Russian transport in 2035

In cities, road transport accounts for about 4/5 of emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere, in Moscow this figure is above 90%. Transport is responsible for more than 16% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world and about 15% in Russia. Therefore, one of the goals of the Transport Strategy of the Russian Federation until 2035, approved at the end of 2021, is to expand access to safe and high-quality transport services with minimal impact on the environment and climate.


The Strategy analyses the state of the Russian transport system and outlines targets and ways for its development. In the largest Russian cities, road transport accounts for 17-25% (depending on the city) of all trips made (for comparison, public buses make 12-17% of trips, off-street transport – 3-26%, and walking – 29 -40%). At the same time, road transport accounts for about 95% of the urban space occupied by passenger transport, 80-95% of emissions and more than 75% of road traffic accidents with victims.


It seems that many transport-related environmental problems could be solved using more modern and high-quality cars. Indeed, according to the strategy, there are 45 million cars in Russia, and they have an average age of 13.9 years (59% of the fleet is over 10 years old). The situation is similar with trucks: in Russia there are 6.56 million of them, their average age is 17.7 years (53% of the fleet is over 15 years old). 55 percent of the vehicle fleet in the Russian Federation does not meet the Euro 3 emission standard.


The use of more environmentally friendly vehicles can somewhat mitigate the problems with emissions of certain harmful substances, for example, significantly reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides. Nevertheless, it is impossible to solve the problem of pollution by improving the vehicle fleet, because, for example, up to 82% of particulate emissions do not come from exhaust gases, but due to the erasing of the road surface and vehicle components. Thus, according to the authors of the Strategy, to reduce negative environmental impacts, uncontested is development of public transportation in large cities with simultaneous restrictions on private cars. With the development of the Russian transport systems, the share of mobility by private car is expected to decrease to the level of the leading European transport systems (Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Milan, London). Due to the development of transport systems, the number of active users of public transport in cities will increase by 15 percent.


The Strategy includes, in particular, the priority of pedestrians, individual mobility and public transport in intracity traffic over individual transport, comfortable and safe sidewalks. Implementation of the measures planned in the document shall result in growing the passenger turnover of urban public transport to 102-103 billion passenger-kilometers per year (by 15%) by 2035.


The Strategy notes that the domestic water transport is used insufficiently, although it is more environmentally and climate friendly than other types of motorized transport. The share of water transport in the total Russian cargo turnover is only 2% (for comparison, in China it is 7%, and in Germany – 8%). In the USSR in 1985, the share of domestic water transport in the freight turnover was 9%.


The Strategy pays special attention to greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, fuel combustion in transport resulted in about 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Russia. According to the National Inventory of Anthropogenic Emissions from Sources and Removals by Greenhouse Gas Sinks, in the transport sector of the Russian Federation in 2019, 61% of emissions were from road transport, 5% from aviation (domestic), 3% from railway transport, 1% from maritime and inland water transport, and 27% from pipelines (oil and gas pipelines). Therefore, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from road transport is a priority.


According to the current forecasts of the socioeconomic development of the Russian Federation, the greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector are expected to decrease by 1.2% by 2030 compared to total emissions in 2017, and by 4.2% by 2050 compared to the level of 2030. To reach these targets, it is planned to use new energy-efficient vehicles, apply hybrid energy storage systems in transport, electrify and gasify public transport, stimulate transition to the use of models with low greenhouse gas and pollutant emissions, transfer vehicles to hybrid analogues, and develop charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and electric buses. It is important to note such a measure as large-scale incentives for the shared mobility and development of cycling and other non-motorized transport. The "carbon footprint" from the operation of public transport in large cities as compared to the level of 2019 should decrease by 30% under the conservative scenario, and by 70% under the baseline scenario.


The measures planned in the Transport Strategy of the Russian Federation until 2035 can reduce environmental pollution while improving the safety and quality of transport services. The planned reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is small, so the remaining emissions must be offset by measures in other sectors. It should also be noted that the targets for transport decarbonisation will be met only if the planned targets for development of renewable energy sources and for production of fuels using energy from renewables are achieved.


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