances of different
vehicles in respect of both CO
and pollutant emissions
are an important mean of fostering consumers’ adoption
of energy-efficient and zero-emissions vehicles [7]. As
the vehicle fleet becomes progressively more electric
and the exchequer revenue from fuel taxes shrinks,
a possible solution for financing the maintenance of
transport infrastructure is the timely introduction of road
pricing [13].
Regulatory measures should be implemented in parallel
with fiscal levers to foster the supply and adoption of
low-carbon vehicles. Zero-emission vehicle mandates
such as those in place in ten states of the USA and
the New Energy Vehicle mandate in China have proved
effective in pushing original equipment manufacturers
(OEMs) to develop and offer an increasing number of
EV models [13]. Progressively tightening fuel economy
standards is also a useful policy in reducing specific
(per kilometre) vehicle emissions [6]. As new technol-
ogies and new fuels gain market shares, it is important
to adopt broader sets of regulatory policies that do
not consider just tailpipe emissions, but also upstream
emissions related to fuel production and distribution
(the ‘well-to-wheel’ perspective). Eventually, the regu-
latory framework can even extend beyond the vehicle
operation phase, encompassing also emissions related to
vehicle manufacturing and material extraction [13;21].
Most important, it is essential to ensure that policy pack-
ages are consistent with climate pledges. While these
recommendations are generally valid when it comes
to spurring the sustainable transition of the transport
sector, the exact policy package should be evaluated
for each case by taking the national, regional and urban
contexts into account.
Concerning specific transport sub-sectors, in road
transport, policies targeting heavy-duty vehicles still lag
behind those targeting light-duty vehicles. Indeed, some
regions (e.g. the European Union and the United States)
have adopted fuel economy standards covering about
half of the total heavy-duty market. However, such
measures are still lacking in those countries where the
activity from heavy-duty vehicles is expected to grow
the most in the next decades [21]; rapid actions from
these governments are therefore necessary. In aviation,
international measures, such as progressively stringent
carbon-pricing and efficiency standards, represent an
action pivotal to containing the increase in emissions
due to the rapid growth in activity [21]. In international
shipping, the IMO has set the goal of reducing GHG
emissions by 50% by 2050 compared with a 2008 base-
line. However, because of the large price gap between
conventional and sustainable technologies, mitigation
measures stimulating strong efficiency enhancements
and timely fuel-switching are crucial to achieving this
goal. Lastly, stronger policy support and innovation to
reduce the costs of low-carbon fuels, such as biofuels,
are required for their widespread adoption, especially in
aviation and maritime transport [21].
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DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
transport (NMT) modes (mostly walking) [21;22]. From
2007 to 2012 daily trips increased by 15%, travel by
motorized mode by 18%, by non-motorized modes by
8%, and by public transport by 16%. During the same
period, the population grew by 2%, jobs grew by 8% and
the motorization rate increased from 184 to 212 private
cars per 1000 inhabitants. Thus the growth rates of mo-
tor vehicles were much higher in this period compared to
the growth in population and jobs [20]. The density of
people living in the São Paulo municipal area was 76.6
persons per hectare in 1996 in the metropolitan region
and 85.5 persons per hectare in 2011 [19;23].
China has encouraged urbanization, and cities have
been its main centres of economic growth. The country’s
economic growth has been rapid. Between 1978 and
2013, disposable per-capita income in China increased
fifty-fold. Beijing, the capital city, has also undergone
significant changes. Its population has increased from
8.1 million in 2012 to 13.5 million today [19]. However,
the density has fallen from 123 persons per hectare in
1995 to 109 in 2015, mainly due to the development of
the city’s outer metropolitan area, though its inner and
central areas continued to increase in density [24]. The
fall in density because of the city’s expansion into outer
areas and its increased per-capita incomes has increased
Rapid urbanization and growing per capita incomes in
emerging economies are taking millions out of poverty
and increasing the demand for mobility. Increasing
mobility has also increased the demand for motorized
modes of transport, resulting in increased energy
consumption and CO
emissions. Emerging economies
are characterized by relatively faster economic growth,
relatively younger populations, rapid urbanization, more
rapid urban growth and higher interest rates for projects
compared to developed countries. Collectively these
countries will play an important role in determining
future trends in mobility.
For this study, we have chosen to compare four coun-
tries – Brazil, China, India, and South Africa – by compar-
ing drivers of mobility in four megacities: São Paulo,
Beijing, Delhi, and Cape Town. Between them, they cover
three continents and 40% of the world population. The
four countries are also quite diverse in terms of their
demographic and economic characteristics and therefore
have very different per capita energy and CO
for the transport sector (Table 1).
These four economies, especially China, have large
and growing markets for vehicles: for instance, 38%
of light-duty vehicle sales in 2017 were in these four
countries (Table 2). India has very low ownership of
LDVs, and therefore, there is significant potential for
vehicle growth here. China has also shown leadership in
electric vehicles and accounted for 50% of global sales
of electric cars in 2017.
Drivers of mobility in cities
The fundamental driver of the movement of people
through space is that it is rarely undertaken for its own
sake, but to achieve some objective at the destination
that is separated in space from the origin. This physical
movement costs money and takes time, both of which
are limited; therefore, people like to minimize both time
and money to increase their overall welfare. Trans-
port planning has traditionally included incomes, jobs,
population densities, city design, public transportation
provision, car ownership and road infrastructure as
essential drivers of mobility [8]. This section discusses
these trends, shows how they have impacted urban
mobility and compares them across our four important
cities in emerging economies. Based on the published
literature, the starting hypothesis is that mobility (espe-
cially personal mobility in private vehicles): (a) is linked
to per-capita incomes [9-12], but maybe changing as
cities adopt new priorities over the value of car use [16];
(b) is inversely related to density [13]; (c) can be reduced
through the better design and increasing diversity of
land use [14]; and (d) will increase if road space is in-
creased as the major priority in managing such mobility
[15;16]. Many developed cities, mostly in Europe, have
reduced their dependence on cars through a package
of complementary transport and land-use policies that
have increased both the direct costs (vehicle registration
taxes, green taxes) and indirect costs (slower speeds,
less parking, congestion) of car use while improving the
safety, convenience and feasibility of walking, cycling
and public transport [17]. This apparent peak in car use
in most developed and some emerging cities has been
documented [18] and raises the question of whether
fast-developing cities are also likely to follow suit soon.
