Day 4: Transport, transport, transport

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This day took us off-site at Le Bourget and down to the UIC by the Eiffel Tower for Transport Day hosted by Slocat and Michelin Bibendum. The team agenda was pretty packed – two side events and a plenary panel, although with one side event on cycling and walking there was at least the merit of variety.

The opening session saw the UN’s Assistant Secretary General on Climate, Janos Pasztor announce that 40 new countries were joining GFEI since the Climate Summit – bringing the total to 65.

Non-motorised transport – walking and cycling to those who just call things what they are rather than making up a bespoke term for them – is clearly a seriously important part of the sustainable mobility story. It’s an area in which the Foundation has long supported some work with UNEP called Share the Road, the principles of which are that road should be designed as safe and pleasant spaces for everyone using them – from pedestrians to vehicles. This session which was organised by the FIA Foundation was always going to be the popular slot at Transport Day, and hosted contributions from Johannesberg, Embarq and Lew Fulton, the latter sharing some interesting new work on the impact of cycling which took him from his comfort zone of fuel efficiency.

At the same time I was presenting our State of the World report to a smaller, but equally perfectly formed, audience at the energy efficiency side event, where quality if not quantity was the watch-word. Jos Dings of T&E set the scene with an exposition of just how little efficiency there has actually been across modes; Sophie Punte of Smart Freight Centre laid out the particular complexities of that area; and Glynda Bathan of CAI Asia identified positive steps forward in her region.

It was really exciting to be called to the main stage to contribute my thoughts on necessary outputs from the climate talks, and to be described as a ‘champion’ of sustainable transport alongside Ministers of Costa Rica and Mauritius(I was rather hoping for a prize!) My message to them was clear – ‘we have the technology for fuel efficiency – give us the policy’ – I’ve been saying that a lot lately…..!