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5 Shifts Needed to Transform Transportation Systems and Meet Climate Goals - The City Fix

World Resources Institute Ross Center

By Stephen Naimoli and Brynne Wilcox

A bike share program.
Bike share program.

Transportation connects us to one another. It’s how we get to school and work, how we visit our families, and how we access our food and health care. It’s also how we ship goods and deliver services. As economies and populations grow, so does the need for efficient, accessible and sustainable transportation.


The current global transport system accounts for 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which continue to grow. In 2019, 71% of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions came from roadways alone (with the rest primarily from maritime and aviation, and a small portion from rail and other sources). Transport has been a laggard for years, with the sector falling behind others, like power and heating, in its decarbonization rate. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) and prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change, we need to reverse course and drive transportation emissions down as low and as quickly as possible.



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