This chapter will provide some basis for assessing this
Brazil is the most urbanized country of the four, with the
highest per-capita incomes and highest motor vehicle
ownership (Table 1). Over the last decade, 158 cars
were owned per 1000 people in Brazil in 2007, rising
to 187 in 2015 [2], indicating slow growth in motor
vehicle ownership. São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil,
where in 2007, of the total number of trips made in the
metropolitan region, 27.4% were by private automobile
(mostly car), 41.5% were made using public transport
(mostly bus) and 31.2 % were made using non-motorized
Table 1. Socio-demographic characteristics of China, India, Brazil and South Africa
Indicator China India Brazil South Africa
Population in 2000 (Millions)
1,270 1,053 176 45
Population in 2015 (Millions)
1,397 1,309 206 55
% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for Energy 2000-15 0.6% 1.5% 1.1% 1.4%
   
Share of Urban Population (2015)
55.5% 32.8% 85.8% 64.8%
GDP per capita PPP 2015 (constant international 2011 $)
13,319 5,748 14,700 12,378
   
Transport Energy 2000 (Mtoe)
90 32 47 12
Transport Energy 2015 (Mtoe)
300 85 84 18
% CAGR Energy 2000-15 8.4% 6.8% 3.9% 2.7%
   
Transport CO
Emissions 2015 (Million tCO
968 265 195 54
   
Per Capita Energy Intensity transport 2015 (kgoe/person) 215 65 408 326
Per Capita CO
Emissions transport 2015 (kgCO2/person) 693 202 949 977
Data Source: 1. [1]; 2. [2]; 3. [3]; 4. [4]
Table 2. LDV Market Overview for China, India, Brazil and South Africa
Country Passenger
Cars per
1000 in
Vehicle sales
in 2017
% of Global
Average fuel
in 2017 (liter
of gasoline
Avg engine
power in
2017 (Kw)
vehicle vales
in 2017
% of Global Market
Share of
China 102 25,565 31% 7.6 108 579.0 50% 2.3%
India 23 3,424 4% 5.6 62 2.0 0% 0.1%
Brazil 187 2,167 3% 7.6 86 0.4 0% 0.0%
South Africa 120 526 1% 7.4 97 0.2 0% 0.0%
World 83,500 1148.7
Source : 1. [5]; 2. [6]; 3. [7]
Page 28 – Mobility in cities in emerging economies: trends and drivers Mobility in cities in emerging economies: trends and drivers – Page 29
DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
Chapter 4
Mobility in cities in emerging
economies: trends and drivers
Subash Dhar and Talat Munshi, UNEP DTU Partnership
Peter Newman and Yuan Gao, Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute, Curtin University
the reliance on car travel in Beijing. The number of cars
per 1000 persons in the city increased more than five
times, from 42.9 in 1995 to 230.9 in 2012. The mode
share in the total number of trips has also changed dra-
matically: the share of non-motorized trips fell drastically
from 42.6% in 1995 to 13.9% in 2012, whereas the
share of both public and motorized private modes in-
creased from 30.7% to 44.0% and from 26.7% to 42.1%
respectively. More recent trends for Beijing are set out in
Box 1, which suggests that motorization-based mobility
in emerging cities can be curbed but will require a range
of infrastructural and policy changes to increase the
relative speed and cost of transit and NMT.
India has adopted a policy of slow urbanization while
encouraging economic growth. Despite comparatively
low levels of urbanization (32.8%), India has the sec-
ond-largest urban population in the world at 377 million.
Per-capita incomes in PPP terms have grown rapidly
since 2000, from US $2130 to US $5,748 in 2015 [25].
However, the country’s income levels are still below
those of Brazil, China and South Africa. In Indian cities
a significant share of travel is by non-motorized modes,
that is walking and bicycling (around 40%), about 15%
use public transport, and 36% use private transport, of
which 20% is by motorcycle. Land use in cities in India
has been characterized as being high density, low rise
and mixed [26;27]. In Delhi, the number of vehicles per
1000 persons increased from 125 in 2001 to 441 in
2011. In 2008, 39% of all trips in Delhi were made using
NMT modes (35% by walking), 38% by public transport
(31% by metro/bus and the rest by auto-rickshaw and
cycle-rickshaw), and 13% trips were made using private
motorized modes of transport (9% by car). Delhi’s
metro has grown rapidly since this period [28;29]. The
population density in Delhi was 93 persons per hectare,
increasing to 112 persons per hectare in 2011.
South Africa is still recovering from its past of racial
segregation and anti-urbanization policies. About 65%
of the population of South Africa now lives in urban
areas, and the rate has grown steadily at around 2.6%.
Per capita GDP in South Africa increased from US $3693
in 1995 to US $6151 in 2017, or approximately doubled.
The number of cars per 1000 persons grew from 108
in 2007 to 120 in 2015. Of the total number of trips,
37.7% were made using cars, 25.4% by walking and
34.2 by public transport (13% train, 7% bus, 14.2% taxi).
For commuting trips, cars are used for around 46% of
use, a share that remained mostly constant from 1992
till 2013. There was a significant decline in the use of
trains and increased use of buses from 1992 till 2013.
This may change with new investments like the Gauteng
Table 3. Trends in Mobility Drivers across São Paulo, New Delhi, Beijing and Cape Town
Cities Year Population
(x 1000)
Per Capita GDP
(USD 1995 rates)
São Paulo
1996 15,913 5,319 76.6
2017 21,136 13,256
CAGR 1.4% 4.4% 0.0%
New Delhi
1995 11,635 1,264
2017 15,906 6,646 112.9
CAGR 1.4% 10.9% 2.2%
1995 8,355 1,829 123.1
2017 19,228 11,463
CAGR 3.9% 18.2% 0.5%
Cape Town
1995 2,446 4,411 11.8
2017 4,312 4,664 15.3
CAGR 2.6% 0.5% 1.3%
Where a=1991, b=2001, c=2011, d=2015; Source [19-21]
Figure 1. Trends in mobility
For Delhi (2001) and Cape Town (1992) the NMT share has been interpolated, and other mode shares are apportioned
accordingly. Source: [19-21]
Box 1. Beijing: A Case Study in Peak Car Use in Emerging Economies
The decline in car use per capita across most developed cities in the past decade has been attributed to a range
of factors (15) but has been generally seen as not applicable to emerging economies, as their disposable incomes
across the average citizen are still much lower. However, Beijing achieved peak car use in 2010 (Figure B1) at a
per-capita income level of around 11,000 USD.
