Mr. Ashish Rao Ghorpade, Deputy Director, ICLEI
The Asia pacific region has been witnessing rapid urbanization and population growth resulting into increased travel demands and the need for better urban transport systems and infrastructure. In order to curb emissions from transport sector, a shift towards electric mobility (also non-motorized transport) is being adopted by many countries in the region. Though electric mobility is at very nascent stages, the policy makers have been extensively involved in developing policies, frameworks etc. Cities like Shenzhen have been a great example of shifting towards sustainable public transport with electric buses. Secondly, many cities are relooking at transit oriented development (TOD) a concept that aims to promote public transport, walkability and reduce the usage of personal vehicles. Cities like Curitiba and Hong Kong present a successful case of transit oriented development wherein the private ownership of vehicles is comparatively less due to an efficient transit oriented development. In addition, it is also important to understand that provision of inclusive mobility infrastructure catering to the needs of all the sections of society including people with special needs has been a major priority for the city governments. With the onset of various national level programs and global commitments, the national governments have been at the forefront in integrating technology with transport sector. Most of the metropolitan city governments in the region are adopting intelligent transport systems to facilitate easy commute within the city metropolitan regions.
Safe, inclusive, clean and affordable or sustainable urban mobility is an enabler of social and economic development and is essential for cities and indeed countries for attaining their potential for economic growth. Target 11.2 of the Sustainable Development Goal (Sustainable Cities and Communities) aims to: “By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, and children, persons with disabilities and older persons”. To achieve this target countries must coordinate the development of urban, transport and industrial development policies and at the city level ensure that these policies are applied effectively. Under the Paris Agreement the “Nationally Determined Commitments” (NDCs) of many countries include commitments that relate to sustainable urban mobility.
New and emerging technologies hold promise for making progress towards Sustainable Urban Mobility. For example, data available through smart-phone use can be used for developing operational plans for public transport and mobile phone apps can enhance car /ride -sharing and bike-sharing programmes, reducing the per-capita emissions associated with travel. Modern Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) can make public transport more efficient and responsive to demand.