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The Transport and Communication Bulletin for Asia and the Pacific is a peer-reviewed journal that is published once a year by the Transport Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The Bulletin is a medium in which knowledge, experience, ideas, policy options and information on the development of transport infrastructure and services in the Asia-Pacific region are shared. The main objectives are to stimulate policy-oriented research and to increase awareness on the policy issues and responses of the transport industry. The Bulletin attempts to widen and deepen the debate on various topics of interest and concern in the transport sector. For the 92nd issue, the Bulletin focuses on the theme of “Environmental Sustainability of Transport Systems”.

Passenger and freight volume is expected to increase by over 100 per cent between 2015 and 2050 in Asia and the Pacific due to continuous economic development, population growth and motorization. As a result, its environmental impact, including local and global pollution, will be significant over the next few decades. Transport sector accounts for 25 per cent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fuel consumption, while road transport alone is responsible for 75 per cent of total emissions. As a key emitting sector that is still heavily dependent upon fossil fuels, the transport sector plays a critical role in reducing global climate change impact and to limit global warming to 1.5°C. 

Asia is leading in many fronts towards environmental sustainability and decarbonization of transport such as the adoption of low carbon transport strategies; development of mass transit systems in cities; shift to renewable energy resources, including the transition towards electric mobility, and prioritizing active mobility. However, the pace is not fast enough to decarbonize transport by mid-century as committed by many countries. Therefore, transport policy makers, planners and stakeholders from the region need to accelerate actions in the transport sector to further enhance the environmental sustainability of transport systems. 

The adoption of a low-carbon development path, use of renewable and alternate energy, development of mass public transport system, prioritization of electric and active mobility, and enhancement of efficiency of transport operations are some of the policies reflected in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of Asia-Pacific countries. Analysis of transport systems using the Avoid-Shift-Improve framework can offer some policy insights towards environmental sustainability, especially for urban passenger transport. As countries in Asia and the Pacific are subject to increasing extreme weather conditions, raising sea level and other climate change impact, the resiliency and adaptation of transport infrastructure, systems and services will also need to be better understood and support by appropriate policy frameworks.

Each of the six papers selected for this issue contribute to different aspects and novel perspectives on the theme of “Environmental Sustainability of Transport”. They present various approaches and case studies from the region and beyond in addressing the environmental challenges of transport in Asia and the Pacific.

The first article by Miole, Joshi and Mohanty examined the policy guidelines and frameworks that would be necessary to increase the resilience of Asian cities through more robust transport systems. The linkages between sustainable and resilient transport were discussed supported by case studies from Japan, China, Singapore, and the Philippines. The authors also argued for a greater need to integrate transport resilience into the Sustainable Development Agenda, especially to better prepare countries for disruptive changes due to climate change, disasters and pandemics.

The second article by Sinha and Gupta presented the impact of mobility applications on transport mode in Delhi, India. Through a latent class cluster analysis of mobility application users, the authors observed different types of user groups and their characteristics, including those with a very high dependence on public transit and intermediate public transportation, a very low dependence on private vehicles, and no usage of taxis or app-based taxis. The characteristics of users who extensively rely on various modes of mobility or depend more significantly on private automobiles were also observed to better understand the implementation of effective sustainable transport policies that could affect transport mode choices. 

The third article by Turbaningsih, Nisa, Mutaharah and Imron is focused on the development of green port strategies that can support sustainable maritime transport in emerging countries in Asia, including China, India and Indonesia. The importance of financial feasibility was highlighted, as well as the matching of green port strategy with port capacity and demand. Specific policy recommendations for port operators and countries were also derived from the research analysis. 

The fourth article by Kant, Sinha and Gupta demonstrated the impact of off-hour freight strategy on the distribution of urban freight in Jaipur, India. This paper applied an agent-based modelling and simulation framework to evaluate stakeholder’s behavior and to examine how fleet utilization, vehicle kilometers traveled, and total deliveries made could be affected by off-hour freight strategy. Urban freight policies that can improve the efficiency of freight deliveries will ultimately improve the sustainability of the system.

The fifth article by Fukuda, Tsumita, Wahyulinata, KikuchiI, and Schreiner analyzed activity patterns in Jakarta, Indonesia, to understand the impact of teleworking on transport demand and CO2 emissions. Policy insights were developed for the implementation of a teleworking policy that can reduce congestion and CO2 emissions through changes in activity patterns, traffic flows, mode share, and vehicle kilometer traveled. 

The final article by Rosandi and Chatterjee assessed the involvement of non-state actors in the development and implementation of sustainable transport policy in the Mekong countries, within the scope of global policy making, governance and institutionalism processes. This article examined policies that are developed collaboratively, between state and non-state, national and regional actors, as well as the roles played by various non-state actors in achieving sustainable transport. Non-state actors have the potential to increase the sustainability of the sector through collaborative governance.

The editor is grateful to all internal and external reviewers who have contributed to the review process in preparation of the Bulletin.