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Transport is fundamental to supporting economic growth, creating jobs and connecting people to essential services such as healthcare or education. But in many developing countries, the benefits are not being realized. One billion people still live more than 2km away from an all-weather road, where lack of access is inextricably linked to poverty. One in six women globally do not look for jobs out of fear of harassment in transit. Road crashes claim over 1.35 million lives every year, 93% of them in developing countries.

There is also an urgent need to reduce the climate impact of transport. Domestic and international transport already contribute 20% of global GHG emissions. As populations, economies, and the need for mobility grow, GHG emissions from transport could increase by as much as 60% by 2050 if left unchecked.

When it comes to transport, developing countries face a dual challenge: ensuring everyone has access to efficient, safe, and affordable mobility, and doing so with a much smaller climate footprint.

Ambitious investments in solutions such as high-quality public transport, well-connected cities, non-motorized transport options, and cleaner technologies can help achieve development progress and climate targets simultaneously.

To move the transport sector toward climate sustainability, the World Bank is working with countries to implement approaches that:

  • Avoid unnecessary motorized travel for people and goods;
  • Shift to cleaner transport solutions;
  • Improve the efficiency of transport infrastructure and services; and
  • Strengthen transport systems to enhance resilience.

Expanding sustainable transport options, especially in low-income or vulnerable communities, is a powerful way for countries to bolster human development and social inclusion. For example, in rural Morocco, the enrollment of girls in primary school increased from 17% to 54% when their access to roads improved. In Lima, an additional 100,000 jobs will be available to people living in the poorest districts thanks to the introduction of a new metro line.

Global crises, including the COVID19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, have only underscored the importance of resilient transport. The pandemic triggered massive disruptions to global transport and trade supply chains and undermined the financial viability of air and urban transport operators. But despite these challenges, the sector remained instrumental in taking essential workers to their jobs, keeping the economy afloat, and enabling global vaccines distribution.

As the world emerges from the pandemic and absorbs the impact of the war in Ukraine, it is critical to enhance the resilience of transport and trade supply chains so that developing countries can adapt to changing global circumstances and emerging challenges.

Journalists who want to learn more about our work in transport can contact Erin Scronce, Senior External Affairs Officer at .


Last Updated: Sep 29, 2022

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