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Visioning and Backcasting for Transport Policy in the UK (Vibat UK)

The Vibat UK study examines the possibilities of reducing transport emissions in the UK by 60 per cent to 2030 through a modified backcasting and scenario-building approach. It examines a range of policy measures (technological and behavioural), and assesses how they can be effectively combined to achieve this level of emissions reduction. The intention is to assess whether such an ambitious target is feasible, identify the main problems (including the transition costs), and the main decision points over the 25 year time horizon.

Date: 2004-2006
Team: David Banister and Robin Hickman
Funder: Department for Transport

Executive Summary cover image There are three main elements to this innovative research project. The first is to set targets for 2030 and to forecast the business as usual situation for all forms of transport in the UK over that period, so that the scale of change can be assessed in terms of achieving the emissions reductions. The second is the description of the transport system in 2030 that will meet the reduction target. This takes the form of two alternative visions of the future that will push the technological and the behavioural options, separately, and in combination. The third stage is the backcasting process, where alternative policy packages are assembled to lead to the image of the future, together with their sequencing in terms of when implementation should take place.

The benefits of scenario building are that innovative packages of policy measures can be developed to address far-reaching emissions reduction targets. This allows trend-breaking analysis, by highlighting the policy and planning choices to be made by identifying those key stakeholders that should be included in the process, and by making an assessment of the main decision points that have to be made (the step changes). It also provides a longer term background against which more detailed analysis can take place.

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Dr Robin Hickman
Associate Director,
Transport Research Sector,
Halcrow Group Ltd,
W6 7BY

Research Fellow
Transport Studies Unit
University of Oxford, South Parks Road
Oxford, OX1 3QY

Professor David Banister
Professor of Transport Studies
Transport Studies Unit,
University of Oxford,
South Parks Road,

DfT Horizons Research Programme 2004/05

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