The role of sustainable urban mobility in the vision of cities and the effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda
Sustainable urban development, equity and shared prosperity and resilience to natural disasters are at the core of the New Urban Agenda, which must take into account the growing role of cities as economic powerhouses, both at the national and the global level. We believe, based on evidence gathered in numerous studies worldwide, that the quality of urban mobility is an important determinant of how cities perform in this role:
- Efficient urban mobility creates economic opportunities and fosters social integration, it facilitates access to markets and services, while also giving residents the opportunity to build and improve their skills, improving the city human capital. Improved connectivity through public transport can also spark regeneration and improve the physical capital in cities. Urban public transport creates value for both citizens, businesses and authorities that far exceeds the costs of its provision.
- Sustainable mobility is key to reducing cities’ carbon footprint and a vital element for the success of the COP21 climate agreements. Moreover, sustainable urban travel, through public transport, cycling and walking, positively impact upon public health by reducing air and noise pollution, increasing levels of physical activity, and reducing road safety risks.
- A competitive public transport sector is correlated to more efficient use of urban space, with less built up surface having to be dedicated to moving people and goods, and can thus be used for public, recreational, or economically productive purposes.
Due to these benefits, public transport should play an important role in achieving not only the goals of Sustainable Development Goal 11, but also enable the urban dimension of the other Sustainable Development Goals.
The New Urban Agenda provides a unique opportunity to put in place and foster a supportive policy environment, enabling urban communities worldwide to reap the benefits of sustainable urban mobility. As such, UITP advocates the following points should be incorporated text for adoption.
- The quality of life in urban areas has improved significantly and cities play their role as catalysts of innovation by efficiently and smoothly linking people to places and activities.
- All citizens have access to public spaces and services, economic, employment and educational opportunities and health services in urban areas, without discrimination.
- Urban transport supports overall sustainability objectives through the delivery of resource‐efficient, space-efficient, people‐oriented, operational, clean and safe mobility; negative externalities, such as congestion and GHG emissions, and fatalities or injuries due to urban traffic are minimised.
- Sustainable transport infrastructure and services are adequately funded through contributions from users and indirect beneficiaries.
- Mobility is organised at the level of the metropolitan areas, beyond the administrative boundaries of cities, through adequate collaboration between relevant entities.
- Effective implementation of the mobility dimension in the New Urban Agenda
While local governments are best placed to develop and implement urban transport policies, policy levers are primarily in the hands of national governments. As such, we call for national policies and frameworks supporting cities, taking better account of the benefits of mobility and public transport in the urban arena. In particular we call for:
- The establishment of frameworks and instruments to enable cities to generate the adequate funding needed for public transport infrastructure and services, which are necessary for the long-term planning of urban mobility projects. Local governments should have the legal capacity to capture part of the value generated by public transport infrastructure (e.g. through land value capture, employers’ levies or business supplements), earmarking revenues to sustain their long term operation.
- The development of urban transport infrastructure funds at the national level, based on contributions from various sources, to support the public transport component included in integrated urban strategies.
- The alignment of public transport and economic development policies, which requires to empower local governments to carry out integrated strategies at the metropolitan and regional level.
- The development of frameworks that support the planning and organisation of mobility at the metropolitan level.
- International agencies should facilitate knowledge exchange and capacity building to plan and deliver sustainable urban infrastructure and mobility services. Funding institutions and programmes should support local action and leverage funding.
- Acknowledging the crucial role of data in supporting policy design, setting of targets, and appraisal and monitoring of implementation, appropriate procedures should be put in place for collection, management and sharing of data.