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One in three nations have yet to integrate public transport strategies into their climate action plans, shows the latest UITP analysis report on Public Transport & Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Of countries that do include public transport in their NDC, only half actually identify a specific budget to deliver on the actions.
As the world gears up for the 2025 renewal of NDCs under the Paris Agreement, now is the time to build capacity and support the adoption of public transport to unlock the true potential of the sector.
In NDCs countries commit to actions that fight global heating and adapt to a changing climate. If used right, they could be our way out of the world’s current climate crisis and make public transport the backbone of urban mobility. This is not just a matter of environmental urgency but also a significant step towards sustainable urban development and equity.
Ensuring reliable and affordable public transport, complemented with active mobility, is the fastest way to decarbonise people’s daily mobility. This is key to make our cities, lives and planet better.
Society will benefit from every increase in modal share to public transport through fewer road fatalities and injuries, more inclusive access to opportunities, reduced congestion, improved air quality and freeing up space in our cities.
Doubling public transport use would cut urban emissions in half.
NDCs don’t cover public transport
of NDCs set tangible targets for public transport
Mitigation efforts in the transport sector can be categorised according to the ‘avoid, shift, improve’ model.
Growing evidence shows that Avoid and Shift strategies reduce emissions and improve transport access at lower costs than Improve measures, particularly in rapidly urbanising developing countries.
At the same time, growing evidence shows that existing policies are over reliant on expensive technological innovation. These are insufficient to achieve the systemic and rapid transformation needed to meet global climate and equity goals.
The emissions reduction potential of public transport is undervalued. Doubling the use of public transport and designing cities around it to reduce car dependency would cut urban transport emissions by more than half.
It will yield a 5% cost saving, and drive industry by creating tens of millions of jobs, compared to continuing on the existing investment pathway. This is because every dollar invested in public transport, brings back fives times more into the wider economy. As a result, the investments pay for themselves.
The ideal NDC connects national and sub-national policies, includes data on current transport sector emissions and articulates ambitious emissions reduction targets and wider sustainable transport goals.
It would be accompanied by a strong national and local governance framework and long-term investments in public transport at the national and local level. It should also address adaptation measures to prepare for the changes brought by climate change and make links to the wider SDG agenda. Effective collaboration is key to delivery.
As COP28 approaches, this report serves as a critical reminder of the collective effort required to steer the world towards a more sustainable, equitable, and climate-resilient future. The integration of robust public transport strategies in NDCs is not merely a policy choice but a necessity for the health of our planet and the well-being of its inhabitants.
The right enabling conditions will be key to delivery, for which capacity building and technical assistance is an essential ingredient. The development of a template NDC for encouraging and supporting public transport and active mobility would help significantly.
Read the full report by clicking the link below:
UITP is at COP28 in Dubai to advance public transport and ensure that more countries include the sector in their NDCs.