Low-carbon mobility (LCM) features strongly in debates about the sustainability of cities and their resilience in the face of demographic, economic, and climate change. Transport is a major source of carbon emissions and there are indications that these continue to increase, despite the considerable recent advances in vehicle, engine, and fuel technologies.
Reducing carbon emissions from transport may become more difficult, not easier. A particular issue relates to the New World cities, typified by those of North America and Australasia, which largely developed from the latter half of the nineteenth century onward and whose transportation systems were largely based around private vehicle ownership and usage. These cities are typically composed of low-density, dispersed suburbs, which are highly car dependent and resource and carbon emission intensive.
This article develops a research agenda directed at determining and testing policy and planning measures relevant to the quest for low carbon mobility in New World cities. It suggests a rich agenda for essential research on LCM. Much of this agenda falls within the realm of the integration of transport and land use, with attention to urban design details to enhance the perceptions of and opportunities to use low carbon transport alternatives. Research topics identified for LCM research include (1) urban design and land use–transport integration (LUTI), (2) low carbon mobility policies directed at achieving widespread behavior change, (3) opportunities for new technology and its application, including requirements for systems and infrastructure, and (4) analysis and tools for informed decision making, including modeling, measurement, visualization, and especially assessment.