Figure B1. Transitions in modal shares, metro length and freeways in Beijing
The achievement of peak car use in Beijing is the consequence of deliberate policy and infrastructure choices.
The peaking of car use coincides with a change in priorities for spending on infrastructure, with a switch from
freeway spending to transit systems (metros). Similar trends are also witnessed for Shanghai [28].
The peaking of car use in Chinese cities, besides policies on the supply side that augment transit capacity, is also
the result of demand-side measures that reduce the availability, convenience and flexibility of cars: e.g., there
are restrictions on the purchase of cars and a ban on driving fossil-fuelled cars inside the city [23].
Table 3. Trends in Mobility Drivers across São Paulo, New Delhi, Beijing and Cape Town
Population (x 1000)
Per Capita GDP
(USD 1995 rates)
São Paulo
Where a=1991, b=2001, c=2011, d=2015; Source [19-21]
Figure 1. Trends in mobility
For Delhi (2001) and Cape Town (1992) the NMT share has been interpolated, and other mode shares are apportioned
accordingly. Source: [19-21]
1996 2007 2012 1994 2001 2008 1995 2000 2014 1992 2003 2013
Sau Paulo New Delhi Beijing Cape Town
Private Motorized Vehicle 29,2 27,1 28,2 17,0 18,5 23,2 24,3 23,2 31,5 29,4 37,1 37,7
Non-Motorized Transport 25,2 28,7 28,7 36,3 36,3 39,1 47,9 38,5 12,6 38,8 32,3 25,8
Public Transport 45,6 41,7 43,0 44,2 40,2 37,7 27,8 35,3 54,2 31,8 28,5 34,2
Mode Share
The four cities compared here are from different regions and are very different in the manner in which they
have experienced physical and economic growth. There is a distinctly high, but mostly declining share of non-
motorized transport in cities where population densities have fallen. The decrease in densities and increase in
per-capita incomes in Beijing have resulted in reduced NMT trips, whereas an increase in density in Delhi with
the increase in incomes has resulted in a stable share of NMT modes. São Paulo has most of its employment
heavily concentrated in the central areas, and low-income residents have settled in the peripheries. Thus a
significant proportion of the population still walks and uses public transport. Cape Town has traditionally been
a car-based economy; therefore, the share of car trips remains high, but as a large portion of the population is
still poor, it also has a significant number of walking trips. Mode share of private motorized vehicles (car / 2
wheelers) has shown increasing trends except for São Paulo. However, while in Beijing (see Box 1) the mode
share of cars has peaked, given the rates at which these cities are growing (Table 3) overall use is still
increasing. Moreover, the shift in modal shares is mainly from the NMT mode to public transport modes,
which is also not desired from the perspective of environmental performance. Thus there is a need to use
instruments that maintain the share of NMT modes and that encourage shifts from motorized modes towards
public transport in these cities.
City of the Future: technology and planning
Mobility in emerging economies is happening in a different technological context compared to developed
countries. Car ownership is lower than in developed countries, and substantial investments must be made in
Box 1. Beijing: A Case Study in Peak Car Use in Emerging Economies
The decline in car use per capita across most developed cities in the past decade has been attributed to a
range of factors (15) but has been generally seen as not applicable to emerging economies, as their
disposable incomes across the average citizen are still much lower. However, Beijing achieved peak car use
in 2010 (Figure B1) at a per-capita income level of around 11,000 USD.
Figure B1. Transitions in modal shares, metro length and freeways in Beijing
The achievement of peak car use in Beijing is the consequence of deliberate policy and infrastructure choices.
The peaking of car use coincides with a change in priorities for spending on infrastructure, with a switch from
freeway spending to transit systems (metros). Similar trends are also witnessed for Shanghai [28].
The peaking of car use in Chinese cities, besides policies on the supply side that augment transit capacity, is
also the result of demand-side measures that reduce the availability, convenience and flexibility of cars: e.g.,
there are restrictions on the purchase of cars and a ban on driving fossil-fuelled cars inside the city [23].
Length per 10,000 person
Metro Freeway length
Modal Share (%)
Mode Share
Transit Passenger Cars
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DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
like trackless trams may change this [32]. Increasing
ridership by improving networks and systems that can
save time and money are likely to improve the financial
viability and share of public transport.
Improving access to the metro system is one way of
improving access to transport and increasing metro rid-
ership. Smart mobility solutions make it possible to com-
bine the flexibility of personal modes of transport with
the high capacities offered by mass transit (see Chapter
7). One communally owned driverless vehicles can
replace eight or more private vehicles if they are used to
provide feeder services to rail and other transit systems
[33]. They also can provide on-demand travel at reduced
operating costs compared to a conventional bus system.
When combined with transit, autonomous vehicles have
the potential to provide a significant transformation in
current commuting patterns (Figure 3).
Shared and on-demand mobility
More and more people are using shared and on-demand
mobility (see Chapter 7 for examples), especially in
younger generations. The concept of shared mobility is
attractive to cities that are grappling with the challenges
of reducing congestion and pollution while at the same
time providing connectivity to people residing in outly-
ing areas of the city (34). Shared mobility can also result
in reductions of GHG emissions, though there is some
disagreement about the reductions achieved. A life-cy-
cle analysis of individuals participating in car-sharing
showed reductions of between 33% and 70% (35). How-
1 Using big data available from Didi Chuxing [37]
ever, Columbel et al. (15) argue that CO2 reductions due
to ride-sharing are overstated by almost 66% since they
ignore the rebound effects due to the lower generalized
costs of travel. Evidence from the US shows that Uber
(and potentially driverless vehicles) are increasing rather
than decreasing vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT), thus
causing greater congestion [36]. If shared mobility and
on-demand services are integrated with transit, then the
outcomes are likely to be much better.
