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sustainable transport

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This paper provides questions and answers to some of the important concerns city officials have as it relates to bike sharing, especially as a new generation emerges including dockless and electric bikes, scooters, and increased private sector involvement. It seeks to unpack some of the challenges cities are currently facing, including concerns over regulation, public space management, safety and proper infrastructure, and service reliability, among others.

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Rio de Janeiro has long been known for its traffic congestion and lack of affordable, accessible public transit. Now, in celebration of its 450th anniversary and as the host city of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, city leaders are beginning to transform Rio's image into one of a sustainable mobility leader.

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Brazil spent billions of dollars on World Cup infrastructure, and many are understandably questioning the long-term benefits these investments will bring to local communities.

While many of these criticisms are justified, if one looks beyond the shiny new stadiums—namely, to the city streets—a more positive story emerges. World Cup-related investments helped finance sustainable transport systems that will benefit Brazilians long after the final whistle blows.

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Two weeks ago, EMBARQ, the sustainable transport and urban development program of the World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Bank co-hosted Transforming Transportation. The two-day event concluded with the announcement of Transport Delivers, a global campaign calling city and national leaders to better integrate sustainable transport into policy discussions on development and climate change. If the campaign’s objectives are fully implemented, they could be a game-changer for today’s cities – as well as tomorrow’s.

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A new publication from EMBARQ explores the existing literature on the safety impacts of sustainable transport – primarily from the United States and Europe – and adding examples from Latin America and South Asia. The evidence suggests that projects that reduce traffic—such as congestion charging—and those that improve infrastructure—such as high-quality mass transport systems—can have a positive impact on traffic safety, in addition to numerous other co-benefits.

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City leaders face incredible pressure to deliver sustainable transportation. Cities now account for more than half of the world’s population—by 2050, they will hold 75 percent of us. These people--increasingly from the middle class--will need ways to commute to work, travel, and carry out their livelihoods.

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Who said urban transport was boring? Certainly not the 1,100 people who recently gathered in Mexico City at the 8th annual International Congress on Sustainable Transport. The event, organized by colleagues at EMBARQ Mexico, brought together leading government officials, practitioners, academics, and other professionals to explore lessons and find new solutions to global transportation challenges. I was amazed by the energy and excitement that pervaded the event and by the ideas and innovations emerging in this field.

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As we look to make sense of the Rio+20 conference that concluded last week, we can confidently say that transportation drove its way to the top of the sustainable development agenda. It’s a far departure from the last global development conference 10 years ago in Johannesburg, when transportation was conspicuously absent from the agenda and the resulting Millennium Development Goals. After the Rio+20 conference last week, transportation is now poised to become a significant part of the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals, which are beginning to take shape as one of the conference’s major outcomes.

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EMBARQ and its partners are pleased to host the annual Transforming Transportation event on January 26-27 at The World Bank in Washington, D.C. This year’s conference will focus on big ideas to scale up sustainable transport best practices in cities worldwide. To learn more, see the agenda for Day 1 and Day 2. Highlights include a keynote address by Jaime Lerner, former Mayor of Curitiba, on the “Future of the City: Challenges of Scaling Up Good Practices in Urban Transport,” and a keynote address by Chris West, director of Shell Foundation, on “Innovations in Scaling: What Lessons are Available for the Transport Sector?

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