road transport impact on environment


Gearing up for a greener future

Like any other human activity, road transport has an environmental impact. IRU’s challenge is to lower, as much as possible, the environmental footprint of road transport, notably through increased fuel-efficiency and noise reduction.

We have many projects and campaigns in place to achieve this, which we carry out with our Members, stakeholders and NGOs. We support policies proposed within the European Union to reduce noise, lessen harmful emissions, and gradually move towards electric, rather than fossil fuel-based vehicles.

Our industry has reduced emissions by up to 98% in the last 20 years

The road transport sector is now working towards the remaining challenge of reducing CO2 emissions and has proactively adopted IRU's "30 by 30" Resolution - a pledge from the entire road transport industry to cut its CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030.

IRU 30 by 30

Some of our most recent policies can be found here:

Some of our projects and campaigns on the environment include the following:

Eco-driving – ‘The eco-effect’

Increasingly, many companies are keen to develop a fully sustainable supply chain, and this means they are now requesting data on their CO2emissions. The road transport industry needs to deliver on this data, otherwise it risks losing business because its green credentials are not up to scratch. In addition, with rising fuel prices around the world, transport operators face substantial fuel bills: eco-driving helps reduce these by up to 15%. Find out about our Eco-Driving courses for drivers and transport operators, held via the IRU Academy.


Our SmartFusion project focuses on innovation, by way of greener vehicle technology in cities and supply chains. The project is relevant for urban policy makers, users and operators, and is a way of getting cities and supply chains greener, especially in ‘last mile’ delivery. SmartFusion uses a concept known as Smart Urban Freight Design, a tool that analyses the potential success and benefits of applying green vehicle technologies to city regions and supply chains. Currently, three cities in Europe are trying out this approach – Berlin, the Lombardy Region in Italy, and Newcastle upon Tyne, in the UK. Essentially, SmartFusion will:


  • Introduce the European Green Car Initiative in last mile operations
  • Launch innovative technology for urban freight planning, vehicles and urban-interurban transshipment
  • Develop comprehensive impact assessment models for smart urban freight solutions



The IRU’s 3 “i” strategy for achieving sustainable development is the most cost-effective way to reduce CO2 emissions

  • Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of commercial vehicles has dropped 36% since 1970.  Read.
  • Eco-driving training helps to further reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 10%. Read
  • The right priority! Reducing toxic emissions (NOx) before non-toxic emissions (CO2). Read.
  • Real business incentives for reducing CO2 emissions! Read.
  • CO2 emission taxation: How can it be made effective?  Read.
  • Lower CO2 emissions by rail – ONLY with nuclear energy!  Read.
  • Buses and coaches replace up to 80 cars thus reducing fuel consumption, congestion and CO2 emissions! Read.  
  • Congestion is responsible for 100 billion litres of wasted fuel, or 250 billion tonnes of CO2 in the United States alone! Read.
  • Traffic congestion increases CO2 emissions by 300%! Read.
  • Road transport taxes should be invested in roads to reduce CO2 emissions! Read.