China and India are witnessing large-scale transforma-
tions towards on-demand transportation, and together
they accounted for three-fourths of the market for
on-demand transportation in 2016 [37]. In China, shared
mobility has emerged in a big way, and the government
recognizes ride-sharing as a mode of public transpor-
tation. The ride-sharing and on-demand transportation
businesses are led by a local company, Didi Chuxing,
which provides these services in around four hundred
cities in China [38]. In Beijing, use data from Didi Chux-
ing showed annual energy savings made by ride-sharing
of approximately 26.6 thousand toe per one million
trips.1 Ride-sharing was more prevalent within the
denser areas of the city than less dense outskirts of the
city and was for medium to longer trips [39].
In India, on-demand transportation is only provided by
commercial taxis, since private vehicle owners are not
legally permitted to offer such services. Ola is a home-
grown on-demand transportation solutions provider, but
Uber dominates the market. The growth of Ola and Uber
The four cities compared here are from different regions
and are very different in the manner in which they have
experienced physical and economic growth. There is a
distinctly high, but mostly declining share of non-motor-
ized transport in cities where population densities have
fallen. The decrease in densities and increase in per-cap-
ita incomes in Beijing have resulted in reduced NMT
trips, whereas an increase in density in Delhi with the
increase in incomes has resulted in a stable share of NMT
modes. São Paulo has most of its employment heavily
concentrated in the central areas, and low-income resi-
dents have settled in the peripheries. Thus a significant
proportion of the population still walks and uses public
transport. Cape Town has traditionally been a car-based
economy; therefore, the share of car trips remains high,
but as a large portion of the population is still poor, it
also has a significant number of walking trips. Mode
share of private motorized vehicles (car / 2 wheelers) has
shown increasing trends except for São Paulo. However,
while in Beijing (see Box 1) the mode share of cars has
peaked, given the rates at which these cities are growing
(Table 3) overall use is still increasing. Moreover, the shift
in modal shares is mainly from the NMT mode to public
transport modes, which is also not desired from the per-
spective of environmental performance. Thus there is a
need to use instruments that maintain the share of NMT
modes and that encourage shifts from motorized modes
towards public transport in these cities.
City of the Future: technology and planning
Mobility in emerging economies is happening in a differ-
ent technological context compared to developed coun-
tries. Car ownership is lower than in developed countries,
and substantial investments must be made in developing
transport infrastructure and strengthening their public
transportation systems. A lot of new technologies are
available to foster smart mobility (see Chapter 7) that
were not available when developed countries made their
infrastructure investments. Cities in emerging economies
(especially Asia) are quite dense, and these improve
the business case for shared and on-demand mobility
solutions, as well as public transport solutions. Emerging
economies are using these technological innovations
both to shape the demand for mobility and to moderate
their impacts. We provide examples of how technology
has been used in the emerging economies of China,
India, South Africa and Brazil.
Emerging transit technologies and
associated land development
Large cities in developing countries are investing in
transit systems, mainly rail-based systems, to increase
the use of public transport within them. Millions of pas-
sengers use these systems in these cities: Table 4 gives
a snapshot of trips made in Beijing, Delhi, São Paulo
and Cape Town. Ridership within these transit systems
has increased with increases in length, but the overall
share of public transportation in trips has not increased
significantly over time in Delhi, São Paulo or Cape Town
(Figure 1). Beijing is the exception since it has high
metro ridership and also a high share of public transport
(see Box 1). Rail-based transit systems are expensive
to build and are not financially viable without govern-
ment subsidies (31). However, new transit technologies
Table 4. Transit Systems in Beijing, Delhi, São Paulo and Cape Town
City Mode Length (km) Ridership
per km
Beijing Metro Rail 636 10.5 16,509 
BRT 75 0.3 4,000
Delhi Metro Rail 373 2.5 6,702
São Paulo Metro Rail 370 4.5 12,162
BRT 130 3.3 25,385
Cape Town Metro Rail 460 0.62 1,348
BRT 31 0.06 1,935
Figure 2. Current versus future commuting [33]
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DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
ers, electric rickshaws and electric buses, and it has also
achieved a 2.2% market share for electric vehicles in cars
(Table 1). However, none of the other three countries
have achieved any significant presence of EVs (Figure 3).
In China, the diffusion of EVs has been encouraged by
policies (see Table 5) that have created an enabling en-
vironment for them and has resulted in their large-scale
diffusion. China has also aligned policies at the national
level with policies at the city level, one area where India
is lagging behind (Table 5).
The four emerging economies of China, India, Brazil
and South Africa differ in terms of their development
trajectories, choices for mobility and energy- and
climate-related outcomes. All the four cities we exam-
ined have historically been densely populated, and with
time, densities have further increased except for Beijing,
which has spread out further, though its central areas
remain very dense. Beijing witnessed a decline in mode
share for walking and cycling, whereas in other cities
mode shares for non-motorized transport have remained
stable, suggesting that cities in emerging economies
confirm the importance of density in ensuring walkable
and cyclable cities.
Private motorized transport shows growth with in-
creasing incomes, though Beijing already seems to be
witnessing a peak in-car use due to the rapid growth
of the metro and associated policies to restrain car use.
This is a positive development that can hopefully be
transferred to other cities in emerging economies so as
to make it possible to have peaking in-car use at a much
lower level of per-capita income. Increasing urbanization
in emerging economies means that the demand for cars
and two-wheelers will continue to grow unless better
options are provided in terms of time and cost. Cities
in India, which have much lower income levels, may be
some way off-peak car use.
Investments in transit infrastructure alone will not
ensure that the modal share of public transport will in-
crease, though this is a necessary condition if improved
travel times are to be achieved. The efficiency of transit
use shows very different results in these four cities.
Increasing the share of transit will require associated
improvements in access to these systems through better
infrastructure for cycling, walking and integrated ride
sharing and autonomous vehicle technologies.
has been rapid, and in recent years they have covered
more than 125 cities in India, thus becoming an import-
ant mode of transportation [40].
