Sustainable Transport: from Bullock Carts to Bugatis: Reflections on Major Transport Issues North and South

August 16, 2001 - 12:00pm
Bldg. 90

This talk reviews quantitative and qualitative trends in urban transportation and environment, focusing on developing countries. Reviewing recent efforts to look at transportation, the talk adopts a definition of "sustainable transportation" that includes economic and environmental sustainability as well as equity as key criteria. It is argued that governance sustainability is also important if policies and technologies are to reduce the main externalities from urban transport. An important identity is introduced to relate emissions to traffic, modal share, fuel use, and fuel characteristics, from which it is argued that transport policies must confront all of these components of the identity if emissions are to be reduced significantly.  Focusing on why urban areas in developing countries have become the most polluted and congested cities in the world, the talk addresses major barriers to serious transport sector reform that would address these ills. The pessimistic tone is lifted by citing recent examples of policies and technologies that have permitted some regions in Latin America and Asia to begin to turn the corner.  It is concluded that strong actions by cities, backed by national government formulation of equipment and fuel standards and supported by private sector initiatives are all needed - together with political will - to reverse the unsustainable trends in urban transport in the largest urban areas today.   Brief comments on the US transport situation are presented.  The talk concludes with a discussion of the planned "Centre for Sustainable Transport", to be led by Lee Schipper (with support from the Shell Foundation) at a location to be determined.

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