Feet, bicycle, buses, metros, cars, planes, ships or whatever the mode to travel and get around, there is no escaping away from transport as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is worth to mention that 8 out of 17 of those goals are either directly or indirectly related to transport. Therefore, it is important to focus on sustainable transport as one area of global governance and international cooperation.
All forms of transport mode and infrastructure play distinctive role to
keep the world moving. On the other side, cleaner transport could cut
greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet the goal of climate action.
Without suitable connection and proper prioritization between these two,
it is difficult to build resilience for the planet where currently
transport is contributing for most air pollution.
Transport sector accounts for 23% of global carbon emissions. Global leaders gathered in COP21 in Paris and set an
ambitious target of 2-degree increment. While actions need to be done
from all angles of transport, a study from The International Council on Clean Transportation Roadmap suggested that we should pay more attention
to urban transport and freight. It is crucial to keep promoting the build
of compact cities and societies that rely on mass transit. To achieve
greater results, international cooperation in global perspective is
compulsory as part of global policy-making.
One of the main challenges is in this interconnected world we cannot simply pick partners who just have the same side, or rather we have to choose them according to the common challenges even though they have adverse mindset. Every related parties, including the "villains" from the perspective of sustainable transport, need to be pulled in the same direction. For example, car manufacturers demand the increase of sales growth each year, or more flight numbers to gain more revenue from airlines. It is crucial to look the future differently that to be less reliant on fossil fuel through less carbon or even carbon-neutral technology development.
Another challenge to name, transport development is hardly seen as straightforward execution. It is mostly top-down decision with other political considerations involving complex parties from national and local executive, legislative, private players and public itself. In this way, it is worth to strive for accurate long-term planning and goals because unfortunately it is too common to see decision makers only execute short-term and easy-to-implement solutions during their defined service length. Constructing elevated road, for example, seems considerably easier than land-use reform to alleviate congestion. This challenge is also related to state budget which is limited and we need other creative ways to fund transport infrastructure.
This situation is fully realized at global level but societies at every layer should also be treated and educated locally as we live on the same planet. We need paradigm shift of how cities should be developed. In urban transport development, the urge for transit-oriented development (TOD) cannot be set aside. TOD promotes non-motorized transport, compact and mixture of land-use development with high quality public transport. Automation and electrification of vehicles and shared mobility are also rising as part of solutions to minimize emission. Moreover, bureaucratic reform is important to place the right man on the right position and promote inclusive and transparent governance. It continues with delivering best technical expertise, not just within one guy, but the whole team as well. It is not impossible to unravel complex inter-dependencies with credible commitment and collective action.