At COP28, HVT called for transport in low-income countries to be not only sustainable but more inclusive, so that it is safe and accessible for all. At our third COP session on 8th December entitled ‘Greener Transport must be Inclusive Transport’ our panel of experts explored why and how the move towards greener, resilient transport must be a just transition that does not leave anyone behind.
Any further delay in a concerted global action to address climate change will miss the brief, rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future. And transport emissions – far from reducing – are growing faster than other economic sectors. But the drive to greener transport is a complicated balance with very different challenges for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) compared to wealthy ones.
As current transport systems come under strain from climate change, it is the disadvantaged groups such as old, disabled, women and girls who suffer the most with transport that does not meet their needs. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we need to move toward climate resilient development, with solutions that involve marginalized groups, prioritise equity and justice and reconcile different interests, values and world views.
In the session, a side event held at Birmingham University’s Dubai campus, the latest research from HVT was discussed as part of a wider debate asking questions such as:
- What benefits does a just transition offer for tackling climate change?
- Who is responsible for a just transition?
- What are the current obstacles for inclusive transport that is greener and resilient to climate change? And how do we overcome them?
HVT Team Leader Neil Ebenezer introduced the panel, starting with Sonal Shah, an independent consultant and founder of The Urban Catalysts. Sonal spoke about the inequalities women and girls face as they move around Indian cities, and the impact of those inequalities. She also spoke about the opportunities and gender gaps in the transition to electric mobility systems, drawing on new research for HVT to find innovative and evidence-based solutions to these challenges.
Safe, accessible mobility infrastructure is a key solution to the climate crisis by providing people with more opportunities to shift away from fuel-intensive transport towards walking and cycling. But, as transport consultant Gail Jennings explained, in Africa, people who walk and cycle are often excluded from planning and from easy access to amenities. She advised on ways in which decision-makers could ensure that extending better access to everyone does not mean increased high-carbon motorization.
Steering the discussion towards the more than one billion people living with disabilities, the majority of whom live in LMICs, Bright Oywaya, a road safety consultant and advocate who lives with a disability herself, spoke about the extent to which this large group of people in her home country of Kenya experiences the lack of inclusive, safe and fair transport, and what the move to low carbon would mean in this context.
Steve Cinderby, Senior Research Leader at the Stockholm Environment Institute then considered ways in which liveability and climate resilience could be combined in urban infrastructure design, to build cities where mobility options were improved for everyone.
The question of how transport authorities could pursue both decarbonisation and inclusivity objectives through public transport provision was answered by Oluwaseun Sonoiki, Legal Counsel at Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA. She introduced the LAMATA Cleaner Mobility Initiative, which includes the piloting of E-buses, CNG buses, electrification of railway lines and promotion of a non-motorised transportation policy. Through the HVT EMPOWER project, funding new research to tackle sexual harassment in sub-Saharan public transport, LAMATA is also working towards an inclusive transport system.
Paul Curtis, Director at Vectos-part of SLR works with LAMATA and spoke more about building capacity amongst key stakeholders to make public transport safer for female passengers, citing the SHE CAN tool, part of the EMPOWER project, which has been applied in Nigeria to address sexual harassment on public transport.
This and other HVT sessions from COP28 will be available to watch on our YouTube channel soon.