Friday, August 10, 2012

Sustainable Transportation Initiatives in Three Cities

As reviewed in an August 7 Press Release Michael Replogle and Colin Hughes of the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) authored the fourth chapter, "Moving Toward Sustainable Transport, in Worldwatch's book State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity, published in April 2012. In their State of the World chapter, Replogle and Hughes highlight three examples of this approach, revealing how it improves transport in urban areas:

Bogota, Colombia

Rapid bus transit in Bogota, Colombia: In 2000, Bogota opened TransMilenio, a BRT system with nine routes extending 54 miles (about 87 kilometers) throughout the city. By 2011, TransMilenio's ridership was up to 1.7 million passengers daily and the fare for a single trip was 1,600 Colombian pesos (about US$0.85).

London, UK

Congestion and emission charging in London: Drivers who enter congested central London pay a "congestion charge." The drivers have the option to pay £10 (approximately US$15)in advance, or they must pay the charge within a certain time after driving through the congested streets, or be fined up to £120 (almost US$184). The charge generates funds for public transportation, and bus use is up 6 percent during charging hours. A similar Low Emission Zone covers heavy goods vehicles across the whole city, charging more polluting trucks and buses £100-200 per day (approximately US$150-300) to drive in the area.

Hangzhou, China

Public bicycles in Hangzhou, China: With a population of 6.7 million, Hangzhou is one of China's fastest-growing cities. This growth comes with rapid motorization. In 2008, Hangzhou launched a bike-share program that currently provides 60,000 bikes. The program has alleviated pressure on roadways and is accessible to all because of its pricing scheme----the first hour of bike use is free and the second hour is approximately US$0.15. The city reports that 90 percent of total trips are made in that first free hour, and more than 25 percent of trips are made during peak commuting times.

Innovations like these can improve travel options for the urban poor while reducing harmful emissions caused by transportation. "With additional international support and funding under the MDB commitment at Rio+20, developing countries will find it easier to shift their development of transportation from emphasizing rapid motorization and car-dependence to instead fostering public transport and lower emissions transportation options," Replogle said. "This moves us towards the kind of support we called for in our State of the World 2012 chapter."

Worldwatch's State of the World 2012, released in April 2012, focuses on the themes of inclusive sustainable development discussed at Rio+20, the 20-year follow-up to the historic 1992 Earth Summit, which was also held in Rio de Janeiro. The report presents a selection of innovations and constructive ideas for achieving environmental sustainability globally while meeting human needs and providing jobs and dignity for all.

The Worldwatch Institute is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. The Institute's State of the World report is published annually in more than 18 languages. For more information, visit www.worldwatch.org.

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