Individual carbon dioxide emissions and potential for reduction in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom

Yusak O. Susilo, Dominic Stead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Using National Travel Survey (NTS) data from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, this paper examines how passenger transport emissions are divided across society and how similar this distribution is across these two countries. By looking across a series of data over time, the paper examines the relationships between socioeconomic characteristics and individual greenhouse gas emissions, the stability of these relationships over time, and the extent to which these relationships are similar in these two countries. Suitable policy measures for different socioeconomic groups are then examined. The general effectiveness and acceptability of these measures are then discussed by drawing on pan-European (Euro-barometer) survey results. Analyses of the NTS data reveal that about 10% of the Dutch population is responsible for almost half of all travel-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the Netherlands. Similarly, in the United Kingdom, about 20% of the population is responsible for 60% of the passenger-transportation-related CO2 emissions. Analysis of pan-European opinion surveys shows that there is a clear awareness among the majority of the population that the type of car and the way in which it is used have important impacts on the environment. Despite this awareness, however, only a minority seem prepared to take action to reduce the environmental consequences of their travel behavior. The study supports the argument that the willingness to change behavior is a complex mixture of individual and social interests. A major challenge is how to encourage changes in behavior to reduce transport emissions with the right policies at the right time in the right place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-152
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2139
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009

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