Mass Transit

Decarbonization Avenue : Mass Transit

Use of public transport on a large scale could provide multiple benefits. On the one hand, it could significantly reduce overall congestion, reduce transport air pollution and result in better urban land use. From a climate change perspective, public transport is a potent tool for decarbonization. 

While cities such as London have witnessed consistent use of public transport, and even cities such as New York have done reasonably well, large cities such as New Delhi have reported a significant decrease in the use of public transport in the last few decades, in spite of the city having a robust metro rail network.

Encouragingly, in many regions worldwide, the metro rail however has had a very positive effect on enabling millions of people to start using public transport, as evidenced by regions such as Singapore and Hong Kong - 4-5 million people use the metro rail daily in each of these regions.

Enhancing use of public transport by the urban population requires a multi-pronged strategy, with infrastructure such as the metro rail playing key roles. Rules and mandates, as well as monetary approaches such as high tolls during peak times and high parking charges could also shift more people in cities to start using public transport. In addition, initiatives from entrepreneurs who run their own public transport systems, and deploying digital technologies that make it easier and more comfortable for urban users to use public transport can go a long way in making many more urban dwellers shift from use of cars to public transport.

For the 2020-2030 period, innovations can be expected in incorporating intelligence in buses (“smart bus”) and taxis, utilization of mass transit for office commute, more efficient bus route planning, transport data platforms, and demand responsive public transport solutions.

Decarbonization potential

Use of public transport is already saving about 200 million tons of CO2 emissions globally by making people forego cars. A good percentage of these emissions are being saved in developing countries with good public transport systems (and relatively low affordability for cars).

Mass transit and public transport have much higher future potential for CO2 emissions savings if a significant percentage of the population in developed countries shift from cars to mass transit. The US, for instance, saves about 35 million tons of CO2 emissions from the use of mass transit, while the potential could be much higher - passenger cars in the US alone produced about 750 million tons of CO2 in 2019 (globally, about 3.2 billion tons)

Industries impacted

  • Automobiles & auto components
  • Logistics
  • Rail transport Retail
  • Road transport

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Themes & Topics

  • Types of mass transit

    • Trains

    • Buses

    • Trams

    • Metro rail

    • Multi-modal

    • Hybrid of private and mass transport

  • Effective business & ownership models

    • Corporate business models

  • Infrastructure creation for mass transit

  • Traffic & network congestion management

  • Enhancing public transport safety & security

  • Awareness creation

  • Collaboration

    • Between corporate and government

    • Between government and communities

  • Business models

    • Free mass transit

  • Use of IT & digital tools

  • Financing














  • Policies

    • Mandates

    • Incentives

  • Mass transit for:

    • School children

    • College students

    • Corporate & business office goers

    • Government employees

    • Women

    • Poor and underprivileged

  • Mass transit for:

    • Intra-city

    • Inter-city

  • Case studies across geographies

    • North America

    • South America

    • Asia

    • Europe

    • Middle East & Africa

    • Oceania














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