Asian Cities Must Adopt Sustainable Transport Systems - ADB

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Cities in Asia should transform their transport systems to provide growing urban populations with greater mobility while ensuring a healthy and attractive urban environment, says a new book published jointly by the Asian Development Bank and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The illustrated book, Changing Course in Urban Transport, highlights the transport challenges in Asian cities, including the growing trend towards motorized transport – a major factor behind the rise in global greenhouse gas emissions. The publication showcases low-carbon transport from around the world, which, if replicated on a large scale, could make Asian cities greener and more livable.

“In many Asian cities, rapid urbanization has been accompanied by rapid motorization which has led to increased congestion, carbon emissions, pollution, health and social problems, and lost economic opportunities,” said Bindu Lohani, ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, at the launch of the publication. “But with sustainable transport systems, cities can regain their competitive edge, minimize their environmental impacts, and become more attractive places to live and work.”

The book highlights the importance of urban planning, traffic demand management, public transit, non-motorized transport, streetscape design, road planning, low-emission vehicles, and freight planning to promote sustainable transport in mushrooming cities.

ADB, through its Sustainable Transport Initiative, is supporting an increasing number of urban transport projects. These are designed to make transport accessible, affordable, environment-friendly and safe, especially for the disadvantaged and vulnerable members of society. These include metro rail projects in Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, and Bangalore, a bus rapid transit system in Lanzhou, and an upgrade of the public transport system in Kathmandu. In 2011, ADB provided $592 million to help develop public transport projects in Asian cities.

Separately, ADB and other multilateral development banks (MDBs) which lend some $8.4 billion annually for climate action in cities have agreed on a new partnership to combat global warming. The agreement, announced today on the sidelines of the Durban Climate Change Conference, will see MDBs develop a common approach to cities in assessing climate risks, standardizing greenhouse gas emissions inventories, and encouraging consistency in climate financing.