Japan
Automobile
Manufacturers
Association, Inc.

Issue No. 1, 2010

Integrated approach in road transport

On the 3rd of December the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) held its annual Transport Policy Event in Brussels. Mr. Masahiko Naito, Director General within Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) took this opportunity to present to EU stakeholders the Japanese policy framework for sustainable freight transport.
While focusing on the integrated approach favoured by the Japanese government, Mr. Naito mentioned the need for a collaborative constructive involvement of all players in order to achieve sustainable mobility.

According to latest data, transport accounts for 18.9% of CO2 emissions in Japan, with road transport making up 87.3% of this figure. Moreover, freight transport emissions, which account for 35.6% of transport emissions, peaked in the 1996 fiscal year, declining ever since. This happened despite a rise in freight volume compared to 1990, which demonstrates the successful decoupling of growth in demand from CO2 emission.

As such, successful decoupling is attributed to the integrated approach which coordinates all relevant measures. The latter include: improving vehicle technology and driving behavior (e.g. fuel efficiency regulations, fiscal incentives, eco-driving), improving traffic flow (through bottleneck elimination, ITS, flexible tolls), efficient logistics (larger trucks, use of freight carriers rather than in-house distribution) and mobility management (shift to public transport, new railway infrastructure).

As regards specifically the light commercial vehicles, the fuel efficiency regulation is contributing to a 12.6% improvement compared to 2004 in fuel efficiency for light duty trucks by 2015, and a 12.2% improvement for heavy duty trucks compared to 2002. The MLIT is working for international harmonisation of fuel efficiency testing cycles. Furthermore, the ministry is promoting eco-driving techniques (which reduce fuel consumption and thus cut CO2 emissions by 10% in average) through a national campaign and by subsidising Eco-driving Management Systems for freight operators which combine on-board equipment and training.

Along with vehicle technology (the development of electric vehicles and super-clean diesel for long-range trucks) and people’s behaviour (eco-driving and greater public transport use), city planning is a further element in the sustainable freight transport strategy.

Mr. Naito concluded that the three strands - technology, behavior and planning - must evolve in a coordinated and harmonised fashion in order to have maximum efficacy and impact. CO2 reduction in road transport is indeed challenging but is feasible thorough the implementation of the best mix of policy tools.

This was precisely one of the conclusions of the seminar dedicated to CO2 reduction solutions in road transport, hosted by the global auto makers on 14 December at the COP 15 climate change conference in Copenhagen. This ambitious event gathered representatives of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the International Energy Agency, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Speakers agreed that within the transport sector, we need a collaborative, constructive dialogue between government, automakers, and other key stakeholders to meet our shared goals of enhanced energy security and reduced emissions.

Sustainable mobility is the intersection of vehicles, energy, infrastructure and consumers. Sustainable Mobility’s elements are integrated, or connected to each other, in such a way that success requires all parts to be addressed as a whole.

More details on the position of the automotive industry are available on the event’s website, at http://drivingsustainability.com/files/drivingsustainability.pdf.