III. Rural and interurban mobility services are low in emissions and focus on users’ needs to improve access.

Whereas the Global North has grown a strong car-dependency in rural and interurban mobility, the Global South lacks roads and transport services. For both, rail and coach services should connect rural communities and metropolitan areas through local and sprint connections, responding to different social groups’ travel needs and budgets. On-demand transport services should provide connections to larger transport hubs; safe facilities for walking and cycling that allow people getting around locally have to be deployed. The electrification of light and very light vehicles can well be combined with distributed production of solar electricity. 

To foster car-independent rural and interurban access for people, and increase connectivity of goods and markets,  systemic approaches need to replace just road building, and be designed with users’ needs in mind.

Facts and figures

Vehicle ownership rates: In Africa, the average vehicle ownership rate is 38 vehicles per 1,000 people, while it is 500 vehicles per 1,000 people in Europe and 800 vehicles per 1,000 people in North America. The global average is 173 vehicles per 1,000 people. (SLOCAT Transport and Climate Change Global Status Report – 2nd Edition)

Rural access: 58% of the total population in developing countries and 78% of the extreme poor live in rural areas. It is estimated that over 900 million people live further than two km from an all-season road. (K4D)

Walking in Global South: Walking is the principal mode of transport in most of the Global South, accounting for up to 70% of trips in some cities, particularly in Africa and Asia. In Africa, more than 9 out of 10 walked and cycled streets are below the minimum level of service. (SLOCAT Transport and Climate Change Global Status Report – 2nd Edition)

Catalytic measures

  • Set mode share targets for biking and walking, public transport, and rail
  • Integrate land-use with transport demand management to avoid need for travel (commercial activities and public services in all residential areas, compact, dense, walkable places, 15-minute cities)
  • Cluster amenities around transport hubs
  • 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
  • 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)
  • Incentivize vehicle and ride sharing
  • 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
  • Invest in low-carbon rail passenger service
  • Promote the integration of electric charging and distributed and off-grid renewable energy production
  • Digitise public services for remote access, e.g., tax, social security
  • Support teleworking through legal frameworks (labour law, investment in teleworking infrastructure…)
  • Identify critical services and develop disaster management plans