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City Transport: It’s About Moving People, Not Vehicles

Rachel Kyte's picture
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The number of vehicles on the world’s roads is on pace to double to about 1.7 billion by 2035. Pair that with a rapidly urbanizing population – six in 10 of us are likely to live in cities by 2030 – and the world’s cities have a transport problem in the making.

It’s also an opportunity, one that cities, particularly the fast-growing urban centers in developing countries, must take now.

Those that build efficient, inclusive urban transport systems can connect their people with jobs, health care, and education. They can reduce congestion, and they can limit carbon emissions that are contributing to climate change.

This is about basic quality of life and more. Fourteen percent of climate changing greenhouse gases come from the transport sector, and 90 percent of urban air pollution is generated by motor vehicles. That air pollution cuts into cities’ productivity and is blamed for the deaths of 800,000 people every year. Another 1.2 million people die from traffic crashes, 90 percent of them in low- and middle-income countries. The infrastructure and policy choices cities make today will lock them into urban development patterns for decades to come, patterns that will either facilitate healthy, economically viable cities or create cities marked by pollution, congestion, and climate change.

Take a drive in Lagos and you’ll see the challenges cities face – and what they can do about them. Lagos, with some 11.2 million people, has locked-in traffic patterns and congested roads that can get thick with pollution. In 2002, the city decided to do something about it. With support from the World Bank, it began work on a bus rapid transport system, the first is sub-Saharan Africa. BRT commuters in Lagos today have reduced their transit time by 40 percent, and fares have dropped 30 percent on average, despite rising fuel costs. Much more must be done, but we’re seeing progress.

Transforming Transportation 2013Next week, transportation experts and city leaders from around the world will be meeting at the World Bank for Transforming Transportation 2013. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will join World Bank President Jim Kim for a discussion about shaping the future of urban transportation that you can watch live online. We’ll all be learning from one another’s experiences and ideas during the conference and challenging cities to do better. I encourage you to also share your experiences and ideas with the participants through our World Bank Live website.

The meeting is also about financing the transport systems that the world needs. Last spring at Rio +20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the World Bank and the other large multilateral development banks committed $175 billion over the next decade for improving sustainable transport. Government and development experts around the world must now determine how to use that money, and their own funds, in ways that will result in greener, more inclusive, and sustainable cities for the future.

Rachel Kyte
Vice President for Sustainable Development
www.worldbank.org/sustainabledevelopment
Twitter: @rkyte365

Comments

I'd argue that it's not about moving people or vehicles, but about providing access to goods and services. Cities that are compact and have good mixed land-uses and outstanding pedestrian and non-motorized vehicle access are those that are moving the fewest people or vehicles and also turn out to be sustainable.

Submitted by SAT GOEL on
When a person uses his vehicle to travel, only one percentage of energy used is consumed for transporting that person. The balance goes to transport the vehicle, efficiecy of the engine and the transmission system. The efficiency of the internal combustion engine is still very low and very little attention is paid to this subject. Mass transportation system is the need of the hour.

Submitted by chimaobi okolo ... on
Look at transportation simply as conveying something or someone from a point of departure to his destination. There are two locations indicated; "point of departure", and "destination". Take for instance, one line of movement, from home to place of work and back (I.e. Not regarding the daily runs and many stops). A civil servant living in a congested environment, struggles with other persons to leave his environment and head to work. After the buzzle, he makes it to the congested central business area and struggles again in the line of traffic just to get to his office. This same incident happens after work hours on his way home and the cycle continues on a daily bases. Indeed, I question the productivity of such a person. Having gone through stress before reaching his place of work, his energy and productivity is reduced. In a case where this happens to a major city or cities in a country, the productivity level of that city and country becomes less than optimum. This affects the entire economy. In addition to creating new access roads to solve the increasing rate of urbanization, governments should de-centralize the work environment and balance the distribution of homes and offices in the state and country. The government should develop new living environments and sell new homes, especially in developing countries with vast land space. Affordable houses should be built and mortgaged to workers in the state (such as is being implemented by the ministry of housing in Enugu State, Nigeria). This would immensely improve transportation in this rapid increase in urbanization in developing countries.

Pollution has created more trouble in our day to day life. Here people are more traveling with the help of their vehicles. As the number of vehicles increasing the traffic is increasing and leading more amount of congestion. So we need to review our traffic rules and regulation in order to stop congestion. And people so be more careful about their environment. Protecting the environment should be people's main aim.

Submitted by Dianne on
A large no. of vehicle in the future can be a source of a lot of inconvenience to the generation at that time. By 2035 There will be one vehicle either 2-wheeler or 4-wheeler for every 5 person. It will be very amusing to know as by that time half of the energy source left today will be consumed up. a large worry and problem will be created. NO space and fuel for the vehicles will get the economy and society both in a large problem. Dianne

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