Green Vehicles
Vehicle efficiency has shown marked improvements
across all vehicle sizes, small, medium and large (6),
though the efficiency of vehicles in the same vehicle
size category varies across countries. These differences
are mainly due to different levels of the availability of
options such as turbocharging and power trains. Due
to this, for example, small cars in the EU are 15% more
efficient than small cars in Australia, the US or Canada.
Emerging economies are also seeing the increased pen-
etration of efficient power trains and turbocharging, but
their impacts on overall fuel economy are lower since
the average engine size in some cases has increased.
Thus, India and Brazil show increases in engine size
(Figure 3) due to an increasing share of medium-sized
cars. Cities in emerging economies also have experi-
enced declines in their air quality and have accordingly
improved their fuel-quality standards: thus, major cities
in China, India and Brazil are already at Euro V level (10
ppm of sulphur for petrol and diesel).
Declining battery costs and improvements in battery
technologies [41] are making it possible to build electric
vehicles that are equal or better in performance than
conventional vehicles, though the initial capital cost
is still a barrier to the uptake of these vehicles [42].
Therefore several developed countries have provided
incentives to overcome these barriers [7]. China has
been at the forefront of developing electric two-wheel-
Figure 3. Trends in fuel economy, fuel quality, engine size and electrification
Values are normalized on a scale of 0 to 10. A score of 10 is given for a fuel economy of 5 liter per 100 km, engine size of 1100 cc,
EV market share of 2.2%, FQ diesel of 10 ppm of sulphur and FQ petrol of 10 ppm of sulphur.
Source: for Fuel Economy and Engine Size data from [6] for Electrification from [7]
Table 5. Policy Environment in China and India for EVs
Policy Target China India
EV Related
EV Charging Infrastructure Charging Infra
Capital Subsidy for AC/DC Charging +
Subsidy per Kwh
In a few state EV policies incentives for EV
R&D Subsidy Vehicle
EV Purchase Subsidies Consumers Purchase incentives for vehicles based on
their driving range
Purchase incentives for vehicles based on
their battery size for two-wheelers, three-
wheelers, cars and buses
Restrictions in cities Consumers in
large cities
Restrictions on purchases of vehicles,
driving inside the city for fossil fuel cars
Incentives in cities Consumers in
large cities
Incentives such as access to bus lanes,
free parking, toll exemptions, insurance
exemption, local tax exmption
Other supportive policies
Fuel Economy Standards Vehicle
To continuously improve the average fuel
economy and achieve 5 lit/100 km by
To comply with average fuel economy
standards, which are related to the average
weight of vehicles sold
Emission Standards Vehicle
Tighten tailpipe emissions norms Tighten tailpipe emissions norms (Bharat
Stage 6 eq. to Euro 6 by 2020)
Source: For China [43] and India [authors]
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Societal factors
The mode share of cycling and walking varies consid-
erably between countries and regions. In Europe, the
Netherlands, followed by Denmark, are the leading
cycling countries, while eastern European countries, in
particular Romania and Bulgaria, are dominant in the use
of walking [28]. High shares of walking may often re-
flect economic disadvantage rather than preference and
go along with restrictions regarding alternative modes
of transport. However, higher shares of walking can also
simply reflect different cultures and traditions: for ex-
ample, in many western (e.g., UK, Ireland) and southern
European countries (e.g., Spain, Portugal), walking is
more common than cycling, while cycling may be popular
as a sport but not as a mode of transport (e.g., France).
Reasons for the high shares of cycling in Denmark and
the Netherlands can be found in the historical devel-
opment of these countries and their applied cycling
policies, which can be related to the important role
the bicycle played in the formation of their respective
national identities [22;29;30]. In both countries the bike
is considered a mainstream everyday mode of transport,
while people in low-cycling Western countries often
perceive it as strange or abnormal to cycle as a form
of travel [31;32]. In other regions (e.g. some eastern
European and Asian countries) it is common to cycle, but
in contrast to the car the bike and public transport are
associated with low social status [33–36]. With increas-
ing wealth, cycling levels are expected to fall in these
regions unless existing norms can be changed.
Studies of immigrants’ mobility support the relevance of
cultural norms for cycling, as immigrants to high-cycling
cultures cycle less than the general population [37–39],
while immigrants to low-cycling cultures cycle more [40].
Differences in travel patterns also persist when relevant
socio-demographic and infrastructural factors are con-
trolled for, indicating that cultural norms inherited from
one’s parents and/or one’s country of origin play a role
for whether or not cycling is adopted.
Environmental factors
In relation to environmental factors, urban densities
and accessibility are regarded as preconditions for the
shorter travel distances that favour cycling [41]. A
review of fourteen cities and countries found that for
walking, density and the number of parks show curvilin-
ear relationships, suggesting the prevalence of optimum
values at the higher end of the scale [42]. The same
study shows a positive relationship between land-use
mixes and both walking and cycling. The concepts of
walkability and bikeability summarize different micro-en-
vironmental features that describe areas as more or less
“walkable” or “bikeable” based on conditions of access,
environmental quality and infrastructure for pedestrians
and bicycles respectively [43–45]. Apart from actual
bikeability, perceived bikeability has also been related to
cycling [46]. Perceptions of the urban environment also
play a role in walking as a choice. It has been shown that
acceptable walking distances increase with accessible
additional destinations, such as shops, and with positive
sensory experience of urban environments; by contrast,
they decrease with hilliness [47;48].
Compared to large cities, small cities can offer good
opportunities for walking and cycling due to their
smaller geographical size and lighter motor traffic levels
[49]. Both Denmark and the Netherlands are relatively
dense, but their larger cities are of a size that still allows
many destinations to be reached by bike. Moreover, both
countries are relatively flat and have temperate climates
characterized by mild winters, circumstances that are
also supportive of cycling [38].
Research indicates that both the supply and format
of bicycle infrastructure have significant effects on
cycling [49–54]. A large part of the cycling literature
focuses on bicycle-riders’ specific preferences for bicycle
infrastructure. Due to a lack of observed data and of
bicycle infrastructure in places of interest, studies are
often based on stated preference data in relation to
preferences based on hypothetical scenarios presented
to respondents. For example, [55] used a stated pref-
erence survey design to estimate the value placed on
the different attributes of four alternative cycle routes
under consideration in Bradford, which had one of the
lowest cycling rates in the United Kingdom. The study
found that in this area cyclists valued safety more highly
than time savings. In [56], the authors imagine a future
with a more highly elaborated strategic cycle network in
Santiago de Chile in order to “reconsider the bicycle as
an alternative mode of transport”. Their results indicated
that, with such improvements, the bicycle as a mode of
transport could capture up to 10% of the trips and on
average approximately 5.8% compared to the current
1.6% mode split.
