Addressing rebound effects in transport policy – Insights from exploring five case studies

Although rebound effects are well-known as a phenomenon, the question of how to avoid and minimize rebound effects have largely been ignored in practical policy.

In this study, five concrete cases of measures and policies in the transport sector illustrate primary effects, rebound effects and possible strategies to avoid or minimize rebound effects.

The cases were explored and analyzed in a series of workshops involving in total 15 researchers and societal actors. In addition to the net impact of primary and rebound effects, factors such as the time horizon and the reversibility of the effect may also be important for the evaluation of measures and policies.

To detect and avoid rebound effects – and to assess the effectiveness of a policy – a system perspective is needed rather than a narrow sector focus. When designing measures, broad system-wide strategies or specific measures addressing particularly emission-intensive activities tend to be most effective for avoiding rebound.

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