One Planet, One plan: Strengthen public transport’s role as the backbone of all mobility services

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The climate crisis forces all of us to completely rethink the way we live. The way we move is a big part of this discussion, and it cannot be ignored.

The transport sector represents 40% of CO2 emissions in our cities. So we’re asking the world’s leaders and decision makers, what’s your plan?

On 16 September, UITP launched a global campaign addressing decision and policy makers, providing a four-step plan to reduce emissions and fight the climate crisis. With the huge support of our members’ community, we aim to ensure that each step of this plan is carefully integrated in every new climate action plan submitted by national governments in 2020. #ONEPLANet.

Three weeks after its kick off, the campaign is in full swing – time to move on to the second step of our plan to save the planet.


Mass public transport must remain firmly as the backbone of an integrated public transport system, combined with shared and on-demand modes—this redefinition of public transport is necessary to provide door-to-door seamless journeys that eliminate the need for a private car. Cities with efficient, integrated and accessible public transport systems reduce private car ownership and therefore can significantly reduce traffic congestion and emissions.

Cities account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions, with urban transport accounting for a large portion of this in many cities. These statistics show that urban mobility lies at the heart of the fight against climate change and the transition to a resource efficient and low carbon urban economy. Shifting transport to more sustainable modes is vitally important.

Did you know?

Looking at cities around the world, a lot is already being done to fight car ownership and promote the use of public transport.

Improved bus services and enhancements on the Greater Bristol Bus Network (UK) will help to reduce emissions by 42,771 tonnes over the lifetime of the project. It is one of a number of sweeping changes to the multi-modal public transport system that aims to reduce by 16% per capita emissions from road transport in the region by 2020. Construction started in early 2015 and services started in 2017.

A pilot by Ubigo in the city of Gothenburg in 2014 involved 70 paying households under real conditions for 6 months. The arrangement was that each household paid their transport costs upfront, while earning a bonus for making sustainable choices. Researchers at Chalmers University have published many papers based on the very thorough evaluation. The results clearly show that there has been a shift to more sustainable transport modes, as private car use has reduced by 50%.

In July 2016 a new 26km BRT express corridor was launched in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The city will now have three corridors expected to carry approximately 500,000 passengers per day. One of the BRT lines (Transoese) alone is estimated to generate savings of 107,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

CIVITAS is a network of cities for cities dedicated to cleaner, better transport in Europe and beyond. Since it was launched by the European Commission in 2002, the CIVITAS Initiative has tested and implemented over 800 measures and urban transport solutions as part of demonstration projects in more than 80 Living Lab cities Europe-wide. A 5-10% increase in commercial speed from buses in Stockholm, six new hybrid buses providing 30% energy consumption savings in Madrid, and a reduction of private transport use by 10% in Madeira, form just a small selection of CIVITAS’ latest achievements.

In 2018, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Atkins/SNC-Lavalin tested the hypothesis that MaaS could shift commuters out of their cars, either onto public transport or towards active travel options such as walking and cycling to work. This work took a very customer-centric and human-centred approach from the outset. 39 participants from across the city, and all working in Salford, took part in the live trial. Immersive research captured rich data from the participants, including in-depth interviews and ridealongs with passengers, which provided insights into the key day-to-day issues affecting commuters. Seven modes of travel were offered in the personalised journey plans: buses, trams, carshare, taxi, bike share, on-demand shared mini-bus and walking.

As a result, extensive analysis showed that MaaS could be a significant tool in achieving TfGM’s objectives, as 26% of participants were more willing to use public transport, and 21% were more willing to cycle and walk. This indicates that MaaS has the potential to create more sustainable travel behaviours (active travel modes and ride-sharing), which can help address the challenges local authorities face in urban areas. Six months following the trial, 82% of participants interviewed wanted MaaS back. One third of car owners wanted to give up their vehicle following the research, and the majority of participants were willing to pay an increase in their monthly travel expenses for MaaS. 

Sao Paulo in Brazil has seen various expansion projects that have encouraged use of public transport in the city. These projects included train station enhancements, the opening of 2.8km of new lines and the modernisation of equipment as well as new trains, all of which represents a 1,500% gain in CO2 avoided thanks to the network. It also saw the adding of 3 new stations which is expected to serve 60,000 passengers per day. The overall expansion will also see the acquisition of no less than 26 new trains.

Check out more MaaS initiatives in the UITP MaaS report!

Get the full four-step plan in our Climate Action Manifesto & join our global campaign!


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