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Towards low carbon development: Urban accessibility based planning support for evaluating low carbon transport plans for Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC)

Shrestha, Rehana (2012) Towards low carbon development: Urban accessibility based planning support for evaluating low carbon transport plans for Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC).

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Abstract:Climate change is a global issue and all the countries, both developing and developed, are required to address it through climate policy. But since the major concern of developing countries is for development policy rather than climate change, the new notion of Low Carbon Development (LCD) has emerged, which follows a development-first approach and henceforth addresses both issues. Among many sectors where LCD can be pursued, transport is regarded as one of the important sectors, which needs to be addressed urgently. It is mainly because of two reasons. The transport sector is regarded as the backbone for economic growth of cities while most of the cities-especially developing cities are facing problems of unsustainable transport and its related negative externalities, both locally and globally. Transport accounts for 23% of total energy related GHG emission, which directly exerts pressure to climate change. To address the issue of unsustainable transport and its national and global externalities, another notion of Low Carbon Transport (LCT) plans has emerged, which adopt avoid-shift-improve (ASI) strategies, which are regarded as key to LCT. However, considering accessibility as one of the performance indicators for sustainable development, LCT plans besides minimizing emissions, should address accessibility issues, as such paving a pathway towards LCD. Due to the complexity and uncertainty involved in the long range planning, scenario-based planning support systems have been regarded as a useful tool in exploring future impacts of plans. But the lack of research on its use in evaluating LCT plans for their accessibility and emission impact, has stemmed the research problem as; how are urban accessibility and LCT related and how can planning support system (PSS) be used to derive accessibility scenarios of LCT plans. Thus, the main objective of this research is to evaluate LCT plans and their potential contribution in LCD for Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), a case study in this research, by developing an urban accessibility based planning support system. This research combines an accessibility analysis and activity-structure-intensity-fuel (ASIF) framework as the modelling approach, which has been applied in the open GIS-based modelling platform of Community Viz. The semi-automatic model has been developed in Community Viz; in which output from accessibility analysis in the form of potential population and distance travelled by the mode are used as input in ASIF model as activity in passenger kilometre (pkm). With the modal share of each mode, average occupancy, fuel efficiency and emission factor, CO2 emissions are calculated From the interviews and documents of Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport (KSUT) project, three plans have been identified as LCT plans; public transport (PT) improvement plans, renewal of trolley bus system and the combination of both plans that is penetration of trolley bus system along with PT improvement plans. Two scenarios have been constructed, high population growth of 7.6% and low population growth of 4.56% as external drivers to the scenarios. In combination with the chosen LCT plans and baseline scenario without interventions, eight alternative scenario have been constructed, four in each high and low population growth, that have been evaluated for their potential to LCD. The scenario results show that the baseline scenarios even with 20% improvement in fuel efficiency; are clearly not a desirable future under both high and low population growth. PT improvement and combination of PT with trolley buses show an increase in accessibility in both scenarios whereas trolley bus renewal plans show a decrease in accessibility. The underlying assumptions on mode share, average occupancy, fuel efficiency of those plans have shown a reduction in emissions against the base year during low population growth whereas emission would still be high in the case of high growth. The sensitivity analysis shows that only 5% shift from private to public in combination plans of penetration of trolley bus renewal along with PT improvement plans, result in an emission reduction gain. It can be concluded that under the given assumptions, the combined package of penetration of trolley bus renewal with PT improvement plans has a great potential towards LCD. However, the final choice of mode depends on people’s preferences, attitudes and behaviour, hence the modal split. The results show that there is a need to have a shift from private to public transport in all LCT plans. Thus a package of policies that addresses ‘push and pull’ effects are required to get substantial shift from private to public mode to realize the LCD in transport. Keywords: Low Carbon Development, Low Carbon Transport, planning support system, urban accessibility, Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Community Viz.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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