ADB calls for Asia to promote sustainable urban transport

December 07, 2011

Asian cities need to change their urban transport systems to ensure a sustainable and ecologically-friendly environment. That's one conclusion from a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) book that notes the growing trend in motorized transport, a major producer of greenhouse gases.

The book, Changing Course in Urban Transport, by the ADB and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Germany's international development agency, highlights examples of low-carbon transport from around the world.

“In many Asian cities, rapid urbanization has been accompanied by rapid motorization which has led to increased congestion, carbon emissions, pollution, health and social problems, and lost economic opportunities,” said Bindu Lohani, ADB vice-president for knowledge management and sustainable development. “But with sustainable transport systems, cities can regain their competitive edge, minimize their environmental impacts, and become more attractive places to live and work.”

The book highlights the importance of not only low-emission vehicles but also urban planning, traffic demand management, public transit, non-motorized transport, streetscape design, road planning and freight planning to promote sustainable transport in mushrooming cities.

ADB, through its Sustainable Transport Initiative, is supporting an increasing number of urban transport projects, which are designed to make transport accessible, affordable, environment-friendly and safe. These include metro rail projects in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Bangalore, a bus rapid transit system in Lanzhou, and an upgrade of the public transport system in Kathmandu.

In 2011, ADB provided USD592 million to help develop public transport projects in Asian cities.