No country on sustainable transport track: Global mobility report

Most of the developed and developing countries were ranked low on policy goals of universal urban access, gender and efficiency

By Shagun
Published: Friday 25 October 2019
green mobility. Photo: Getty Images

Not a single country — developed or developing — is on track to achieve sustainability in the transportation sector and attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) mandated by the United Nations, according to a report by Sustainable Mobility for All (SuM4All) initiative.

The SuM4All initiative, launched in 2017, is an umbrella platform that brings together 55 public and private organisations and companies to act collectively to implement the SDGs and transform the transport sector. 

The report, released on October 23, 2019, charted a Global Roadmap for Action (GRA), which provides a catalogue of policy measures that have been used and tested around the world to achieve four policy goals — universal access, efficiency, green mobility and safety. 

It analysed mobility performances of 183 countries on these key indicators.

Developed countries outperformed developing countries on all mobility policy goals, except per capita transport-related greenhouse gas emissions, found the report.

The gap is more striking on safety and air pollution, placing a higher burden on developing countries compared with the developed countries. 

Other indicators also showed wide disparities between developed and developing countries. For example, in developed countries, universal urban access, as measured by the rapid transit-to-resident ratio, varies between zero and 95, and averages 32 kilometres per million residents.

In developing countries, the same indicator ranged between zero and 48, but averaged only four, showed the report.  

Further, the report classified all countries into four categories from A to D (‘D’ being the lowest performing), based on key indicators.

Most countries fell into the lowest performance groups for universal urban access, gender, and efficiency. 

About 68 per cent countries fell in the lowest performing category for ‘universal access’ in urban areas. Similarly, only 13 per cent were in the ‘A’ category in terms of ‘efficiency’. 

With growing urbanisation, increasing world trade and new technologies, the global mobility system is stressed. 

More than one billion people or one-third of the global rural population, lack access to all-weather roads and transport services, showed the report.

Closing this transport access gap in rural areas can connect this population to education, health and jobs, it pointed out. 

Besides, improvements in border administration, transport and communication infrastructure can also increase global gross domestic product (GDP) by up to $2.6 trillion.

Halving the pollution caused by the transport sector can help an additional 1.6 billion people to breathe cleaner air, according to the report.

The new GRA takes a holistic approach of sustainability and offers concrete policy solutions to tackle this urgency and help countries to adapt and adopt sustainable mobility, the report noted.  

The policy framework consists of 182 policy measures and six case studies (from Ethiopia, Colombia, Sweden, Spain, China and Europe and Central Asia) to show how some of these policy measures have been implemented to make progress on mobility. 

The GRA will help countries to identify gaps, crucial steps and appropriate policies to ensure that transport sector contributes to attain the SDGs by 2030. 

GRA will work in three ways to the policy agenda on mobility:

  • Charting mobility performances of 183 developed and developing countries,
  • Providing a catalogue of suitable policy measures that have been used and tested around the world to achieve any of the four policy goals,
  • Laying out a methodology to extract from this catalogue of policies those measures that are most impactful and relevant to a country’s context 

“The GRA relies on a scoring approach to filter the catalogue of policy measures. Each policy measure is assigned two scores: an impact score to measure the impact on each of the four policy goals, and a country- relevance score to measure the relevance of this policy measure by country group,” noted the report. 

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