More recent studies of route choice behaviour for cy-
clists have provided more precise measures for cyclists’
preferences (e.g. number of turns, hilliness, land-use
types and type of infrastructure) based on actual trips
measured using GPS. Specifically, [57] found that
cyclists in Portland, Oregon, USA, put a relatively high
Active modes of transport, most importantly walking
and cycling, have many advantages compared to other
modes for both the individual and society. The bene-
fits for the individual include improved health through
increased physical activity, such as lower cardiovascular
risk [1–4] and the lower risks of obesity [4–6], type 2 dia-
betes [7] and psychological stress [8]. It has been shown
that the health benefits of the use of active transport
modes clearly outweigh the potential risks from greater
exposure to air pollution and traffic accidents [9;10].
The individual health benefits also lead to a reduction in
social costs through savings to the health-care system.
Other social benefits include the avoidance of air and
noise pollution [11] and the lower space consumption
of active compared to motorized modes of transport.
Copenhagen was most probably the first city to quantify
the economic benefits of cycling [12]. A recent European
study estimated the total social benefits of cycling and
walking at around 0.18 and 0.37 Euros per kilometre
travelled respectively, resulting in savings of 90 billion
Euros in the EU per year [13]. Modal shifts to active
transport modes can thus help to solve the social, eco-
nomic and environmental problems that many cities face
and thereby make them healthier and more liveable.
With regard to e-bikes, it has been found that they not
only reduce the use of conventional bikes, but also –
though to a lesser extent – car and public transport use
[14]. User patterns and related effects differ between
sub-groups of users: while older people tend to increase
cycling frequencies, younger people tend to increase
cycled distances [15]. In addition, e-bikes provide new
opportunities for people who would otherwise not
cycle [16]. Overall, the gains from physical activity are
estimated to be similar for e-bikers and conventional
cyclists [17]. However, results with regard to e-bike
safety are still inconclusive and may present a different
picture with regard to the overall social benefits, as
e-bikes are creating new safety challenges because of
their different user groups, types of problems and types
of crashes [18–20].
Cities around the world are currently trying to increase
the share of active transport modes [21;22], thereby
contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 to
“make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable“.
London has set itself the goal of increasing the share of
cycling by 400% by 2026 compared to a 2001 baseline
[23], Paris aims to double the number of kilometres of
cycle lanes from 700 km to 1400 km between 2015
and 2020, while Beijing aims to reposition and increase
cycling by redeveloping its 3200 km of cycling lanes by
2020 [24]. Copenhagen plans to invest 150 – 240 mil-
lion Euros in cycling infrastructure from 2017 to 2025
[25], Berlin 200 million Euros until 2021 [26].
In this chapter, we first provide an overview of the
factors that influence the use of active transport modes
and later show how this knowledge can be used to
achieve modal shifts. In Denmark, and in Copenhagen
in particular, cycling is already a substantial part of
everyday mobility. Copenhagen is often regarded as one
of the world’s best cycling cities (27), and its existing
cycling culture may inspire other cities. Thus, many of
the examples referred to in this chapter relate to Copen-
Understanding the use of active transport
In wanting to understand why citizens use or do not use
active transport modes and how they can be motivated
to extend their use, one can focus on different kinds
of influences: societal factors, including existing norms
and policies related to mode choice, or the environment,
including transport infrastructure, landscape and the
weather, and travellers’ individual characteristics, includ-
ing demographic and psychological factors.
Chapter 5
Active transport modes
Sonja Haustein and Anders Fjendbo Jensen, DTU Management
Thomas Alexander Sick Nielsen, Danish Road Directorate
Active transport modes – Page 39
DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
identity as cyclist. Finally, health-related reasons are
apparently becoming an increasingly important factor
in cycling and are thus also used in cycling campaigns,
besides environmental motives.
Active modes in transport planning models
So far, little to no effort has been made to incorporate
active transport modes in the strategic transport plan-
ning models [58], which are used in most cities in Europe
to support mobility policies. The main problems have
been that the current level of detail in transport models
is often too low to model cyclist or pedestrian behaviour.
Furthermore, cyclists and pedestrians behave differently
from car drivers in several respects, so the elaborated
methods developed for car transport often cannot be
adopted directly. While recent studies generally do
now provide behavioural parameters for route choice,
there are a few examples of actual implementations in
strategic transport models that could, for example, be
used to decide between investments in routes through
traffic-calmed local roads or (probably faster and more
expensive) routes on cycle tracks next to busy main
streets. The two largest transport models in Denmark
are the National Transport Model or NTM [83] and the
Copenhagen Transport Model or OTM [84]. While the
NTM does not include a specific model for bicycle rider’s
route choice, the latest version of the OTM model has
a focus on improving the representation of cycling by
implementing a model that takes account of elevation,
land-use and type of infrastructure for bicycle trips.
Another example, this time from the Netherlands, is the
BRUTUS bicycle traffic model used in the province of
Utrecht, which is based on the national cycling network
maintained by the Dutch Cyclists Federation [85].
Based on the need for an assessment of intersection
designs, the City of Copenhagen has also done work
to adapt existing microsimulation software to include
cyclists (86). The microsimulation models are often used
to develop the design of large urban intersections where
the volume and specific positioning and behaviour of
cyclists pose a challenge to the geometry and traffic
capacity. For a city with a large number of cyclists, it is
also important for all modes to be considered and their
“priority” or waiting times to be assessed. To support
cost-benefit analyses of proposals, monetary value has
also been assigned to cycling and its health benefits.
