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  • Transport is at the heart of the World Bank’s mission to fight poverty and boost shared prosperity. With the right policies and resources, transport has the power to propel economies forward, help take on climate change, and connect people to essential services like health care or education.

    The COVID-19 crisis has only underscored the importance of transport: over the past year, the sector has been instrumental in taking essential workers to their jobs, keeping the economy afloat, and kickstarting global vaccines distribution. But the current situation has also exposed the vulnerabilities of the transport industry, with operators around the world facing severe disruptions and massive revenue losses.

    As the world emerges from the pandemic, rethinking mobility is now a priority to enhance countries’ resilience and create the conditions for a greener, more inclusive recovery.

    Reducing the climate impact of transport is among the most urgent priorities. The sector contributes 23% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions—a figure that could reach over 30% within the next decade under a business-as-usual scenario. Ambitious solutions are needed to lower the carbon footprint of existing and new transport systems. The most significant opportunities to move the sector toward climate sustainability include shifting policies and investments in the design of public transport networks, vehicle efficiency, demand management, regional development, and land use.

    Road safety is another critical challenge the transport sector must address. Road crashes claim over 1.35 million lives every year, 93% of them in developing countries. An additional 50 million road users are seriously injured annually. Road fatalities and injuries reduce the GDP of low and middle-income countries by an estimated 1% to 5%. Halving traffic fatalities could add 22% to selected countries’ per capita GDP over two decades.

    Sustainable transport also means inclusive transport, and the sector has a long way to go when it comes to promoting equitable access. Around the world, one billion people still live more than 2km away from an all-weather road. One in six women in the world do not look for jobs out of fear of harassment in transit.

    Expanding sustainable transport options, especially in low-income or vulnerable communities, will be a powerful way for countries to bolster human development and social inclusion. 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.

    In addition to human development outcomes, transport investment brings considerable economic returns. A transition to sustainable mobility could deliver savings of US$70 trillion by 2050, when considering full transport costs, including vehicles, fuel, operational expenses, and losses due to congestion. Better access to roads could help Africa become self-sufficient in food and create a regional food market worth $1 trillion by 2030.


    Journalists who want to learn more about our work in transport can contact Xavier Muller, External Affairs Officer at .

    Last Updated: Jun 30, 2021

  • To harness the full potential of sustainable mobility, the World Bank is helping client countries develop transport infrastructure and services that are safe, green, efficient, and inclusive:

    • The World Bank is the largest provider of development financing for transport globally. Over the last decade (FY11-FY20), transport commitments totaled $49 billion across 339 transport projects in 93 different countries.
    • On average, 70 advisory services and analytical reports are delivered every year, covering a wide range of topics from decarbonizing transport to sustainable mobility for all, rural connectivity, modal shift, human capital, gender, and climate change.

    To achieve greater impact and results, the World Bank Group has been hosting several high-profile initiatives that foster effective coordination between global transport stakeholders:

    • Sustainable Mobility for All (SuM4All) supports the implementation of transport-related SDGs and catalyzes innovation across the sector by developing: (1) a common vision for sustainable mobility, articulated around clearly defined global objectives; (2) a Global Tracking Framework to measure progress toward sustainable mobility in general, and the SDGs in particular; (3) a global program of actions and financing; and (4) a global governance structure to support the implementation of the first three components.
    • The World Bank-led Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) provides funding, knowledge, and technical assistance to scale up road safety capacity and delivery in developing countries. GRSF is actively working to support the Second UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, which aims to reduce the number of road deaths and serious injuries by at least 50% between 2021 and 2030.
    • The World Bank’s Africa region hosts the Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP), a partnership of 41 African countries, eight regional economic communities, continental institutions (African Union Commission), UN agencies (UNECA), public and private sector organizations, international development agencies and organizations. SSATP’s work program focuses on regional integration, urban mobility, and road safety—three pillars that will lay the foundation for efficient, safe, and sustainable transport systems across Africa.

    Journalists who want to learn more about our work in transport can contact Xavier Muller, External Affairs Officer at .


