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Modelling transport energy demand: a socio-technical approach

Citation Anable, J., Brand, C., Tran, M. and Eyre, N. Modelling transport energy demand: a socio-technical approach. 2012. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2010.08.020.
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Author(s) Anable, J., Brand, C., Tran, M. and Eyre, N.
Opus Title Energy Policy
Pages 125-138
Volume 41
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2010.08.020

Despite an emerging consensus that societal energy consumption and related emissions are not only influenced by technical efficiency but also by lifestyles and socio-cultural factors, few attempts have been made to operationalise these insights in models of energy demand. This paper addresses that gap by presenting a scenario exercise using an integrated suite of sectoral and whole systems models to explore potential energy pathways in the UK transport sector. Techno-economic driven scenarios are contrasted with one in which social change is strongly influenced by concerns about energy use, the environment and well-being. The what if Lifestyle scenario reveals a future in which distance travelled by car is reduced by 74% by 2050 and final energy demand from transport is halved compared to the reference case. Despite the more rapid uptake of electric vehicles and the larger share of electricity in final energy demand, it shows a future where electricity decarbonisation could be delayed. The paper illustrates the key trade-off between the more aggressive pursuit of purely technological fixes and demand reduction in the transport sector and concludes there are strong arguments for pursuing both demand and supply side solutions in the pursuit of emissions reduction and energy security.