Policy recommendations for emission-free travel
Continents and islands are very poorly connected by maritime ways, which are much easier to decarbonize than flights. Remaining ferries often exist mainly for passengers wishing to haul their own cars, which makes them oversized and more difficult to decarbonize. Passengers arriving by train and bus can feel like unwanted guests, having to navigate between cars through uninviting corridors. There is much room for improvement in maritime travel:
- facilitate missing links like Scotland - Iceland (- Greenland - Canada) or Cyprus - Egypt
- better integration with cargo. See www.voyagesencargo.com and notably the restrictions they have to apply.
- optimize ship sizes to have a seaworthy vessel that can be decarbonized with exisiting technology
- reliable car-rental near maritime ports and (aggregated) weight-based pricing differences for car- vs. footpassengers.
- inviting infrastructure for train / bus - boat transfers and allow for comfortable transfer of luggage.
- invest in optimal on-board time-spending (for the customer). If time can be used wisely, extra travel-hours are not lost.
Long distance overland travel
Travelling overland to a more sunny destination is still the exception. Even though it is very doable in a comfortable way. To alter our carbon-intensive sun-seeking flights, it is necessary to make overland travel more attractive. When taking this seriously, thinking in terms of interesting stopover-destinations is an important instrument and should be promoted in policy choices. The following should be done to start with:
- put pressure on employers to allow for longer holidays at a time and use of flexible working-hours while travelling into holidays
- stop advertising for short-haul flights and tax flights according to damage done
- force countries to open up their trainsystem data to allow for continent-wide international ticket systems
- speed up a more client-oriented handling of regulations around missed connections
- organize marketing of cities' qualities as a stopover for a part of a day or a night
- stimulate easy access to lockers, urban bike-rental systems and electric vehicle rental on train stations
- prioritize transport to nature areas from intercity stations on continental corridors
stimulate pioneering companies that offer multi-city train holidays
- facilitate a faster passage of challenging but unavoidable stopover cities (e.g. Paris)
- North America; make sure that on ‘critical stretches’ (no alternatives) of train / bus network a service exists that departs and arrives in daytime hours, avoiding expensive sleeper cabins for those who can't afford it or won't sleep in a chair.
- North America: give passenger trains right of way over freight trains and prioritize speed of long distance trains.