Decarbonisation of travel research shows ‘work to be done’ to inspire consumers to greener travel

Our new research published today highlights that consumers want affordable, convenient, and practical solutions before they can make more sustainable transport choices. 


Key research findings


The majority of respondents support interventions with no direct cost to them such as:

  • the promotion of cycling (56%),
  • increasing the number of cycle lanes (56%), and
  • traffic calming schemes (65%).

However, a minority of respondents support interventions that will come at a direct cost to them:

  • increasing tax on petrol or diesel cars (16%),
  • increasing the cost of carparking (23%) or
  • introducing congestion charging in towns and cities (30%).

Safe and clean neighbourhoods:

While consumers do not support measures that would have a direct cost to car users, they do support measures that would make our towns and cities cleaner and safer. These include:

  • traffic as calming schemes to accommodate other road users (65%),
  • low traffic neighbourhoods (51%), and
  • an ultra-low emission zone for Belfast (60%).


Consumers are much more likely to support proposals that benefit their local area than proposals that appear to punish their existing travel behaviour. Consumers must be enabled to better understand how sustainable travel could benefit them, with 73% of consumers saying they need more information before deciding to change the way they travel.

Richard Williams, our Head of Transport Policy said:

“Our research shows that consumers understand the need to change how they travel to reduce carbon emissions, but barriers currently exist to achieve this.

“Consumers are receptive to measures that come at no direct cost to them, such as traffic calming or cycling but measures that would increase the cost of motoring, such as congestion charging, aren’t very popular.

“Work must be done to empower consumers to travel in greener ways. Consumers should not be punished for car dependency. Instead, people need to be informed of the benefits of new travel schemes and must be provided alternative travel choices that meet their needs, including enhanced public transport infrastructure.

“Addressing consumer needs will be central to the development of a Northern Ireland Transport Strategy that will help deliver the Northern Ireland Climate Change Act carbon reduction targets.”

Read the Decarbonisation of transport report here:

Additional reports and further reading

Report: Transport integration and MaaS Report: What can Northern Ireland learn from elsewhere?

Integration of transport services and, ultimately, MaaS, allows users to easily change between different public and private transport modes (including shared transport) with an ability to access information and book and pay for tickets with one app. The objective of this research was to understand international and national best practice focused on the integration and use of technology supporting a transition towards more sustainable transport services.

Report: Models for Transport Decarbonisation Information and Advice Report

Effective communication and promotion of sustainable transport options can be a facilitator for turning policy into action. This research sought to understand international and national best practice with a focus on how information and advice is delivered to consumers to help them make sustainable transport choices.


  • Transport