Numerous studies have illustrated how denser urban forms lead to smaller greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from passenger transport. Many of these studies have excluded aviation since the association between urban structure and air travel is not as intuitive as it is the case of ground travel. However, several recent studies have concluded that air travel is a significant contributor to the GHGs from passenger transport. Furthermore, even air travel habits depend heavily on lifestyles and socio-economic factors that are related to the urban form. Here we analyse the interactions between urban structure and different transportation modes and their GHG impacts in Finland. The study utilises the data from the Finnish Transportation Agency’s passenger traffic survey from May 2010 to May 2011, which includes over 12 000 people and over 35 000 trips. The survey is based on one-day travel diaries and also includes additional data on long-distance trips from a longer period. Methodologically, the study takes a traveller’s perspective to assess the GHG emissions from passenger transport. We found that (1) air travel breaks the pattern where GHG emissions decrease with increasing density of urban structures, and (2) in the metropolitan region there is a clear trade-off between car-ownership and air travel in the middle income class. The main policy implication of our study is that air travel must be included in GHG assessments and mitigation strategies targeting travel behaviour. In dense urban regions, the emissions of air travel have the potential to offset the gain from reduced private driving.
|Journal||Journal of Transport Geography|
|Issue number||December 2014|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
- air travel, greenhouse gas emissions, lifestyles, private driving, REB, travel behaviour, urban structure