Assessing the ecological footprint of personal mobility. A case study on the benefits generated by the promotion of electric vehicles in Canton Ticino – Switzerland
Personal mobility carries a heavy environmental burden. This is particularly true for Switzerland, where it is responsible for 33% of energy consumption and for 34% of CO2 emissions1 . The impact is however not equally distributed between the different means of transport. This study first addresses this problem by defining and analysing the ecological footprint of different common means of transport in Canton Ticino – Switzerland - and their evolution over time. Results for regions with similar social, geographical and economic characteristics are most likely to be comparable. The aim is to provide a guide to individuals in their choices when it comes to their personal mobility and to policy-makers when it comes to transportation policies. In the second part of the article we analyze in more detail the impact of electric vehicles. Canton Ticino was a pioneer in promoting - via incentives and consultancy - electric vehicles (and light efficient vehicles in general) to its citizens. A first project called VEL1 was launched in 1995 in the town of Mendrisio. It was then followed by a second project - VEL2 - encompassing the whole canton. The study of the outcomes generated by this political choice could be useful to politicians willing to promote sustainable personal mobility.