Topics: Energy and Low-Carbon Futures
Type: Discussion papers
Publication date: October 2020



Author: Rosanna Hine

Graphic depicting a green city, with bikes, solar panels, pedestrians and a trainThis discussion paper assesses how different travel incentive schemes affect consumer travel choices, and explores how policymakers and the private sector can support innovative low-carbon incentives to help drive down emissions in the transport sector.


  • Behavioural changes are a key dimension of decarbonising the transport sector, and incentive schemes provide a way forward for encouraging low-carbon travel choices.
  • With appropriate support and actions from government, businesses, civil society and others, low-carbon incentive schemes can increase in scale and reach a greater part of the public, leading to more significant emissions reductions.
  • Low-carbon schemes rely on parallel public, or public-private, investment in infrastructure. Financial support for businesses supplying the market with low-carbon transport alternatives may also be important.
  • High-profile travel rewards schemes such as Air Miles currently have adverse effects on emissions and are likely to require stricter regulation and corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments to facilitate a shift to low-carbon modes of transport.
  • The UK government has an opportunity to become a leader in supporting innovative low-carbon transport incentive schemes in the run-up to COP26 and as part of a green recovery from COVID-19.

Download: Tools to encourage low-carbon travel [PDF]

[Image: Si-Gal via istock]