The sustainable mobility movement charges ahead—digitally

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Joel Kumweno is a Learning Technology Development Officer (ICT) at University of Malawi’s College of Medicine. Photo: Arne Hoel/World Bank
Photo: Arne Hoel/World Bank

The planet remains in the middle of global efforts to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, and much of the world still faces limitations on in-person gatherings. Long before these temporary restrictions reminded us about the importance of mobility, the movement of people and goods has long been a critical component to sustainable global development. This period has also been an opportunity to fully explore and embrace digital mediums in the service of sustainable mobility. During four weeks in September and October, the Sustainable Mobility for All (SuM4All) team did just that. In partnership with the World Bank’s Open Learning Campus, SuM4All drew more than 600 participants from over 140 countries to join a blended interactive learning course on a new approach to transport policy.

“Sustainable Mobility Requires a New Policy Approach Today” was designed to help equip transport policy decision-makers and mobility stakeholders with a new approach and tools to strategically address mobility challenges. Participants were introduced to SuM4All’s approach and learned about key dynamics in the transport sector, data-driven strategy and performance measurement, and tools for making progress toward the policy goals of universal (equitable) access, safety, efficiency, and green mobility. Because of the course, SuM4All’s global community grew a bit larger, and excitement looms for both what participants will do with the SuM4All approach and the program’s future capacity-building efforts.

Support for the pedagogical design, hosting, and dissemination was provided by the World Bank Group’s Open Learning Campus (OLC). The OLC represents the learning ecosystem for WBG staff as well as clients and partners.  Regularly, a variety of development lessons are packaged and disseminated as full-length courses, bite-sized nuggets, MOOCs, and virtual knowledge exchanges from the following practices to global audiences:  Sustainable Development, Human Development, Infrastructure and Equitable Growth, Finance & Institutions.  Financial support for this initiative has come from the Republic of Korea through a Trust Fund managed by the OLC.

To complement the virtual knowledge exchange’s carefully curated reading materials and multimedia content, four live sessions featured a strong set of policy experts and practitioners from the transport sector who shared their views and perspectives. These sessions explored the key drivers of the SuM4All approach as well as the debate and collaborative processes that led to the development of tools such as the Global Tracking Framework and the Catalogue of Policy Measures and products such as the Prototype Action Plan. These elements were linked with external endorsements and use cases to explore approaches from regional, country, municipal, and sectoral perspectives. Course participants were also trained in all of SuM4All’s online tools and resources like the Policy Decision-Making Tool for Sustainable Mobility, so cohort members have been equipped to understand the need and rationale for the SuM4All approach and adopt SuM4All tools for their use.

 

Dr. Nancy Vandycke, Program Manager, SuM4All, and Dr. Young-Tae Kim, DG ITF, address participants during the first live session
Dr. Nancy Vandycke, Program Manager, SuM4All, and Dr. Young-Tae Kim, DG ITF, address participants during the first live session.

 

Decision-makers and government participants found the course practical and immediately actionable. A civil servant from Latin America lauded the course as “very helpful in my everyday work…in sustainable development in the Ministry of Transport.” Another government participant felt the knowledge gained would “lend to recommendations to my Minister in tackling key areas that need addressing in our transport system.” A member of a national safety agency in Africa intended to “use the knowledge [gained] to enlighten my superiors, lawmakers, colleagues, and subordinates…in road safety management.” Other participants were eager to repackage the tools and present them to “authorities engaged in the mobility sector” in their countries at the national and municipal levels.

And—in a statement echoing much of what the SuM4All team had hoped for and felt—a participant from Trinidad & Tobago expressed, “thanks to everyone for an extremely interesting and thought-provoking course on sustainable mobility.” Additional feedback from the cohort about the need for country-specific capacity-building training has also been heard, and the team is exploring a means to deliver such training. The SuM4All team is grateful to the speakers, organizers, and participants as well as SuM4All members consulted during course design and delivery.

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