Sustainable transport for human development, human transport for sustainable development

This report was produced by Thomas van Laake, a participant of the Young Leaders in Sustainable Transport in 2019.

This article puts forward the argument that a clearer assessment of the respective benefits and downsides of active transport and motorisation is central to achieving sustainable and inclusive development. With the global policy framework currently failing to decarbonize the transport sector in line with the Paris Agreement commitments1 and, at the same time, squandering the full potential of sustainable transport to contribute to the Agenda 2030, there is a pressing need to reconsider the way sustainable transport has been conceptualized, mobilized and put into action. In particular, it could be asked: given the transformative and durable changes needed to achieve sustainable development and stay within planetary limits, which transport pathways lead to unsustainability and therefore must be adjusted or counteracted? Accordingly, which modes or forms of transport are more or less favourable to achieving inclusive and low-carbon mobility? And does global sustainable transport policy reflect these priorities?

This report has been produced by the author as part of the “Young Leaders for Sustainable Transport” programme launched by the SLOCAT Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport and the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF). The views expressed in this report do not necessarily represent the views of SLOCAT or VREF. The author, SLOCAT, and VREF cannot be held liable for the accuracy, completeness, and correctness of the content.

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