Developing Asia will need to invest $1.7 trillion per year until 2030, if the region is to maintain growth, tackle poverty, and respond effectively to climate change. ADB is working throughout the region to promote safe, accessible, and green transport infrastructure and services.

Transport in Asia and the Pacific: Your Questions Answered

James Leather, Director of ADB's Transport Sector Office, discusses the transport challenges in developing Asia and how ADB is helping through financing and knowledge sharing.


How would you sum up developing Asia’s transport challenge in a couple of sentences?

Transport systems across the region need large investment in both new systems and upgrading existing systems to meet the increasing demand for travel and movement of goods. Transport is an enabler of development and plays a pivotal role in inclusive and sustainable development.


How is the transition to green transport going? Any success stories that could be readily replicated elsewhere in the region?

The transport sector will decarbonize over time. Asia leads the world in numbers of electric vehicles, dominated by fleets of 2- and 3-wheelers as well as urban buses.


What are the three most cost-effective ways of reducing vehicle pollution in urban areas?

Promotion of zero emission transport such as walking and cycling is the most cost-effective solution, followed by promotion of clean public transport systems such as buses and metro rail. Cities across the region should promote non-motorized and public transport systems to improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions.


Is the region on track to meet its transport-related Sustainable Development Goals?

No. Many across the region have poor access to public transport, with only 34% of the regional urban population having ready access. This compares with 50% globally. The reality is that 630 million in rural areas live more than 2km from an all-season road. Road fatality rates in Asia and the Pacific are the highest in the world.


How does ADB include climate adaption in its transport operations and projects?

ADB assistance incorporates design standards to adapt and climate proof transport systems. Future weather conditions, higher rainfall, flooding, melting of the permafrost, and storm surges are all considered in infrastructure design.


The financing needs for transport are enormous, PPPs are sometimes appropriate, but what other creative ways does ADB deploy to boost financing for the sector?

In addition to government and private financial streams, the principles of users paying is a way to generate the necessary revenues.


How important is knowledge sharing, given the transport context and challenges are broadly similar in many ADB developing member countries?

Capacity development is one of the key requirements for improvement and operational efficiencies in transport systems. Examples are directly relevant in many cases and while local conditions must be factored in, much can be learnt through knowledge sharing.


Has ADB made headway in India in improving road safety and improving facilities for pedestrians and public transport users?

ADB is supporting the Government of India to improve road safety and reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries. ADB assistance on road safety in India covers infrastructure as well as capacity development, improved data collection and analysis, emergency response, and post-crash care.


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James Leather

Director, Transport Sector Office

Profile photo: Bertrand Goalou
Bertrand Goalou

Principal Transport Specialist

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Michael Anyala

Senior Road Asset Management Specialist

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Alexandra Pamela Chiang

Senior Transport Specialist

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R. Duncan McIntosh

Senior Regional Maritime Specialist

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David Shelton

Senior Transport Specialist (Road Safety)

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Diana Marie Hernandez-Louis

Transport Officer

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Franzella Pinky Villanueva

Associate Operations Analyst

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