Traditional, car-centric transport planning has not only increased greenhouse gas emissions, but has also detrimentally impacted air quality, road injuries and fatalities, and traffic congestion. As the world faces the climate crisis and continues to face a growing global road safety crisis, a shift to sustainable transport is needed.
Attaining and sustaining high rates of walking and cycling — the lowest carbon modes of transport — are among the most powerful changes communities can make to achieve their sustainability, economic and social goals. Prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists over motor vehicles and ensuring safety of all road users is best achieved by investing in walking and cycling infrastructure and initiatives. Yet, walking and cycling, also known as active mobility, remain grossly underfunded, while car-centered planning and design continue to take the lead.
A recent paper from WRI, the World Bank and the Dutch Government sets out how investment in walking and cycling can be achieved to increase or sustain significant rates of active travel globally, and how investments can be improved.
Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that already have high levels of walking and cycling should especially take note: Each year approximately 1.25 million people are killed in road traffic crashes in these countries, which is around 90% of global road fatalities. Many of these fatalities are pedestrians and cyclists, due to a lack of safe infrastructure and speed management strategies. Investing in these interventions can help reduce these risks.