U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Clean Cities

Urban Transportation Systems Improve Energy Efficiency: IEA Report

July 17, 2013

Policies that improve the energy efficiency of urban transport systems could help save as much as $70 trillion in spending on vehicles, fuel, and transportation infrastructure between now and 2050, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Released on July 10, the report, A Tale of Renewed Cities, draws on examples from more than 30 cities across the globe to show how to improve transport efficiency through better urban planning and travel demand management. Extra benefits include lower greenhouse-gas emissions and higher quality of life.

The report offers three case studies to show how those cities have already improved their transport systems. For example, New York City shaved 11 minutes off travel times within a year of introducing express bus services, while at the same time attracting more passengers.

Among the three broad categories of policies recommended in the report are those that allow travel to be avoided, those that shift travel to more efficient modes, and those that improve the efficiency of vehicle and fuel technologies. The report notes that if fully implemented across the global transportation sector, the "avoid, shift and improveā€ approach could save up to $70 trillion in terms of lower spending on fuel, roadway infrastructure, and vehicles. See the IEA press release and the report website.