This was initially presented by the city of Copenhagen
value on off-road bike paths, whereas [58] found that
cyclists in Copenhagen prefer segregated cycle tracks
next to a road to off-road bike paths. Furthermore, [59]
found that cyclists in Copenhagen do not prefer routes
with cycle lanes (cycle tracks defined by paint on the
side of a road) to routes without bicycle infrastructure. A
significant preference was only found for elevated cycle
tracks next to a road (so that the separation is clearer),
the design typically used in Denmark. A disadvantage
of results from studies of route-choice modelling is that
they only take the preferences of existing cyclists into
account and thus cannot provide information about what
attributes might attract current non-cyclists.
Individual factors
Previous research has shown several links between
cycling and demographic factors, in particular age and
gender. However, the extent to which these factors
influence cycling depends on the context. In high-cycling
countries, all age groups and genders are well repre-
sented among cyclists, while it is typical of low-cycling
countries, like Australia, the UK and the US, that women
and older people are under-represented among cyclists
[60–62]. These differences can partly be explained by
safety concerns and risk perceptions that vary with age
[63] and gender [64]. For example, it has been shown
that women feel more uncomfortable riding against the
permitted direction compared to men [59]. Thus, age
and gender play a larger role under uncertain cycling
conditions. Reasons for safety concerns can be a fear
of crime on the one hand [65;66] and the lack of safe
cycling infrastructure on the other hand [32;52;67]. In a
survey of seventeen European countries, Danes reported
the highest degree of perceived safety when cycling
[68], which is likely to contribute to the equal gender
distribution of cyclists in Denmark. This shows that
social, individual and environmental factors are strongly
Apart from age and gender, research indicates that
household structure [69] and employment status [62]
are related to cycling. Accordingly, perceived constraints
related to family and household demands (e.g. trans-
porting children) and perceived mobility needs have
been found to facilitate car use and restrict cycling
[32;70;71]. However, here too it has recently been
shown that in Copenhagen, high perceived mobility
needs actually support the use of both car and bike,
while they only hamper public transport use [72]. This
indicates that the bicycle can compete with the car in a
city that facilitates cycling.
However, decisions regarding travel mode are not only
influenced by the functional aspects, such as saving
travel time and money, but also by symbolic and affec-
tive motives related to the travel mode [33;73–75], as
well as social norms. Even if society as a whole does
not support cycling, people may perceive social support
and recognition from relevant others, or – in contrast –
perceive disapproval in more car-oriented sub-groups.
For the intention to use a bike, [76] found descriptive
norms (i.e. whether one’s important others cycles or not)
more relevant than subjective norms (i.e. what import-
ant others think about cycling). Support for the impact
of subjective norms comes from a study examining the
effect of an online platform sharing information among
cycling commuters: it showed that the process of shar-
ing information had not only a functional role but also a
social one, as perceived in-group membership and high
levels of trust within the group supported positive views
about cycling and encouraged new cycling commuters
Affective motives seem to play a particular role in e-bike
adoption. People who are excited about the higher
speed and acceleration of e-bikes are more likely to re-
place car trips by e-bike trips [18], as well as people who
are dissatisfied with car commuting [78].
Apart from social norms and attitudes, empirical evi-
dence has so far been presented in particular for the
Theory of Planned Behaviour [79] construct of perceived
behavioural control (PBC). In the case of cycling, PBC
basically measures how easy or difficult people perceive
it to reach their important or regular destinations by
bike and whether the choice of cycling is perceived as
being purely one’s own [76]. PBC is related to feelings
of autonomy when riding a bike and has been shown to
influence cycling also when demographic and infrastruc-
tural factors were controlled for [27;80].
With regard to cycling, it also makes a big difference how
sensitive people are towards bad weather conditions.
Actually, it has been found that weather sensitivity has
a higher impact on the likelihood to cycle than actual
weather conditions and that this factor can differenti-
ate between people who cycle as a leisure activity and
those who do so for purposes of transport and commut-
ing [81]. The notion that leisure cyclists have a different
mind-set than cycling commuters is supported by a
study that found bicycle use for sport negatively related
to the intention to commute by bicycle [82]. In this
study, symbolic and affective motives were also found to
play a role in commuting by bicycle, as well as in a social
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DTU International Energy Report 2019 DTU International Energy Report 2019
Bamberg [104] integrated constructs of the Theory of
Planned Behaviour [79] and the Norm-Activation Model
[105] into a “stage model of self-regulated behavioral
change”, suggesting that people require different
interventions depending on which stage of behaviour
change they are currently at. In a phone-based so-
cial-marketing campaign (106), it was demonstrated that
stage-based interventions led to a reduction in car use
and triggered people’s progression to more action-ori-
ented stages. Support for the relevance of stage-based
interventions also comes from a study by [107], which
applied Prochaska’s Thanstheoretical model [108] to the
practice of cycling to work. In relation to cycling, stage
models suggest, for example, that people who have no
intention of starting or increasing cycling, first need to
be informed about the potential benefits of cycling (and/
or the negative effects of not cycling). Those who have
already formed this intention rather need assistance
in formulating specific personal goals and acquiring
information on how to achieve them. Finally, those who
have already started to increase their cycling frequency
need feedback and social support to maintain their new
behaviour and turn it into a new habit, as, for example,
has been done successfully by online information-shar-
ing among cyclists [77].
Reviewing different behaviour change techniques
applied to cycling, [109] concludes that the inclusion of
self-monitoring and intention-formation techniques are
the most promising. Another review found that inter-
ventions that promote cycling specifically rather than
general changes in travel behaviour are more successful
The Danish cycling campaign “Ta’ cyklen Danmark”
included several elements that aimed to support people
at different stages in the process of changing their
behaviour. Here, more general information about cycling
and its health benefits were provided through differ-
ent media channels and at doctors and health centres
aiming to raise awareness among people who had not
formed any intention of increasing cycling frequency as
yet. For people who did intend to do so, a customised
smart-phone application (a “cycling coach”) helped set a
realistic goal, while the app also supported goal-achieve-
ment by feedback, self-monitoring and social support.
DTU evaluated the campaign and concluded that at least
21 million cycling trips were conducted because of its
activities [111]. Another cycling campaign in Denmark
resulted in a total increase of 35 million cycling trips in
the municipality of Odense during the three years it ran
[112], while the national “Bike-to-Work” campaign re-
sulted in 29.5 million kilometres being travelled by bicy-
cle by 93,000 participants in 2011 [113]. Based on the
campaign costs, an additional bike trip costs between
0.07 EUR (Ta’ Cyklen), 0.08 EUR (Odense) and 0.2 EUR
(Bike-to-work), which is below the estimated benefits of
cycling. Results from the annual Danish “All Kids Bike”
campaign, focusing on getting children to bike to school,
indicate a 4-5% increase in the share of children cycling
to school on a regular basis [114].
