On the occasion of the Asia-Pacific Climate Week 2019 (APCW), which takes place on 2-6 September in Bangkok, Thailand, the SLoCaT Partnership calls on all countries in Asia and the Pacific to work together with national stakeholders to develop comprehensive and coherent sustainable and low carbon action plans. By leapfrogging outdated and inefficient transport solutions, Asia-Pacific countries can move rapidly to cost effective and efficient mobility solutions. More accessible and equitable cities, fewer road accidents, lower transport costs, cleaner air and greater energy independence are just some of the benefits of sustainable low carbon transport solutions for the Asia-Pacific region.
Asia-Pacific hosts the largest population amongst world regions and in the past decades, many countries recorded the most rapid economic growth. It also led to an increase of transport demand and ultimately, to congestion, rising motorisation rates and growth of transport greenhouse gas emissions. For example, passenger transport activity in China nearly quadrupled between 2000 and 2015, from 2.6 to about 11 trillion passenger-km. Despite the strong increase of transport emissions in recent years, cities in the region have the world’s largest and busiest subway systems, reinvented bikesharing and established high density cities with a potential for short walking distances. Asia-Pacific countries are also working to expand their high-speed rail networks and promote the electrification of all transport modes.
Cost effective and locally appropriate transport solutions for Asia-Pacific are available now and can bring significant local co-benefits – especially for vulnerable groups like the urban and rural poor, children and youth and older persons. Experience from across the globe has demonstrated that a comprehensive approach to avoiding unnecessary transport trips, shifting to more efficient modes and improving transport technologies and fuels can make transport systems in the Asia-Pacific region more efficient, accessible, affordable, and ultimately, sustainable.
“The Islamic Development Bank supports the implementation of sustainable transport in its member countries in Asia and many other regions of the world. In our new transport policy, we stress the need for developing transport solutions that contribute to human inclusion and population prosperity while focusing on efficiency and environmental sustainability.”
– Mohammed Alsayed, Manager, Public Private Partnership Division, Islamic Development Bank and SLoCaT Foundation Board of Directors member
Among measures to avoid unnecessary trips, the Greater Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan Area pursues transit-oriented development through the newly opened mass rapid transit system, leading to better access of the stations. Singapore supports since 2015 the transformation of streets into car-free, vibrant public spaces through its ‘Streets for People’ program. In 2018 and 2019 the Raahgiri Day, a car-free day event, expanded to more cities in India than ever before.
Among measures to shift to more efficient modes, China has been developing a high-speed rail network of over 25,000 km, successfully substituting domestic air travel. Republic of Korea added a new 61-km high-speed rail service at the end of 2016. Bus rapid transit (BRT) systems are also growing popularity in Asia. In Multan, Pakistan, an 18.5 km-long BRT system with 21 stations was inaugurated in January 2017. Moreover, Asia is home to over half the world’s kilometres of metro, with 50% of those kilometres built in the last 10 years. Jakarta, Indonesia opened in 2019 its first metro line and is working on further expansions.
“For the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) it is important to contribute in shaping sustainable urban mobility policies in Asia. The activity of passenger and freight transport is rapidly growing in Asia, resulting in a growth of transport emissions. The transformation to sustainable transport has various co-benefits and will enable a better quality of life for citizens in Asia and beyond.”
– Armin Wagner, Senior Advisor, Sustainable Mobility, Section “Energy and Transport”, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and SLoCaT Foundation Board of Directors member
Among measures to improve efficiency of transport trips in the Asia-Pacific region, India introduced in April 2018 fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles, making it the fifth country in the world with such standards for trucks. New South Wales, Australia, released a renewable energy tender for Sydney’s light rail system. Shenzhen became the first city worldwide with a fully electric bus fleet at the end of 2017 and continues by electrifying taxis and increasing the share of renewable energy in transport. New Zealand announced its Electric Vehicles Programme in 2016, aiming to reach approximately 64,000 electric vehicles on the road by the end of 2021.
SLoCaT released in December 2018 the Transport and Climate Change 2018 Global Status Report (TCC-GSR), a flagship report describing trends in transport emissions and sustainable transport policies as well as policy targets across all transport sub-sectors. An infographic based on the findings of the TCC-GSR for Asia-Pacific has been produced for the regional climate week. Please find the infographic for this and other regions here.
At the Asia-Pacific Climate Week the SLoCaT Partnership is represented by the following members:
- Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP): Ramón Cruz, International Policy Program Director, firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21): Lea Ranalder, Project Manager, Lea.Ranalder@ren21.net;
- UNESCAP: Madan Bandhu Regmi, Economic Affairs Officer, email@example.com;
The SLoCaT Partnership Secretariat is represented at the Asia-Pacific Climate Week by: Christopher Dekki, Senior Associate, Policy Advocacy and Outreach (firstname.lastname@example.org), Nikola Medimorec, Senior Researcher (email@example.com) and Alice Yiu, Associate, Policy Advocacy and Outreach (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please contact them with any questions, comments or for interviews (AR, DE, EN, KO, ZH).
