Transport accounts for more than a quarter of all energy use and one fifth of CO2 emissions around the globe. To reduce these negative externalities, regional solutions are needed today that will support sustainable development, solutions which are fuel efficient and which reduce pollution, congestion, crashes, injuries and deaths on the roads, while meeting the needs of business, people and our planet.
Against this backdrop, ESCAP advocates for sustainable transport policies, with a focus on urban transport, rural transport, road safety and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in an inter-modally balanced approach to freight and mobility needs for all. These policies aim to enhance a safer, cleaner and more affordable transport systems to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Asia and the Pacific.
Considering the ever-increasing urbanization in this region, ESCAP advocates sustainable urban transport planning that promotes public transport and non-motorized transport, especially provision for vulnerable road users. To enhance overall sustainability of urban mobility, ESCAP is extending support to member countries and cities for the assessment of urban public transport systems using the ESCAP Sustainable Urban Transport Index (SUTI). Assessment of urban mobility using 10 indicators of SUTI. enables cities to identify the policy gaps to improve urban mobility and help to track the progress towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goal target 11.2 on urban mobility. At the same time, rural connectivity is also a key enabling factor to alleviate poverty and to ensure that transport systems are inclusive. In this respect, information will be disseminated on how rural connectivity can be achieved in a more sustainable way, utilizing local people and their knowledge and adapting local materials for construction and maintenance. Policy and technical recommendations and tools on road safety will be promoted to reduce the number of road crashes in the region. In 2013, road crashes killed over 733,000 people in the region.
With the advent of information and communication technologies, severe traffic congestion and road safety issues, there is an increase in the need to apply modern technologies in transport systems. In the last two decades, ITS have already proven its potential as a key enabler of cleaner, safer and more efficient transport systems operating in an innovative manner in this region. Further, the current trends in ITS developments, such as the utilization of big data, open-access, connected vehicles, and autonomous vehicles, not only grabs the attention of road users but also the private sector, such as passenger transport providers and freight transport service providers. Regulatory agencies in the field of transport planning, infrastructure and road safety are all taking the unprecedented steps to work together to meet this growing demand. With an increasing number of ITS-related national or local initiatives, demand for new mobility services and applications are continuously growing in the Asia-Pacific region.
ITS have been regarded as one of the most cost-effective tools for urban traffic management. Countries and cities in the region would benefit from strategic initiatives to take advantage of well-established ITS policies and regional frameworks. It is expected that by harnessing state-of-the-art ITS technologies and lessons learned from within the region, the sustainability of transport systems can be strengthened significantly. ESCAP provides policy support, technical assistance and capacity building for countries in Asia and the Pacific to conceive, plan, formulate and implement intelligent transport systems.