Transport Work Day (May 2016) and World Bank comments on transport and the Sustainable Development Goals

By Nancy VanDycke, Aug 1, 2016.  And Pierre Guislain 3 May 2016 

Nine targets in the SDG framework relate directly to transport.  Some targets are straightforward—for instance, the SDG target 3.6 sets a goal of halving global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020.  Others are less—including the SDG target 9.1 of “developing quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all” which does not specify a clear quantitative target to be achieved by 2030.

The following four goals are embedded in the Paris Agreement and in the Sustainable Development Goals and are already at the heart of many national, international public and even private initiatives.

1) Accessibility: SDG 9 calls for equitable access for all to infrastructure. By investing in public transport projects, such as bus rapid transit, metro and railways, and in rural roads, we can help increase access to transport, especially for the bottom 40 percent of the population. In the São Paulo Metropolitan Region of Brazil, for example, 150,000 low-income families now have access to an additional 2.5 million jobs thanks to projects that expanded urban mobility, including the Sao Paulo Metro, financed by the World Bank Group. So what will it take to substantially increase investments in public transport?

2) Efficiency: Seventy percent of fuel energy is lost in engine and driveline inefficiencies. We need efficient mobility solutions that minimize use of energy, and address passenger and freight transport needs with market-oriented services.  The World Bank is helping cities, like Kolkata, develop strategies for better integrating various transport modes by maximizing accessibility while minimizing the carbon footprint of both passenger and freight transport. But how do we bring this to scale?

3) Safety: Much work remains to achieve the goals of the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety (2011-2020), which aims to halve deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes and save 5 million lives by 2020. Our interventions, under the multi-donor Global Road Safety Facility, provide countries with technical assistance and advisory services to help them make their roads safe. But this is still a drop in the ocean. How do we massively scale up such interventions?

4) Climate responsiveness: Multilateral Development Banks pledged in Paris to substantially increase their investments in low-carbon transport. But, in the end, transport is to a great extent a personal choice. What will it take for people to leave their car behind and choose low-carbon options such as walkways, biking and public transport?
These global commitments vary greatly —some relate to accessibility, others to safety, or decarbonisation. How do they add up to a comprehensive approach on mobility? Are these goals sufficient, or should others be added—for example, where does resilience fit into this framework? And transport system efficiency? Should these dimensions be excluded from action on mobility because they have not been part of a recent global agreement?  These questions show the urgency of establishing a common vision in the form of an umbrella framework for the transport. The vision would be linked to global commitments and ensure the coherence of actions in the transport space.

For transport, a global tracking framework should consist of a set of goals, indicators, and data:

  • A set of Goals that capture the various dimensions of the sustainable mobility agenda. These goals should draw on existing global commitments. For road safety, for example, the SDG road safety target should be used to define the goal.  Whenever global commitments and targets do not exist, a global target could be set in consultation with relevant stakeholders. For example, on “universal access”, there should be an agreement on one or two global targets for rural and urban accessibility.
  • Indicators that measure progress toward these goals at the country level. Efforts are underway at the UN Statistical Commission to specify the right metrics for measuring the SDGs.  Although the proposed global tracking framework should go beyond the SDGs, it should capitalize on these efforts.   A prerequisite will be clearing up the technical ambiguity surrounding the measurement of dimensions such as accessibility, inclusivity, efficiency, resilience and low-carbon.
  • Data that cover both advanced economies and developing countries to reflect the global nature of the goals. A number of existing and credible global transport databases with country-level data should be adapted to track progress. New tools with real-time data may also be needed.

Transport now has a unique opportunity to buttress its vision with accountability and thereby, like the energy sector, elevate itself in global discussions on sustainable development.  Success in setting in establishing a tracking framework will require bringing together all interested parties that are active in this space and deliver a truly multi-stakeholder initiative.

Below is the agenda for the Transport Workday on May 4, a pre-event of the Climate Action 2016 Summit, to be held at the Mayflower Hotel.

