Public transport and the climate-neutral economy

Newsletter 10, May 2021

Shall we invest in electric cars, public transit, or both?

Dear ,

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A net zero-carbon economy in 2050

Global climate action is finally taking place. The EU presented its Green Deal (with a target to become carbon neutral in 2050) in December 2019. China followed in September 2020 (carbon neutrality by 2060) along with the US (carbon neutrality by 2050). Last month, US President Joe Biden organised a successful two-day virtual Earth Day summit, a kind of pre-summit of the COP26 taking place in Glasgow in November 2021. This COP will be the moment that national plans to reduce emissions will receive a major update after the 2015 Paris Agreement. It is expected that in Glasgow, heads of state will present concrete steps to reach a global economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Transport emits almost 25% of all energy-related greenhouse gases globally, and many countries have the following components in their plans to reduce their CO2 emissions caused by passenger transport:

  1. A shift from private cars with combustion engines to fully electric cars.
  2. A shift from individual car traffic to walking, cycling and the use of public transport.

100% electrified public transport

It is clear that the 2020s will be a crucial decade to decarbonise transport, and many governments expect a mass deployment of electric cars. At Modasti Consulting, however, we are convinced that electrification of private automobiles alone is not the solution.

Countries and cities need to invest more in the following:

  • High-speed rail to shift long-distance travel from air to land (along with Hyperloop pilot projects).
  • Electrification of railways where diesel trains still run (by investing in overhead-wire supply).
  • Electrification of bus systems by scaling up grid capacity, installing charging points and introducing battery electric buses.
  • Automated metro systems, since metro systems are at the core of mobility in many megacities, whereby driverless metro systems can cater to more passengers than conventional ones.

Riyadh will open its world-class fully automated metro system soon, while Dubai has had a driverless metro system since 2009. Modasti Consulting intended to be in Riyadh, Doha, and Dubai earlier this year, but due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, this was limited to only the latter city (where the recently published LinkedIn article ‘A new operator for Dubai Metro’ was conceived).

With a number of project references on electric buses, Modasti Consulting has all the in-house expertise to assist with plans to decarbonise transport and electrify public transport.

Public transport liberalisation

It is widely accepted that governments alone cannot fund the transition from a fossil fuel economy to an economy where solar and wind will be the major energy sources. Many initiatives need to be (co)financed by private parties. This means that more and more public transport markets will be liberalised to unlock private funding. With a smart governance and regulation framework, passengers can also benefit from liberalised markets.

Modasti Consulting has practical knowledge of liberalising public transport, from choosing the right PPP option to the design of public service obligation contracts (including the calculation of required capital and operating expenditure). Modasti has also assisted public transport operators with their bids.

Modasti in transition

Since Petra van den Boorn’s departure from the firm last December (our last newsletter can be found on this page), Modasti Consulting has entered a transition phase. As of January 2021, Modasti consists solely of its founder, Arjen Jaarsma. This transition means that the expertise focus will slightly change (the geographical focus remains on Europe and the Middle East) and that Modasti’s website will get a complete makeover. Meanwhile, Modasti’s company page on LinkedIn has already been updated.

Drop me a message if you have any questions!

Arjen Jaarsma, Public Transport Expert and Strategic Thinker
Arjen Jaarsma Public Transport Expert
+31 6 235 88 096
Modasti Consulting

Modasti Consulting B.V.

Hofvijver 177, 5223 MC ’s-Hertogenbosch

the Netherlands