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The most important trend affecting Urban Transport in developing countries is the simultaneous and explosive growth of population, income, and private vehicle ownership. In China and India alone, more than 500 million people are expected to migrate by 2020 to urban areas that already have one million residents or more. Motor vehicle ownership rates in many Chinese and Indian cities are rising even faster than population and income. Efforts to accommodate the needs of huge numbers of residents, while dealing with the negative impact of motorization, have created unprecedented stress on public transport systems in developing cities. Not only do they have to add services, but as a result of road congestion, they have to do so in an increasingly hostile operating environment. There is a need to significantly expand and improve public transport systems throughout the developing world, with an emphasis placed on multimodal planning and the integration of public transport with road traffic management.

The overall transport strategy of the World Bank is stated in its Transport Business Strategy for 2008-2012. Overall, the goal of the Bank is safe, clean and affordable transport that contributes to economic and social development. To address the multiple challenges of urban transport, one of the Bank's strategic directions 2008-2012 is to increase its engagement in the sector.

Based on lessons learned from cities around the world, on project experience and evaluation, as well as on international researches, the World Bank has defined a Framework for Urban Transport Projects (PDF, 2.1MB). This framework provides the detailed urban transport strategy of the Bank. It also provides operational guidance on urban transport policy options that have been used with success by large cities around the world. Alone or in collaboration with partner organizations, the World Bank assists client countries and cities in mobilizing financial resources and expertise to develop urban transport projects and policies (PDF, 966KB) that support public transport and non-motorized transport modes while promoting equity, sustainability and safety.

Additional analysis on the urban transport sector, as well as urban transport policies and options can be found in the in-depth World Bank Analysis and Strategic Review of the Urban Transport Sector (PDF, 982KB).

All World Bank urban transport projects include a "Result Framework" that enables results-based monitoring and evaluation. The framework set up for each project specifies development objectives, outcome and intermediate indicators. Those indicators are monitored up until projects are closed. Example: China GEF-World Bank Urban Transport Partnership Project Appraisal Document (PDF, 14.9MB ).


World Bank Transport Business Strategy
(PDF, 675KB)

Climate Change and Urban Transport
(PDF, 293KB)

World Bank Countries Strategy 

Asian Development Bank (ADB)
African Development Bank (AfDB)
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
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