August 22, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: A Paradigm Shift toward Sustainable Transport

PRESS RELEASE AND MEDIA ADVISORY
Embargoed Until 23 August 2010

Contact:  Michael Replogle, ITDP in Bangkok +1(301)529-0351 mreplogle@itdp.org
Stephanie Lotshaw, ITDP in New York +1(212)629-8001 slotshaw@itdp.org
Ko Sakamoto, TRL in London +44 (0) 7827 890804 ksakamoto@trl.co.uk

Experts Call For Urgent Transport Financing Changes ASAP

(Bangkok, Thailand August 23, 2010) At a meeting today of top transportation and environment leaders from two dozen governments across Asia, key experts said changes in how transport is financed are essential if cities and nations are to deal effectively with the rapid growth in motor vehicle traffic and related environmental and health problems, including climate change.

“Current transport financing practices are unfit to meet 21st century needs,” Michael Replogle, Global Policy Director and Founder of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP). “As much as $700 billion is spent annually subsidizing motor fuels, while hundreds of billions more in public and global aid funds subsidize the growing use of cars,” he said. “This comes at the expense of investments in more pressing human needs for modern bus rapid transit, streets safe for walking and cycling, quality public space, as well as health, housing, and education,” he said.

As documented in a report by the Transport Research Laboratory released today by ITDP and the Partnership for Sustainable Low Carbon Transport, over $1.5 trillion is spent annually on transport globally, mostly in ways that exacerbate rather than solve the problems associated with traffic growth, including congestion, health-harming air pollution, accidents, energy insecurity, and climate change. The report outlines financing changes that will enable developing nations to achieve more sustainable, affordable, and equitable approaches to transportation. “These steps can help others avoid costly mistakes made by the world’s most car-dependent cities, like Houston, which will face growing challenges in a carbon-constrained world,” said Replogle. “Other cities, from Copenhagen, Madrid, and Berlin, to Singapore, Guangzhou, and Bogota are demonstrating more effective paths to transport system modernization.”

“Incentives, financial support, and national support programs, as India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, can enable cities to address transport challenges and spur sustainable development. Such programs can help move towards more integrated transport policies and planning that is less biased in favor of motor vehicle travel,” said James Leather of the Asian Development Bank.

“This report shows domestic public finance, official development assistance, and private investment flows now overwhelmingly favor rapid motorization. The modest growing resources contributed by global carbon finance programs must leverage shifts in these much larger transport financial flows if they are to be effective,” said Manfred Breithaupt of German Technical Cooperation/GTZ.

“Improved access for the transport sector to climate finance under the Clean Development Mechanism, the Global Environment Facility or newly established funds like the Climate Investment Fund can help the transport sector accelerate the replication and scaling up of sustainable, low carbon policies, programs and projects as well as promote transfer of low carbon transport services and technology,” said Heather Allen of the International Union of Public Transport Authorities (UITP). “This makes it also important to ensure that transport is included in a new climate agreement to be reached in the UNFCCC conferences in Cancun 2010 or Johannesburg 2011, enabling international support to developing countries undertaking Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions,” she said.

The report, A Paradigm Shift Towards Sustainable Low Carbon Transport: Financing the Vision ASAP, outlines key steps in financing reform: to Analyze impacts, Shift existing resources towards a sustainable direction, Add funding where resources are still lacking, and restructure pricing incentives so users Pay for the full costs of transport consumption, identifying measures to be taken by public, private, and international organizations. The report authors, Ko Sakamoto, Holger Dalkman, and Derek Palmer, of the Transport Research Laboratory, are noted global experts in transport and environmental policy.

The report will be released at the Fifth Regional EST Forum in Asia, which seeks to adopt sustainable transport goals for the coming decade, at a plenary session at 10:30 am to noon. Experts will be available for questions immediately after the session in the Riverside VII room at the Royal Orchard Sheraton Hotel, Bangkok, the venue for the Fifth Regional EST Forum in Asia.

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy is a leading international non-profit organization founded in 1985 that promotes environmentally sustainable and equitable transportation worldwide.

The Partnership for Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder partnership of over 50 organizations registered with the Commission on Sustainable Development and which have agreed to work together to advance sustainable, low carbon transport. Members include the Asian Development Bank, InterAmerican Development Bank, African Development Bank, German Technical Cooperation/GTZ, UITP, ITDP, International Energy Agency, The Energy and Resources Institute, Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities Center, UN Center for Regional Development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN Environment Programme, Korean Transport Institute, Japanese Ministry of Land Infrastructure Transport and Tourism, Ahmedabad Centre for Environment Planning & Technology, Institute for Transport Policy Studies, Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies, and Rockefeller Foundation. See https://www.slocat.net .

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