Fifteen of the world’s leading transport and technology companies signed the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities today, pledging to prioritize people over vehicles, lower emissions, promote equity and encourage data sharing, among other goals. The companies include: BlaBlaCar, Citymapper, Didi, Keolis, LimeBike, Lyft, Mobike, Motivate, Ofo, Ola, Scoot Networks, Transit, Uber, Via and Zipcar.
sustainable urban mobility
WRI made the case that improving urban services for the under-served – including affordable housing and safe and sustainable mobility – can generate economic, environmental and social benefits for all city residents. WRI’s research and meetings helped inform the New Urban Agenda, a UN declaration signed by 167 nations that lays out a 20-year roadmap for sustainable urban development.
As many as 70 percent of urban dwellers in the Global South lack access to one or more core city services, including housing, water and sanitation, energy and transportation. This problem is poised to worsen as 2.5 billion more people take up residence in cities by 2050. The decisions taken by policymakers today will determine whether cities can grow while improving citizens’ quality of life, or perpetuate a cycle of low productivity, poverty and environmental degradation for the rest of the century and beyond.
In 2015, WRI launched the first installment of its latest World Resources Report, Towards a More Equal City, finding that meeting the needs of the urban under-served can help make cities more economically prosperous, environmentally sustainable and socially equitable. In the two years leading up to the landmark UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development (Habitat III) in Quito, WRI brought together leaders and experts to explore the opportunities and challenges of prioritizing core services and policies related to affordable housing, water and sanitation, safe and sustainable transportation, sustainable land use, low-carbon energy, accessible green spaces and parks, transparent data and governance practices, and climate resilient infrastructure. WRI worked with partners including the UN-Habitat Secretariat, NGOs, and ministries from Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK to include these priorities in the New Urban Agenda, a UN declaration setting a vision for urban development for the next two decades.
In October 2016, the New Urban Agenda, adopted by 167 countries, explicitly included safe and sustainable mobility and affordable housing as elements in making cities more sustainable and equitable. This Agenda sets a new global standard for sustainable urban development, providing a roadmap for building cities that can serve as engines of prosperity and cultural and social well-being while protecting the environment. WRI will now engage with national and subnational governments as they implement the New Urban Agenda and, through the World Resources Report, will continue to research sustainable and equitable urban development strategies.
India’s cities are clogged with cars that pollute the air. In Bhopal, WRI and partners designed a new bike sharing system that is the first in India to provide segregated lanes and that also helps link to public transportation. The system attracted 25,000 members in its first five months and is inspiring other cities to launch similar projects.
Half of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in India, where vehicle emissions account for almost a third of air pollution and severely impact health and quality of life. Bicycles, which could help relieve this pollution, are often regarded as inferior because they are widely used by poorer people. Bicycle infrastructure is a low priority, which means that biking is often unsafe. Public transportation, which could also help reduce pollution, has a persistent last-mile problem which deters people from using the system because of the distance between stops or stations and final destinations like homes or offices. As a result, many middle-income people opt to drive, resulting in increased congestion, air pollution and traffic fatalities.
WRI India researched public bicycle sharing (PBS) systems to identify key factors in successful systems. Over four years, WRI conducted capacity-building and facilitated data- and knowledge-sharing among existing and upcoming bicycle sharing systems, including the recently launched PBS in Mysore. WRI supported Bhopal Municipal Corporation in planning and designing a system around residential and commercial transportation nodes, aiming to make it easier to connect to the Bhopal Bus Rapid Transit System while improving safety for cyclists. Learning from challenges other PBS systems faced, WRI and Bhopal convened technology suppliers, financing institutions and public agencies to develop an innovative public-private partnership to help ensure the quality, usability and viability of the system.
In June 2017, Bhopal launched India’s only fully-automated PBS system with segregated bike lanes. The system has 500 bicycles and 60 docking stations throughout the city and opened with 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) of dedicated bike lanes, which help increase rider safety and save lives. In five months, more than 25,000 users have registered, more than half of them women. Plans to expand the Bhopal bike lane network to over 50 kilometers (31 miles) in the next few years would create the most extensive dedicated bike path network in India. Other PBS systems, including Mysore’s, are now exploring this feature.
New mobility services could improve the lives of all urban inhabitants. This first ever global survey finds that applying three types of new mobility services – electric, on-demand minibuses, subsidized shared rides, and trip-planning and ticketing apps – can make public transport more...
WRI Brasil's Urban Mobility Director brings expertise in engineering and communication to the creation of integrated transit networks.
Cycling is exploding in popularity in Chinese cities, but designing the built infrastructure to channel this enthusiasm remains a significant challenge.
Electric vehicles are cleaner, but they're only part of the climate solution.
Encouraging Design Practices for Sustainable Mobility in Indian Townships: A Guidebook, is WRI India’s publication that highlights the role of urban design interventions that can be applied in townships or gated communities in cities, that promote the use of sustainable modes such as walking,...
From taxi apps to car sharing, from buses to metro, from biking to walking, there are more transportation choices than ever for daily commuters. But despite the increase in mobility options, never have so many people lacked access to transportation. Truly sustainable transport is the goal.
Working with Brazil’s Ministry of Cities, WRI developed an easy-to-use method for cities to create plans for greater sustainable mobility. The method emphasizes public and non-motorized transport and community engagement, representing a major shift in Brazil’s urban planning. Successfully implemented plans will benefit millions of people in more than 3,000 cities.
In the last 15 years, Brazil’s public transport ridership dropped 15 percent, while the country’s car fleet nearly tripled and its motorcycle fleet grew five-fold. These trends exacerbate congestion and pollution and contribute to climate change. In 2012, after decades of unplanned urban growth and lack of investment in basic infrastructure, Brazil implemented the National Urban Mobility Policy, which requires cities with more than 20,000 residents to develop an Urban Mobility Plan to improve mobility and promote sustainable development. The law affects more than 3,000 cities and demands significant expertise to be successfully implemented.
Collaborating with Brazil’s Ministry of Cities, WRI drew on its experience in designing and implementing sustainable mobility projects to create a Seven Steps method for cities to use in developing Urban Mobility Plans. The method emphasizes the importance of public and non-motorized transport and outlines how to engage civil society in the planning process.
Officially endorsed and published by the Ministry of Cities in 2015, Seven Steps has been downloaded more than 10,000 times. WRI and the Ministry also offered over 20 workshops on the method, attended by representatives of more than 300 cities. WRI now provides direct support to 18 cities – home to 24 million people – in the development of their Urban Mobility Plans and projects through strategic planning and capacity-building events, training in civic engagement, and technical support on project implementation, particularly on non-motorized transport and public transport. The team also shares experiences and good practices from other cities.
Cities in Brazil are taking action to implement their Urban Mobility Plans and projects, reshaping congested, car-centric cities to favor active and public transport. As of August 2016, over 170 cities had already developed their plans. As a result, millions of Brazilian city dwellers will experience a safer, healthier, more inclusive and accessible urban environment. Examples of projects implemented to date include low-speed zones, expanded sidewalks, and new bus and cycling lanes. The process has changed the paradigm of urban mobility planning in Brazil by emphasizing community involvement from the outset and shifting from building roads for cars to building cities for people.