Shifting journeys from car to bus and coach once a month could save millions of tons of CO2e emissions, says CPT report

Switching car journeys to bus and coach is essential to achieving the UK’s net zero emissions goal, according to a new report from the Confederation of Passenger Transport.

The UK’s net zero commitments require a decarbonisation of the transport sector, the highest emitting sector and the only one whose emissions have increased since 1990. CPT says this requires ambitious action to tackle car greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which account for the majority of surface transport emissions.

The Decarbonisation Dividend report, created alongside WPI Economics, found that if every person in Great Britain switched just over one car trip to bus or coach per month each year (13 per year) by 2030, it would create a cumulative reduction of 2 million tons of CO2e. What’s more, a shift of just over two trips per month (26 per year) journeys by 2050 would result in a cumulative reduction of 19.5 million tons of CO2e.

The findings of the report also identified health and societal benefits that could be reaped in years to come due to this shift. Such benefits include cumulative reductions in congestion valued at £29.4billion and cumulative health benefits worth £14.9billion – enough to build 33 new NHS hospitals.

Commenting on the report, Graham Vidler, CPT chief executive, says: “Without shifting demand from cars to buses and coaches, the UK will fall short of its net zero ambitions.

“The report shows that small changes in the way we travel can create a big difference. To unlock these benefits, each of us needs to switch just one journey per month from car to bus by the end of this decade, two journeys per month by 2050. That’s it.”

Additional consumer-focused research conducted by CPT identified’ attitudes toward bus and coach travel. Almost half of car drivers interviewed (46%) have considered taking the bus more compared to this time last year, with half of those (49%) doing so to be greener.

Vidler adds: “Our findings show that around half of Brits want to have a more balanced mix between using their car and taking the bus or a coach. With many parts of the country set to invest in speeding up journey times there’s a great opportunity for people to start shifting some of their journeys.”