Conclusion and key messages
Compared to other modes of transport, like the car, we
still know little about the cultural and psychological di-
mensions of cycling and walking and why usage differs
so strongly between cities and countries. In the case of
cycling, it seems that cultural norms developed over time
play a relevant role, as well as policies and infrastructure
that support cycling and make people perceive it as a
normal and time-efficient behaviour in cycling cultures
like Denmark and the Netherlands. Understanding how
such cultural norms are transformed into individual social
and personal norms and behaviour in childhood and ado-
lescents, what role parents, peers and social institutions
play in this process, and what aspects of cycling cultures
can be transferred to other countries still require further
While research on pedestrians’ and cyclists’ individual
preferences is progressing, more efforts are required to
integrate this knowledge into transport planning models.
When looking at ways to increase cycling, [115] suggest
that “Substantial increases in bicycling require an
integrated package of many different, complementary
interventions, including infrastructure provision and
pro-bicycle programs, supportive land use planning,
and restrictions on car use.” This reflects what has
been shown in this review, namely that many different
factors play a role in the uptake of cycling and need to
be addressed. However, what is relevant in a specific
city or country depends greatly on the existing physical
environment and mobility culture, for example, what
infrastructure is available and what perceptions and
practices about cycling predominate. It is highly likely
that cycling must be demonstrated to be safe, healthy,
modern and efficient if its adoption is to be stimulated
while ensuring the support of the general public. How-
ever, instead of using standardized approaches, it has
been found useful to address people individually, taking
into account their current behaviour and intentions, as
well as the opportunities provided by existing urban
layouts and infrastructure.
[12] and later integrated into the Ministry of Transport’s
cost-benefit analysis framework [87].
How to achieve behavioural change?
Measures for how to achieve behavioural shifts from the
car to active modes of transport include improvements
to infrastructure and car-restrictive policies, such as
parking management or road-pricing. In addition to these
“hard” measures, “soft” measures have been used to
achieve voluntary changes in mode choice, for instance,
through information and awareness campaigns. In this
section, we present an overview of such measures and
their achievable effects.
Improvements to infrastructure and maintenance
Improvements to infrastructure are often regarded as
the main measure for achieving modal shifts (88). While
a sufficient pavement is necessary to get to places,
today’s challenges for active modes are related much
more to fast and heavy motor traffic (89). In many Euro-
pean countries, distinct cycle tracks and sidewalks, both
separated from motor traffic, are considered a funda-
mental principle of actual and perceived road safety and
active-mode mobility. This has led to systematic traffic
calming on local streets and a vast network of cycle
tracks, especially along the busier streets [49].
Infrastructural improvements to cycle paths can be made
on different levels, ranging from a simple separation
through colour via poles to actual separation through
kerbs and higher levels of the upgrading of existing
infrastructure: for example, upgrading cycling paths to
cycle highways, as in the Copenhagen suburbs (54;90).
Specific evaluations were conducted after the opening
of radial cycle highways from Copenhagen to the sub-
urbs of Farum, Albertslund and Ishøj. While the volume
of cyclists could be increased considerably from before
to after the enhanced cycling infrastructure was opened,
replacing motorized modes has often been limited.
Among the cyclists using the three cycle highways after
their opening, 9%, 10% and 19% respectively reported
being new cyclists who had shifted from a motorized
mode of transport [91–94]. The cycling highways also
increased active cyclists’ satisfaction and thereby proba-
bly prevented them shifting in the future to other modes
of travel. Infrastructural improvements will often cover
managing conflicts with pedestrians or parked cars along
the route, as well as improvements at intersections,
where waiting areas (bicycle boxes) or other design
changes can increase perceived safety or reduce delays
for bicycles [95]. However, there is still a lack of knowl-
edge when it comes to explaining success factors and
their efficiency in different geographical and transport
contexts. Other infrastructural measures that facilitate
cycling include facilities at workplaces, such as parking
facilities or changing rooms, and parking facilities at
public transport stations [49;96].
In wanting to increase distances that pedestrians will
accept, for example, to reach a transport stop, it has
been suggested to provide more pleasant and stim-
ulating surroundings instead of boring façades along
trafficked streets [97]. Focusing particularly on older
people, maintaining the infrastructure and removing
snow and ice from pedestrian and cycle paths is another
relevant factor, as the fear of falling is one of the most
important barriers to older people’s use of active modes
or of out-of-home mobility in general [98]. In a Swedish
study, older people reported the insufficient prevention
of slippery pedestrian paths as the most important risk
factor in their outdoor environment [99]. The cycling
policy of the City of Copenhagen includes giving a prior-
ity to snow-clearing on the main cycle paths in winter. In
addition, the concept of cycle highways as implemented
in the Copenhagen area includes requirements concern-
ing the standard of the surface pavement and lighting as
well as snow clearance in order to maintain its attrac-
tiveness at all seasons.
Car-restrictive policies
The most important car-restrictive policies are road-pric-
ing [100;101] and parking management policies, which
have been implemented in several cities [e.g.102]. Both
are likely to increase the costs and difficulties of trav-
elling by car and thus increase competition from other
modes of transport. In addition, high urban densities
with limited on-road or other parking will generally have
adverse effects on car use and support the use of other
modes. Measures country-wide include taxing cars and
motor fuel. Denmark has a high car-registration tax
(between 105% and 150%), which is related to a low
rate of car ownership [27]. The use of environmental
taxation (e.g. by providing lower taxes for smaller, less
polluting cars) does not necessarily lead to the desired
effects of customers preferring greener cars but can also
increase the percentage of people who can afford, and
thus buy, a second car.
Psychological interventions
Apart from general awareness campaigns and the
provision of information, more elaborate intervention
studies have been carried out that make use of specific
behavioural change techniques derived from psychologi-
cal theories. Based on the model of action phases [103],
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