As cities become the engines of economic growth, they are becoming major contributors to GHG emissions. They are also faced with severe congestion, deteriorating air quality and an increasing incidence of road accidents. This is adversely impacting the health of the people and constraining economic growth. Building flyovers and road widening has often led to long run increases in road traffic and congestion. Others have built rail mass transit systems, but high costs have limited their extent and coverage. So what is the way out – what is the right direction to take?
It seems that a piecemeal approach to deal with urban mobility is not the way to go. The approach has to be more comprehensive, and multi-modal, encompassing both supply side and demand side measures. It has to go beyond a mere building of facilities to understanding linkages with land use planning, human behavior, affordability, environment, etc. It needs to incorporate institutional arrangements and also ensure financial sustainability. Thus, a comprehensive or integrated approach is called for.
Over 60 participants from 13 countries attended the first offering of the “Leaders in Urban Transport Planning” capacity-building program, organized by the Bank in collaboration with the LTA Academy on January 15-21, 2012 in Singapore. The program, supported by PPIAF, ESMAP, and AusAID, aims to develop a more comprehensive understanding of urban transport planning among senior policy makers and planners in cities, provincial governments, and national governments. It includes a self-study phase as well as the face-to-face workshop. The program received very positive feedback, especially for its case-study approach, and future programs are now being planned inFrance, Argentina and India.