Transport accounts for 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and that figure is growing. Cities face escalating congestion, air pollution and sprawl, hindering economic growth and exacerbating inequality. In a survey of developing country cities, WRI found up to half of residents could not reach core services and opportunities, such as jobs and education within 60 minutes of travel time.

Integrated transport refers to a multi-modal transport system that expands access to opportunities and services for users while reducing emissions. This system efficiently links different modes of travel to active and micro-mobility.

WRI supports countries, cities and other transport stakeholders to reduce carbon emissions and meet Paris agreement goals; advance high quality public transport connected to other modes such as bicycling and walking; improve informal transport that provides the plurality or majority of trips and many cities globally; foster innovations in urban mobility within the public and private sectors; and advance sustainable urban freight.

WRI provides direct technical support as well as joining partnerships with other organizations and city networks. The Integrated Transport team works on five key areas:

Climate Action

Research shows that effective, multi-modal transport systems are crucial to achieving climate goals. This shift requires support from national governments and sub-national leadership from cities and states. WRI supports the development and implementation of ambitious transport goals in Nationally Determined Contributions, key research on pathways to achieving the 1.5 degree C (2.7 degrees F) goal and showing the links between climate action and health and equity benefits.

Public Transport

WRI supports integrated public transport systems centered around key principles of providing access to jobs and services, sustainable financing for infrastructure and operations, and excellence in governance. Reimagining Public Transport, for example, seeks to create the policies, planning and financing to renew public transport in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. 

Informal Transport

In many low- and middle-income countries, “informal” transport is the most common form of travel, from minibuses to auto rickshaws and motorcycles taxis. WRI supports improving and integrating these systems to boost quality of service, efficiency and local economies. This includes mapping, electrification, convening and capacity building with operators, owners, communities and municipal leaders.


Through electrification and the advent of ever more-connected vehicles, networks and services, transport is changing very rapidly. WRI seeks to foster new mobility solutions for cities that promote equitable and effective multi-modal mobility. This work includes fostering private sector innovation through challenges, supporting digital mapping efforts and analysis of new services such as ride-hailing and bike sharing.


Increasing urban freight traffic has implications for sustainability, air pollution, road safety and street space. WRI seeks to foster sustainable urban freight policies and practices that work hand-in-hand with other sustainable transport policies to reduce emissions, increase access to goods and services, and improve road safety. Our approach includes tools such as low-emission zones, managed deliveries, improved curbside management and electric vehicles of multiple classes.

Image credit: Mariana Gil/WRI Brasil Cidades Sustentáveis