News article

International Association of Public Transport supports Mobility Week 2011

26 August 2011

UITP's ambitious aim of doubling the market share of public transport worldwide by 2025 is particularly relevant to the focal theme of EMW2011: "Alternative Mobility". In 2009, the International Network for Public Transport (UITP) set itself the ambitious aim of doubling the market share of public transport worldwide by 2025. Whilst the aim of this strategy, named “PTx2”, is undoubtedly bold, it is not unrealistic: many cities have already taken up the challenge and are working towards this goal.

In fact, the objectives of the PTx2 project are particularly relevant to the focal theme of this year’s European Mobility Week, “Alternative Mobility”: The 2011 EMW edition calls for more sustainable modes of transport in order to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector, the largest energy-consuming sector within Europe. On the same line, a 20% reduction of GHG emissions from the transport sector by 2030 is part of the EU 20/20/20; an intermediary step towards the EU’s goal of cutting carbon emissions from the transport sector by at least 60% by 2050.

Public transport: a vital tool to reduce carbon emissions
PTx2 is a call for action to governments, local authorities, investors and public transport’s stakeholders to meet the challenge of increased urban mobility. In order to highlight the need for a shift to public transport, the IUTP has recently released a Mobility Model –developed in collaboration with the International Energy Agency– featuring various future scenarios:

According to the business as usual scenario, GHG emissions from urban transport will have reached 440 million tons CO2 equivalent by 2025 (compared to 470 in 2005). Despite a small decrease due to the improvement in vehicle energy efficiency, this won’t be enough to achieve the ambitious EU 20/20/20. The scenario for doubling the market share of public transport in Europe from 16% in 2005 to 32% in 2025 - considering stable the current 30% share of walking and cycling- would produce 380 million tons of CO2 eq. by 2025. With this we would save 90 million tons CO2 eq. per year by 2025, enough to achieve EU targets of decreasing CO2 emissions by 20%, while generating substantial benefits in terms of employment and energy supply as well as reducing congestion and traffic fatalities.

Public transport consumes on average 60% less energy per passenger-kilometre than private motorised transport. This energy and carbon efficiency is based on empirical observations with average vehicle occupancy of 20% over a full day. Increasing occupancy will therefore generate a direct increase in the carbon efficiency of public transport. Furthermore, public transport is already a solid electro-mobility provider, with between 40 and 50% of its vehicles currently powered by electricity. Therefore, a strong shift towards public transport stands out as the best solution to reach EU 20/20/20 objectives and contribute to low-carbon mobility.

Time to act: let’s take concrete measures!
In order to keep cities moving in the right direction, a combination of factors needs to be put in place, including strong political will, smart urban planning, good operating conditions and an adequate balance between private modes of transport, non-motorised modes and public transport.

Specific measures need to be put in place in order to make public transport a lifestyle service, capable of satisfying customers’ expectations. Decision-makers need to make public transport their choice for transportation by deploying integrated urban policies and supportive mobility management; public transport stakeholders must implement innovative and ambitious funding and financing strategies, and governments, companies and citizens need to be prepared to make big investments. Developing an efficient and sustainable public transport system is certainly a first step in this direction.

This year’s European Mobility Week is very much in line with these objectives: hundreds of cities all over Europe will be promoting alternative forms of transport; specific permanent measures will be implemented, existing public transport will systems will be improved and many awareness raising activities will be organised for citizens and children.

To find out about PTx2, please visit The UITP is the international network for public transport authorities and operators, policy decision-makers, scientific institutes and the public transport supply and service industry. It counts with 3400 members from 92 countries.

Géraldine Dumonceau