What are the CO2 emissions for different transport & mobility modes?

Transport is currently responsible for around one-fifth of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

This is demonstrated in this recent graph (based on 2018 data) from Our World in Data, which gives a clear comparison of travel modes by their carbon footprint. These figures are measured in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted per passenger kilometre ( sourced from the UK Government’s methodology paper for greenhouse gas reporting).

Perhaps unsurprisingly air and car / taxi transportation (for single occupants) typically generates the highest carbon dioxide per passenger, with rail coming consistently much lower in grams of emissions per person per km.

So knowing this, what can transport & mobility do about it?

Well the emission of all greenhouse gases has to either stop or be naturally offset to prevent further climate change. The UK date for this “Net Zero” target is 2050, set by legislation passed by the Government in June 2019. Therefore the UK has to reduce the emission of (predominantly) CO2 and 5 others named gases within the next 30 years.

This means that transportation needs to quickly find a way to be carbon free.

Although this is challenging… it is not impossible. And we at The Open Transport Initiative intend to help meet this target.

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