    Last Updated: Apr 12, 2021

  • In Quito, Ecuador, the World Bank has been supporting the construction of the country’s first metro line through two successive loans totaling $435 million. By moving passenger traffic from private cars and diesel buses to modern electric trains, the project will save an estimated 65,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. Once integrated with the other transport modes, the 23-km metro line will provide 377,000 daily riders with a fast, reliable way to access jobs and essential services, offering seamless integration with Bus Rapid Transit corridors and other key public transport routes across the city. The line is expected to become fully operational by February 2022.

    The Senegal Transport and Urban Mobility project (PATMUR) financed the rehabilitation of a 173-km stretch of road that cut the travel time between Dakar and Saint Louis in half for about 1,000,000 people. Most importantly, the project provided a significant boost to the area’s tourism, industrial, and agricultural sectors. Mobility in the suburbs of Dakar improved significantly through the paving of 26.7 km of urban roads and the rehabilitation of National Road 1 between Rufisque and Bargny, one of the most strategic transport corridors linking Dakar to surrounding communities, the port, and the new airport. The project also focused on job creation through the High Intensity Labor Method (HILM): some 607 young people—23% of whom were women—were trained in road paving and were able to earn an income by working on the project and other similar programs around Dakar.

    The Morocco Urban Transport Program aims to improve the mobility of residents in targeted cities and expand access to economic opportunities and essential services. New bus corridors in Rabat, Marrakesh, Casablanca, and Agadir will directly benefit 130,000 people once completed. This is combined with institutional reforms to increase central capacity to monitor the sector, ensure that sufficient financial resources are allocated to support urban mobility, strengthen inter-municipal coordination, and improve local capacity to plan and deliver urban transport infrastructure and services.

    In Nepal, the Project for Strengthening the National Rural Transport Program significantly improved connectivity for rural communities in the participating districts, which are home to over 60% of the country’s poor population. Designed to enhance the availability and reliability of rural road infrastructure, the program focused primarily on upgrading critical road sections as well as improving routine and periodic maintenance. The majority of the program was executed through Road Maintenance Groups (RMGs) and harnessed Information Technology for effective monitoring of works spread across numerous locations. The project generated 6.5 million workdays of employment, including 3.4 million workdays for rural workers through RMGs, with 64% (about 1,726) of the workforce consisting of women and 80% from disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

    The Pacific Aviation Investment Program (PAIP) is a series of projects designed to improve critical aviation infrastructure and strengthen regulatory compliance of international air transport in participating Pacific Island Countries: Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, and Vanuatu. Major elements of the $204 million program include the upgrading of and maintenance of critical airport infrastructure, including runway and apron rehabilitations, improvements to airport terminals, aeronautical equipment (navigation aids, runway lighting), fire and rescue equipment, as well as technical assistance with strengthening of policy and regulatory capacity through master planning, reviewing air services agreements and developing aviation sector strategies.

    The Western Balkans Transport and Trade Facilitation Project strives to boost economic growth through deeper regional integration among the six Western Balkans countries and neighboring EU member states. Key results from Phase 1, focusing on Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia, will include setting-up National Single Windows and streamlining operations at border crossing points; deploying Intelligent Transport Systems along Corridors X and VIII; supporting transport corridor performance monitoring and management; and upgrading critical rail level crossings for safe and efficient rail transport within the region. The second phase, covering Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro, is currently under preparation and will build on lessons learned from the first phase.

    Journalists who want to learn more about our work in transport can contact Xavier Muller, External Affairs Officer at .


    Last Updated: Apr 12, 2021


In Depth

Sustainable Mobility for All

SuM4All is a global coalition of transport stakeholders working together to transform the sector and move toward green, safe, efficient, and inclusive mobility.

Global Road Safety Facility

The facility provides funding, knowledge, and technical assistance to help low-and middle- income countries address the global epidemic of road deaths and injuries.

Africa Transport Policy Program

As African economies continue to grow and expand, the transport sector becomes even more critical for promoting a people-centered development agenda in the region.

Designing a Way Out for Improving Urban Transport Services

This report describes how severe congestion, poor air quality, increases in road accidents, and growth in energy consumption are resulting from rapid motorization in cities around the globe.

Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility

The Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) supports governments to develop infrastructure projects with private sector participation.

Additional Resources