The transport sector could be the big carbon reduction winner from better UK digital connectivity, according to an independent report published today.
Transport currently contributes more than a quarter of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The report by communications industry analysts Assembly, shows that improved connectivity can both directly and indirectly reduce this in the race to net-zero.
Enhanced connectivity of vehicles on the road is one way. Connected and Automated Vehicles will adapt to traffic light systems, decide which route to take, and avoid traffic congestion and pollution to help improve air quality in towns and cities.
Journeys by train can become more efficient and appealing compared to taking the car with improved flow of services, in-seat wi-fi, and paperless tickets.
By 2035, reduced emissions as a result of remote working could make up 5% of the reduction in transport emissions the UK will need to achieve if it is to stay on track with its net-zero transport objective for 2050.
The report, commissioned by Huawei, estimates the average annual emissions from commuting to be 545 kg of CO2e per employee, compared to just 3.4 kg if that employee collaborated solely online.
The faster key enabling technologies such as gigabit-capable broadband are rolled out more widely, the better placed the UK will be to meet its targets for carbon reduction.
Matthew Howett, Principal Analyst and Founder of Assembly, said: “The UK is rightly seen as having world leading ambition when it comes to addressing the climate crisis and achieving net-zero. What it now needs is the plan to realise this. The telecoms industry should be seen as a precious ally of the Government given what connectivity can do for all verticals, but transport in particular. The pandemic has given us a glimpse of what is possible if we rely more on connectivity, it must now be central to our covid recovery and path to net-zero.”
Victor Zhang, Vice President of Huawei, said: “We believe that technology is where many of the answers to reducing CO2e emissions will lie but with the climate crisis already upon us, there is no time to waste in ensuring these solutions are provided for as many as possible. The UK needs to move faster in adopting the best available connectivity technology.”