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sustainable transport

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.

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.

Saving Lives with Sustainable Transport

Traffic safety impacts of sustainable transport policies

Traffic safety improvements are an often-overlooked benefit of sustainable transport projects and policies. New research from EMBARQ finds that investments in biking and pedestrian infrastructure, improved mass transit systems, and measures to limit motor vehicle usage can all significantly...

This post also appears on TheCityFix.com.

In 2011, nearly 350 million people lived in Indian cities. More than 300 million new residents will join them over the next few decades to become part of the new urban India. This population boom will stress an already-pressured urban infrastructure system, especially with regard to transportation.

Indeed, Indian cities have become synonymous with congestion, noise, and air pollution. Each year, 135,000 people die in traffic crashes on Indian roads. Currently, India has 120 million vehicles, a number that is steadily growing. In 2010, outdoor air pollution contributed to more than 620,000 premature deaths. Plus, urban transport’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions are set to increase almost seven-fold in the next 20 years.

This trend is clearly not sustainable if India’s city residents want to have any sort of quality of life in the future. In order to reverse course, the country must begin scaling sustainable transport and ensuring that it is integrated with land development. This is a topic we’ll discuss extensively during next week’s CONNECTKaro, a sustainable transport and urban development conference co-hosted by EMBARQ India, WRI’s center for sustainable transport in India.

This post originally appeared on National Geographic's "City Solutions" blog.

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.

At the same time, 1.27 million people die from traffic accidents every year—about half of these fatalities occur in cities. Cities also account for about 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, much of which is transportation-related.

Cities, then, are tasked with a huge challenge: provide reliable, safe, and affordable transportation systems that can benefit both people and planet.

Meeting this challenge is a topic we discussed at length during the 10th annual Transforming Transportation conference in Washington, D.C. The two-day event looked at the various ways to scale up sustainable transportation and share lessons learned. Examples of city leadership were featured prominently throughout the event—and can serve as inspiration for how urban centers can meet transportation challenges.

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.

I had the pleasure of addressing the plenary on the bigger context for urban transport in today’s global society. With nearly a billion people being added to the world’s cities in the coming decades, how transport systems are designed will be pivotal for livelihoods, society, and the global environment. Transportation goes to the heart of how we live and what kind of future we want.

WRI's experts will continue to provide commentary and analysis of the results of the Rio+20 conference through our series, "Rio+20 in the Rear View." Check Insights this week and next for more post-Rio+20 coverage.

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.

With transportation intricately tied to so many of the global mega-trends today—climate change, traffic fatalities, city growth and congestion, poverty, and air pollution—it was exciting to see sustainable transport finally included in development discussions. Here are a few of Rio+20’s major transportation outcomes:

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?”

The following is a letter from EMBARQ’s 10-year report, 20 Years of EMBARQ: Celebrating the Past 10, Setting a Vision for the Next 10. It was originally posted on TheCityFix.

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