IV. Walking, cycling, and public transport get priority

Walking, cycling and public transport are the most efficient modes in terms of use of space, energy consumption, and emissions – and have the biggest social value per dollar spent. They provide access that is affordable for everybody, increase local economic activity, promote health and strengthen community living. Investing in public transport and safe and secure spaces for cycling and walking that connect neighbourhoods, commercial centres and suburbs is to be made a priority, particularly for rapid recovery. Modes of micromobility are to be fit into the urban transport system so they can close existing service gaps effectively, and provide additional travel options.

Facts and figures

Return of investment: Based on a case study for Denmark, society gains DKK 4.79 (USD 0.73) for every kilometre cycled while it costs DKK 5.29 (USD 0.81) for every kilometre driving with a car. (Read more: Cycling Embassy of Denmark)

Contribution of cycling to transport decarbonisation: Cycling is ten times more important than electric cars to achieve net-zero urban transport. People who cycle on a daily basis emit 84% less carbon emissions from their daily travel than those who don’t. (Read more: The Conversation)

Spending on roads vs. on public transport: The US follows a 80-20 split (80% on highways and 20% on public transport) as their general approach on transport funding. This outdated approach makes it impossible for states and local governments to deliver high-quality public transport. (Read more: T4America)

Job creation for sustainable mobility: Investments in walking and cycling infrastructure hold the highest potential to multiply employment opportunities. An investment of USD 1 million in pedestrian and bike infrastructure creates 8 to 22 jobs. In comparison, the same investment in conventional car manufacturing creates 6 to 9 jobs. (Read more: SLOCAT Transport and Climate Change Global Status Report)

Cycling infrastructure expansion: As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic many countries and cities decided to expand cycling infrastructure. In Europe, over 2,500 kilometres of cycling lanes will be added (Read more: ECF). In the Philippines, nearly 500 kilometres of bike lanes in three metropolitan areas. (Read more: BusinessWorld)

Catalytic measures

  • Set mode share targets for biking and walking, public transport, and rail
  • Implement car-reduced residential areas
  • Finance transport investments based on their contribution to low-carbon and sustainable mobility
  • Invest in affordable and decarbonised public transport and level of service
  • Enhance security and service of public transport for women
  • Inform transport planning by user needs and data
  • Use digital tools for enhanced usability of transport services
  • Provide open access to transport data, safeguard privacy
  • Allocate more safe space to walking and biking
  • Allocate dedicated space to public transport
  • Prioritize and promote active modes, micromobility and public transport (e.g. dedicated lanes, improved availability of services and facilities, awareness and marketing of active modes, micromobility and public transport)
  • Introduce 30 km/h speed limits in urban areas
  • Manage and price parking (e.g. on street charges, workplace levies, parking maximums, pavement parking bans)
  • Regulate urban access to city centres (e.g. zero emission zones in city centers, access based on emissions)
  • Transition paratransit operators into formalized organizations
  • Regulate paratransit as a profession and economic activity
  • Combine paratransit professionalization and fleet renewal for electrification
  • Integration of paratransit with public transport systems for feeder and last mile services
  • Promote digital application to enhance paratransit efficiency
  • Adopt and enforce air quality regulations
  • Price CO2 and integrate the transport sector to emission trading schemes
  • Set Vision Zero/Safe System Approach targets for road safety
  • Provide on-demand services, where needed, in urban, suburban, and rural areas
  • Make user groups part of transport planning in rural communities
  • Mandate eco-driving training programs for commercial drivers
  • Introduce workplace green travel plans (including but not limited to parking charges, car sharing, incentives for public transport use, teleworking, low carbon travel policies such as rail over aviation, etc.)
  • Engage major traffic generators (e.g. major employers, stadiums, business parks) in sustainable mobility schemes (flexible mobility services, parking cash out, parking levy…)
  • Develop business models for fleet electrification