Earlier this month, ITDP, in partnership with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, brought together transportation experts, elected officials and representatives from government and private transportation agencies from around the world to Washington DC to discuss shared challenges, opportunities, and replicable models and policy for national urban transportation.
Over two days, representatives from the US Department of Transportation, the World Bank, and OECD along with officials from Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, India, South Africa, and the UK identified multiple shared challenges, such as a lack of planning capacity at the local level, along with a lack of guidance for cities at the national level. They also identified some promising trends, such as the drop in car ownership and rise in transit use found in the United States and several other more developed nations despite a rise in GDP. This indicates that nations should be redirecting funding to transit, which is challenging in part because funding through national taxes was based on projected growth of motorization, so there is an immediate need for policy reform to support this trend.
The group also shared best practices, such as a new mobility law in Brazil that offers a more direct accountability and evaluation process, and allows more coordination in regional planning and funding. They also discussed that a silver lining of the international economic crisis, while it is forcing governments to fund less, it is also forcing them to fund more intelligently and effectively, and to question business-as-usual practices of primarily funding private car use.