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Decoupling economic development and freight for reducing its negative impacts

  • This paper takes a look at the development of freight transport and its further perspectives in the light of environmental sustainability. It clearly challenges the traditional view that further growth in freight transport is indispensable whatever stage of economic development an individual economy has achieved. Moreover it suggests measures to be taken into consideration in sectors other than the transport sector which may help to break the trend of continuing freight transport growth. Current developments of freight transport volume and modal split are rather counterproductive as regards curbing the unwanted environmental impacts. As growth in volume is a major contributing factor for most adverse effects caused, a substantial decouplingThis paper takes a look at the development of freight transport and its further perspectives in the light of environmental sustainability. It clearly challenges the traditional view that further growth in freight transport is indispensable whatever stage of economic development an individual economy has achieved. Moreover it suggests measures to be taken into consideration in sectors other than the transport sector which may help to break the trend of continuing freight transport growth. Current developments of freight transport volume and modal split are rather counterproductive as regards curbing the unwanted environmental impacts. As growth in volume is a major contributing factor for most adverse effects caused, a substantial decoupling of economic growth and freight transport would be extremely helpful. While freight transport activity is almost entirely derived demand there can be no sufficient solution for the resulting environmental problems within the sector itself. Therefore, it is necessary to examine potentials for reducing demand for freight transport in all sectors of the economy. Contrasting to the widely held view that freight transport is in general an inevitable prerequisite of economic development, there are potentials for reducing the freight intensity of the economy which could be far more exploited. Such potentials are increasing the share of regional production, slowing down the metabolism of materials in the economy, and substituting transfer of information for transport of physical products. While each of these potentials on its own may appear to offer limited effects, a proper combination might yield substantial results. The presented preliminary ideas suggest that the notion of everlasting freight transport growth is misleading and hint at the necessity for further research.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Working Paper
Author:Andreas Pastowski
URN (citable link):https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:bsz:wup4-opus-5651
Publisher:Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie
Place of Publication:Wuppertal
Year of Publication:1997
Pagenumber:26
Series Title (English):Wuppertal Papers
Volume:79
Language:English
Release Date:2011/11/04
Dewey Decimal Classification:380 Handel, Kommunikation, Verkehr
Abteilung:Abteilung Verkehr
Licence:License LogoIn Copyright - Urheberrechtlich geschützt