Study of rebound effects wins transport paper award

Two of the people who develop the IET's policies on transport have beaten off stiff competition from industry experts to win an award for their review of the unintended consequences of developments intended to reduce emissions.

Yvonne Hübner, IET principal policy advisor for transport, and Phil Blythe of Newcastle University, who chairs the IET's Transport Policy Panel, scooped the Best Paper Award at the IET and ITS UK conference RTIC - Better Transport through Technology, for their paper, entitled 'On the rebound: How can we meet our carbon targets in light of rebound effects?'. The event took place in London on 25-27 May.

The paper looked at the carbon and energy savings from a number of scenarios, including working from home (also known as telecommuting), buying goods online and increasing the energy efficiency for cars. 'Hidden' costs associated with these innovations, such as using time or money saved for further travel, result in a much more limited reduction in CO2 emissions than may have been predicted.

Hübner and Blythe impressed judges with their long-term analytical approach, uncovering the unintended consequences of new technologies and policies in traffic management and public transport systems.

Their paper also explored the impact of these policies and innovations on the carbon footprint from transport, which accounts for 24 per cent of emissions in the UK.

IET event producer Matthew Poole said: "From the 77 abstract papers initially received, the committee whittled these down to 40, which were then developed into full papers. It is a really tough process to get through the peer review, never mind win the Best Paper Award. It’s a huge achievement."

Yvonne Hübner said: "I am over the moon and delighted to win this prize! I was determined to show that members of staff can be engineering experts in their own right. It is great to be recognised by industry experts for the work I do with the Transport Policy Panel."

The paper was based on a study conducted by the panel. It will be publicly available through the RTIC event’s proceedings and online publishing platforms Inspec and IEEE Xplore.

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