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Climate Change Dilemma: Technology, Social Change or Both? An Examination of Long-Term Transport Policy Choices in the United States

This paper reviews the prospects for emissions reductions in the US passenger transport sector and the technical, economic, social, and political barriers to developing policies that focus solely on technology or pricing. Using scenarios, it shows that, in order to meet stringent emissions targets over the coming half century, technology and pricing policies may have to be supplemented by strategies to change lifestyles and land uses in ways that effectively reduce car dependence. In the medium to long term, bold initiatives that treat vehicle users as citizens capable of shifting their interests and behavior could form kernels of social change that, in turn, provide opportunities for removing many of the social and political constraints.