Address: 1127 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036

7:45 – 8:45 am Breakfast & Registration

9:00 – 9:15 am Welcoming Remarks (Recorded session)

  • Moderator: Ms. Melinda Crane, Chief Correspondent, Deutsche Welle TV, USA & Germany
  • Ms. Laura Tuck, Vice President, Sustainable Development, World Bank

9:15 – 9:35 am Keynote Address: Towards COP22 – Where We Are and What We Need (Recorded session)

  • H.E. Dr. Hakima El Haite, Delegate Minister in Charge of Environment, Morocco and COP22 Host

9:35 – 10.20 am Session 1: Paris, Sustainable Development Goals, and Other Global Commitments—Where Are We in Transport? (Recorded session)

Speakers will discuss how today’s transport-relevant global commitments and targets could help structure a broader vision for sustainable mobility. The focus will be on objectives across the four pillars of sustainable development: universal access, efficiency, safety, and climate responsiveness—in a dynamic global economy.

Moderator: Melinda Crane


  • John Roome, Senior Director, Climate Change Unit, The World Bank
  • Sam Adams, US Director, World Resources Institute and Former Mayor of Portland
  • Amadou Oumarou, Director Transport, Urban Development & ICT Department, African Development Bank
  • Thomas C. Heller, Climate Policy Initiative Board Chair and Senior Strategic Advisor
  • Ms. Magda Kopczynska, Director for Innovation and Sustainable Mobility, Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, European Commission

10.20 – 11.20 am Session 2A: From Vision to an Action Roadmap – Presentations Session (Recorded session)

Learn about recent efforts to shape mobility in terms of global vision, quick wins, and long-term actions to decarbonize economies. Key stakeholders representing governments, cities, UN Secretary General’s High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport, and the private sector will discuss these efforts and their roles. Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion and audience engagement.

Moderator: Melinda Crane


11.20 – 11:30 am Coffee Break I

11:30 – 12:30 pm Session 2B: From Vision to an Action Roadmap – Panel Session (Recorded session)

Based on the discussions in session 2A on global vision, quick wins, and long-term actions to decarbonize economies, reflect on key takeaways and formulate engagement going forward.

Moderator: Melinda Crane


  • H.E. Sharon Dijksma, Minister of the Environment, Netherlands
  • Mr. Juan Costa, Global Leader for Climate Change and Sustainability Services, Ernst & Young
  • Mr. Bernard Sheahan, Director Infrastructure, Internal Finance Corporation
  • Angie Fyfe, Executive Director at ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, USA

12:30 – 12:45 pm Lunch Break

12:45 – 2:00 pm Lunch Keynote: Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute (Recorded session)

Keynote address followed by hands-on working session and group discussions

2:00 – 3:15 pm Session 3:  Toward COP22: Time to Converge (Recorded session)

To help prepare the ground for COP22, panelists will discuss progress on the transport commitments under the Lima-Paris Action Agenda and under their respective countries’ INDCs and map out how these efforts will contribute towards achieving a global vision on sustainable mobility.

Moderator: Melinda Crane


  • Ms. Sylvie Lemmet, Director for European and International Affairs, Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Lima-Paris Action Agenda Coordinator
  • Mr. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General, International Union of Railways (UIC)
  • Mr. Alain Flausch, Secretary General, International Association of Public Transport (UITP)
  • Ms. Sheila Watson, Director of Environment and Research, FIA Foundation,
  • Mr Brendan Shane, Regional Director for North America, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

3:15 – 3:30 pm Coffee Break II

3:30 – 5:00 pm Session 4: How do we move forward? (Recorded session

Experience and Lessons for Sustainable Mobility: Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer, Sustainable Energy for All Partnership


  • Jose Luis Irigoyen, Director, Transport & ICT, The World Bank
  • Ms. Sylvie Lemmet, Director for European and International Affairs, Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Lima-Paris Action Agenda Coordinator
  • Ms. Jane Hupe, Chief of the Environmental Unit International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
  • Mary Crass, Head of Institutional Relations and Summit, International Transport Forum, OECD
  • James Bruce, Sr. Vice President, Corporate Public Affairs, United Parcel Service (UPS)