Communities hold the key to a greener transport future: charities to showcase grassroots action on global stage at COP26

The UK’s leading sustainable transport NGOs will champion the importance of communities in creating a cleaner, greener transport future at COP26, as attention increasingly turns to transport as the biggest source of greenhouse emissions in the UK and the fastest rising globally.

The Sustainable Transport Alliance will showcase examples and insights on how local initiatives can engage and empower people to achieve climate-safe, healthy and inclusive transport systems and behaviours. Their interactive session, ‘People make transport: communities enabling greener travel’ takes place on 10 November in the Green Zone at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. 

The event will focus on the challenges and benefits of reducing private car use and shifting as many journeys as possible onto public and community transport, walking, cycling and shared mobility. It will show how bringing people and partners together locally leads to innovation, integration across modes, and co-creation of place-based solutions that work on the ground and serve people’s needs.

A prestigious panel of government, academic, industry and community experts (see below) will: share expertise for building trust and making change last; look at what policy and funding support can facilitate these initiatives; consider the wider impact on climate goals and co-benefits for health, wellbeing and sustainable development.

Local examples from diverse locations across the UK will be shared: from an employment mobility pilot in South Wales Valleys; to travel confidence with young people in Lancashire; to people-centred street design in East London; to place-making and active travel development in the host city of Glasgow. The panel will take questions and comments from the audience and relate their experiences to other locations globally, sharing ideas, thinking, and positivity around what everyone in society has to gain from a shift to cleaner transport.

The event is supported by Transport Scotland and Go-Ahead Group.

Jools Townsend, chair of the Sustainable Travel Alliance, and chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: “Our organisations work with communities across the UK to help them access, benefit from and spearhead greener, more inclusive transport. There is so much inspiring work is going on across our networks, forging climate-safe forms of mobility, while bringing people together and empowering communities – and we are excited about sharing that on the global stage.

“Transport is often neglected in people’s thinking about the climate, but it is coming to the fore at COP26, as it must, with global transport emissions rising faster than any other sector. We’re showing that public and community transport, combined with walking, cycling and shared mobility, is fundamental, to enable a shift away from car-dependency. We know through our work that this can unlock all sorts of benefits for people’s health, wellbeing, and access to opportunity. We are hoping to get decision-makers from across the globe thinking about how an engaging and empowering approach can work in their localities.”

Facts on sustainable transport

  • In the UK, transport is now the biggest source of emissions, with most from cars and vans.[1]
  • Globally, transport emissions are rising faster globally than any other sector.[2]
  • There is growing recognition that to decarbonise in a rapid and inclusive way, we need to shift away from car dependency, towards public and community transport, walking, cycling, and shared mobility becoming the ‘natural choice’.[3]
  • Published earlier this year, the UK Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan has accelerating modal shift as its number one priority.[4]

Event speakers and details

The provisional list of speakers and panellists taking part in the event are:

  • TBC: Trudy Harrison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, UK Department for Transport (invited)
  • TBC: Jillian Anable, professor of transport and energy, University of Leeds Institute of Transport Studies (invited)
  • Cllr Anna Richardson, City Convenor for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, Glasgow City Council (confirmed)
  • Xavier Brice, Chief Executive, Sustrans (confirmed)
  • Richard Dilks, Chief Executive, Collaborative Mobility (CoMo) UK (confirmed)
  • Jools Townsend, Chief Executive, Community Rail Network (confirmed)
  • David Statham, Strategy Director, Go Ahead Group (confirmed)

The event is taking place in Tower Base South, Glasgow Science Centre, 5-6pm, 10 November 2021, and will be part of the UK Government’s Green Zone programme of events. Information, materials and content from the event will be made available at

[1] Department for Transport, 2021, Transport Decarbonisation Plan,

[2] SLOCAT, 2021,

[3] See CREDS, 2019, Shifting the focus: energy demand in a net zero UK,, and Climate Change Committee, 2021, Sixth Carbon Budget: Surface Transport,

[4] Department for Transport, 2021, Transport Decarbonisation Plan,