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.
From growing climate risk to COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, the compounding crises of the last few years have profoundly upended the transport sector. Enhancing the resilience of the global transport system will enable developing countries to adapt to changing global circumstances and emerging challenges.
This applies not only to passenger mobility but also to freight and logistics: drawing on lessons learned from the recent supply chain crisis, boosting the efficiency and resilience of global logistics will have an essential part to play in fostering sustainable economic growth and improving food security.
Last Updated: Sep 18, 2023