Asian Development Bank's Perspective on Sustainable Urban Transport

ADB estimates that 80% of Asia’s economic growth will be generated in its urban areas, supported by migrants in search of jobs and economic opportunities. Sustainable urban transport solutions are crucial to mitigate the growing congestion and pollution in the region’s sprawling urban centers.

Urban growth and motorization in Asia and the Pacific are placing an enormous strain on transport and mobility. Motor vehicle fleets are already doubling every 5 to 7 years. In 1980s, only 9% of the world’s 360 million motorized vehicles were found in the region. By 2030, it is estimated that nearly half of the world’s projected 1.5 billion vehicles will be in Asia.

ADB is taking a leading role in promoting sustainable transport in developing countries. Watch a video of how the 175 billion US dollars committed by ADB and seven other multilateral banks to help improve transport in developing countries will make a positive impact in the next decade.

To provide sustainable urban transport solutions, the Asia-Pacific region needs to address rapid motorization which is a major cause of congestion and pollution. At the 2012 ADB Transport Forum, experts warned that Asia must scale up sustainable transport development or face a bleak future of congested roads, pollution, ill-health and economic damage that will have ripple effects globally.

Air pollution and road accidents also have a major impact on developing Asia. In 2012, ADB and the Government of Japan launched a bicycle-sharing scheme in three Asian cities to help improve air quality and reduce the rate of pedestrian accidents and fatalities linked to many private vehicles on the road.

ADB is also providing $300 million towards a groundbreaking project that will replace 100,000 gasoline-burning tricycles in the Philippines with clean, energy efficient electric tricycles, or E-Trikes.

Various approaches to urban transport operations, including public mass transit systems in the People’s Republic of China under the Lanzhou Sustainable Urban Transport Project, are being pilot-tested.

ADB and the development bank of Latin America (CAF) have begun a joint study of sustainable urban transport projects in Brazil as a model for projects in Asian cities, and recently invited officials from both organizations to the PRC-Brazil Knowledge Exchange study tour on Sustainable Transport.

In another project in the PRC, ADB is helping to deploy public buses with lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the roads of major cities.