Cycling 10 times more efficient than electric cars for reaching net-zero cities

A recent study published on journalism platform the Conversation, shows that active travel such as cycling can contribute to tackling the climate emergency earlier than electric vehicles while also providing affordable, reliable, clean, healthy, and congestion-busting transportation.

In the study, more than 4000 participants from London, Antwerp, Barcelona, Vienna, Orebro, Rome, and Zurich were followed over a two-year period, by entering 10,000 travel diary entries.

The main reason for this research paper on transport is that is one of the most challenging sectors to ‘decarbonize’ due to its heavy fossil fuel use and reliance on carbon-intensive infrastructures – such as roads, airports, and the vehicles themselves. “Globally, only one in 50 new cars were fully electric in 2020. Sounds impressive, but even if all new cars were electric now, it would still take 15-20 years to replace the world’s fossil fuel car fleet”, says Clint Witchalls, Health & Medicine Editor.

The study points to alternative means of transport such as car swapping, cycling, e-biking, and walking (coined as ‘active travel) and the potential to reduce emissions significantly.

It shows that:

  • Emissions from cycling can be more than 30 times lower for each trip than driving a fossil fuel car, and about ten times lower than driving an electric one.
  • Cyclists had 84% lower CO2 emissions from all daily travel than non-cyclists.
  • Life cycle CO2 emissions decreased by 14% for each additional cycling trip.
  • The top 10% of participants were responsible for 59% of life cycle CO2 emissions.
  • Regular cycling was most strongly associated with reduced life cycle CO2 emissions for commuting and social trips.

Read the full article here.

Image courtesy of Sabina Fratila via Unsplash.

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