SLoCaT’s work in the UNFCCC process is supported by Movin’On – our partners in the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC). Please find information about events during the Asia-Pacific Climate Week 2019 and key messages on the PPMC website.
Don’t miss these examples of positive transformation for people and planet from some SLoCaT Partnership members working in Asia-Pacific:
A cleaner and greener Lucknow with Lucknow Metro
Alstom supplied 20 Metropolis train sets and advanced signalling systems to the Indian city of Lucknow’s metro system. The Metropolis trains are part of Alstom’s greener public transport solutions which prioritises the use of recyclable materials and has lower noise and emission levels. The metro of Lucknow carries around 430,000 passengers per day and saves around 47,000 tonnes of fuel by 2023. Lucknow will expand the metro system further and the overall share of public transport usage aims to grow from 10% to 27% of all trips until 2030.
For more information, please see: https://www.alstom.com/press-releases-news/2017/9/alstom-inaugurates-lucknow-metro-in-india
Decarbonising transport in emerging economies
The International Transport Forum (ITF) initiated the Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies (DTEE) project aiming at supporting national governments and other stakeholders to identify transport measures and establish pathways to reduce transport CO2 emissions and meet their climate goals and NDCs. The project will focus on four ITF member countries: Argentina, Azerbaijan, India and Morocco. ITF will support their CO2 emissions reduction ambitions by designing a common assessment framework for transport emissions. The framework will cover several transport sectors and modes and will be tailored to each case. It includes the development of modelling tools, policy scenarios and catalogues of effective measures in close coordination with each of the countries’ national government agencies, local decision makers, academia, experts and civil society organisations.
For more information, please see: https://www.itf-oecd.org/dtee
EcoMobility SHIFT+ Tool helps cities to assess urban mobility system kicked off in China
ICLEI EcoMobility‘s “Cities SHIFT: Capacity Building and Networking for climate- and people-friendly mobility” project supports the Chinese cities Kaili and Foshan New City in inducing a shift towards more ecomobile modes of travel, i.e. walking, cycling, shared and public transport. Funded by the Hewlett Foundation and the EcoMobility Alliance, this project is implemented through three intervention points: performance measurement of the mobility system through EcoMobility SHIFT+ methodology; capacity building; and global dissemination. To curb air pollution, these cities invested significantly on electric buses in the past five years. All public buses in Kaili run on either a hybrid system or are fully electric. The project kick-off meetings in Kaili and Foshan were recently held successfully and ICLEI also introduced its EcoMobility SHIFT+ methodology, which is designed for cities to measure their performances in urban mobility and make informed decisions with key stakeholders’ engagement.
For more information, please visit: https://ecomobility.org/cities-shift/
Assessment of urban mobility using the Sustainable Urban Transport Index (SUTI)
UNESCAP has been supporting cities in the Asia-Pacific region for the assessment of urban transport systems using the Sustainable Urban Transport Index (SUTI) tool with ten indicators and evidence-based policies to enhance overall sustainability of urban mobility. The assessment was completed in Colombo, Greater Jakarta, Hanoi and Kathmandu in 2017 and Bandung, Dhaka, Ho Chi Minh City, Surabaya, Surat, and Suva in 2018. Two capacity building workshops were organized in Colombo and Dhaka to share the results and discuss ways on how to improve urban mobility. The SUTI is currently being applied to Bhopal, Tehran, Thimphu and Ulaanbaatar and assessments are still underway.
For more information, please see: https://www.unescap.org/announcement/sustainable-urban-transport-index-suti
Pune wins 2020 Sustainable Transport Award
The Indian city Pune won the 2020 Sustainable Transport Award because of its efforts on improving all sustainable transport modes, particularly with a strong focus on walking and cycling. ITDP supported the city in the development of a bus rapid transit system and the implementation of complete streets, in which streets are designed for all users, rather than only for cars. ITDP also advised on Pune’s bicycle plan which aims to raise the share of cyclists from 3% to 25% by 2031.
For more information, please see: https://www.itdp.org/2019/06/27/pune-india-wins-2020-sustainable-transport-award/
Improving the cycling environment in Hoi An
Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) supports the development of a comprehensive bicycle plan for the city of Hoi An, Vietnam. It also led to the launch of a bike sharing programme allowing citizens and tourists alike to move through the city emission-free. The activities support the city’s commitments on becoming environmentally-friendly and promoting eco-tourism. The bikeshare system improves urban air quality, road safety and the local economy.
For more information, please see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhRyNFbedL4