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Energy-Efficient Transport Could Save Cities $70 Trillion

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PARIS, France - Energy demand for urban transport is expected to double by 2050, but the latest report from the International Energy Agency sees potential savings of up to US$70 trillion through energy efficiency.

"Energy efficiency is what we have termed the hidden fuel, and it is a key component in our efforts to achieve energy security, energy affordability, and environmental sustainability," said Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency. The 28-member, Paris-based organization works within the OECD framework.

Policies that boost the energy efficiency of urban transport systems could help save as much as US$70 trillion in spending on vehicles, fuel and transportation infrastructure between now and 2050, said van der Hoeven Wednesday, introducing the findings of the latest IEA research report.

The report, "A Tale of Renewed Cities," presents examples from 30 cities to show how transport efficiency can be improved through better urban planning and travel demand management. Extra benefits include lower greenhouse gas emissions and higher quality of life.

The report comes at a critical time. More than half of the world's population, about 3.5 billion people, now lives in cities.

Rising wealth and increasing vehicle ownership in urban areas has led to shifts away from more fuel-efficient modes, such as public transport and cycling. In some cities, the share of private motorized transport increased by more than 20 percent over the past 20 years, and it is still rising in most developing regions.      

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