The MyFairShare research project centers around the concept of an Individual Mobility Budget. A mobility budget can contribute to the achievement of climate change goals by breaking down climate targets for the mobility sector to the individual level. Furthermore, it may enhance Transport Justice by compensating transport disadvantages through improving non-motorised accessibility and reducing car-dependencies.
The concept of an Individual Mobility Budget involves allocating a finite amount of CO2 emissions to each person to be “spent” on their mobility needs. In this way the yearly amount of national transport CO2 emissions that can be emitted according to emission reduction targets are broken down to the level of individuals or households.
The individual budgets take the form of “Transport Emission Allowances” or “mobility credits”. People can thereby decide how often and on which mode of transport they spend their credits until their allocated emissions are used up. Different modes of transport vary in their emission factors, making high-emitting modes of transport more “costly” in such a scheme.
The nationally available CO2 emissions are calculated based on national emission targets, which are derived from each country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) following the Paris Agreement. This process leads to a gradual reduction of mobility budgets as nations progress towards climate neutrality.
Mobility budgets are not about restricting individual choices but providing choices within a clear pathway towards climate neutrality. Along with the introduction of mobility budgets, efforts need to be taken to enhance accessibility.
Accessibility, in this context, refers to how sufficiently and sustainably individuals can meet their daily needs and access locations providing everyday functions such as schools, workplaces, shopping centers, and recreational areas. The overarching goal is to create an infrastructure that supports accessibility with the lowest possible emissions footprint while serving the needs of the population.
Until measures which improve non-motorised accessibility are in place, the individual mobility budget shall not jeopardize a person’s needs. Therefore, Minimum Mobility Standards are defined, ensuring that each person can access all vital destinations. These Minimum Mobility Standards consider socio-economic and geographical factors. For instance, to reach important destinations longer trips are more often needed in rural regions than in an urbanised environment. This is accounted for in the distribution of mobility credits by providing transport-disadvantaged people with more credits, ensuring fairness of the individual mobility budget approach.
To increase an individual’s flexibility, it can be an option to allow for trading parts of allocated mobility credits on a market. Furthermore, a set of emergency credits also might be made available, ensuring a person’s mobility in critical situations.
The protection of an individual’s privacy is of great concern and can be upheld by avoiding the personalised tracking of mobility behaviour. Instead, mobility allowances are monitored through transport expenses like fuel or ticket purchases.
Mobility budgets may offer a wide range of benefits. They can effectively contribute to reducing carbon emissions in the mobility sector, by limiting the amount of CO2 emissions, thus mitigating the catastrophic consequences of global warming. By making abstract emission-reduction targets tangible at an individual level, mobility budgets promote informed decision-making for the individual.
Assigning costs to high-emitting modes of transport encourages eco-friendly alternatives like walking, cycling, public transportation, or carpooling, and increasing transport-saving measures on the policy level, such as improving non-motorised accessibility or public transport.
Moreover, mobility budgets significantly reduce congestion and (noise-)pollution, mitigating harmful externalities caused by mobility and enhancing Transport Justice. They further promote fairness by compensating for socio-spatial disparities.
- Millonig, Alexandra, Christian Rudloff, Gerald Richter, Florian Lorenz, and Stefanie Peer. 2022. “Fair Mobility Budgets: A Concept for Achieving Climate Neutrality and Transport Equity.” Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment 103 (February): 103165.
- Urban Europe. 2020a. “Join Call for Proposals for Research and Innovation Projects on Urban Accessibility and Connectivity.”
- Urban Europe. 2020b. “Urban Accessibility and Connectivity Joint Call for Proposals.”