Have you ever been to a foreign city and not been able to figure out the names of the stations or directions of that city’s metro? Did you feel completely lost and upset with whoever designed the system? Maybe as a parent you have tried taking a bus with a stroller and gave up because you were not able to take it up the steep stairs? Or maybe you had to walk on the road among traffic and cars because the sidewalk was blocked by construction or parked cars?
The book ‘Stories I Stole’ was written by the English author Wendell Steavenson, who lived in the South Caucasus’ – mainly Georgia – from 1998 to 2001. This was a turbulent time, with great hardship and limited law-and-order. It makes for a fascinating read, since so much has changed in Georgia in these ten years. But one thing has not changed in the region – landscapes littered with ‘Large Abandoned Objects’ (LAOs).
I have recently returned from CarbonExpo in Cologne, along with most of the unprecedented 70-person Bank delegation we sent this year. For the uninitiated, CarbonExpo is an annual, oh, call it a high-energy trade fair, where carbon finance project developers, financial institutions, auditors, policy makers, and international organizations meet to strike deals and innovate ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and finance those reductions.
During a recent World Bank retreat, my colleagues and I visited Baltimore, a city that has developed some interesting, low-cost, innovative strategies to improve governance and increase transparency in policymaking. These strategies could be applied in many of the developing cities where we work, and, I will admit, stumbling across this initiative was akin to finding hidden treasure.
Mega-events such as the Olympics and the World Cup can be catalysts not only for huge investments in infrastructure, but also policy changes that may induce positive behavioral changes. Transport operations and mobility are particularly important for mega-events as they involve much planning and long-lasting infrastructure. The question, however, is how to keep the long-term development vision and legacy in mind while meeting the shorter-term mobility needs of a mega-event (typica
I just returned from São Paulo, perhaps the third biggest metropolitan area in the world with a population of 18 million and an endless vista of apartment towers and commercial buildings in almost any direction from the center. The traffic problems are large and reported in the daily newspapers as the peak number of kilometers of the main road network in congested conditions (equivalent to LOS F). This indicator tends to range between 100 and 200 km for any given day. The resources that
Over time I have developed certain ‘home truths’. Among them is that the size of the country is inversely proportional to the length of the immigration and customs form, and the aggressiveness of dogs encountered when running is a reflection of their owners. In both cases this was proved true during my first mission to Kiribati. A tiny country in the Pacific ocean some half-way between Sydney and Honolulu, it has the largest immigration and customs form imaginable.
Vehicle scrapping and recycling programs are not new. In fact, last year, The Economist put together a neat comparison of subsidies provided for vehicle scrapping programs across the world.
What is new, is how the Egyptians have organized their own national scheme. Rather than place the onus mostly or entirely on a government agency to provide incentives for participation, the Egyptian scheme is – I dare say – a model of public-private partnership innovation.In the fall of 2008, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif charged the Ministry of Finance with organizing vehicle scrapping scheme, initially targeted at taxis and other mass transport vehicles.
The Egyptian mass transport fleet is aging – the average age of a taxi in Egypt is 32 years old, more than 64,000 microbuses are greater than 20 years old, and nearly 70% of all registered vehicles in the country are greater than 15 years old. The aging fleet is prone to frequent break-downs and, because older vehicles are typically unequipped with modern catalytic converters, low quality emissions.
The transport sector, particularly in developing countries, plays a critical role in global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies – not only because transport sector emissions comprise nearly a quarter of global emissions today, but also because without pre-emptive action in developing countries, transport sector emissions may increase particularly rapidly, and the costs of future retroactive mitigation activities may be prohibitive.