Climate change mitigation and adaptation
Transport is a major contributor to climate change and is responsible for 24% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Emissions from transport have continued to increase annually and over the past half century, they have grown faster than those from other sectors. Such increase has been especially pronounced in low-income countries, fuelled by rural to urban migration, rising populations and greater affordability as economies grow.
The 2018 International Panel on Climate Change Special Report made it clear that rapid and far-reaching transitions in transport, among other sectors, are required, if global warming is to be contained to 1.5⁰ C. Transport has great potential for GHG reduction.
By making the correct evidence-based choices now, developing economies can avoid the high emission trajectories seen in middle-income countries. The HVT programme is focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation and most of the research to be conducted in Part 2 will inform practices that will contribute to GHG reduction.
Inclusion, gender and road safety
For the one billion people in the world who live with disabilities and the one in four families affected, lack of mobility and accessible transport has a significant impact. It is closely linked with a spiral of poverty and dependence, particularly in low-income countries.
Transport is often not inclusive of women, children and other vulnerable groups. Women may be adversely affected by transport systems and women and children can be vulnerable to harassment on public transport. Moreover, some 24,000 people die and many more sustain life-changing injuries every week through road traffic crashes.
Lack of mobility has both an economic and a social impact. In economic terms, many people are lost to the workforce and are therefore unable to contribute to the national economy. The need to provide an evidence base for inclusive transport systems is compelling.
The HVT programme is rapidly building momentum and leadership in inclusive transport. It focuses on people with all types of disability, including hidden disabilities, and how to deliver safer and more gender-inclusive transport systems.
Policy and regulation (including engineering)
Good policy formulation and capacity helps to build strong and accountable institutions. Stable policy regimes encourage investors and can promote economic growth that is sustainable and has a neutral impact on the climate. The pace of change evidenced by Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and other transport operations is presenting many high-income countries with regulatory challenges. These are exacerbated in low-income countries due to limited capacity, data and evidence.
Low volume and high volume transport complement each other. The former plays a pivotal role in the rural economy and access to agricultural services and livelihood. The latter is key to national economies, with typically over 90% of freight and passenger mileage occurring on high-volume transport roads and rail.
Rapid demographic changes often lead to upgrading transport infrastructure from low volume to high volume use or increasing its engineering resilience and adaptation to climate change.
The HVT programme will undertake policy and regulatory research which will cut across the domains of low carbon, urban and long distance road and rail transport.
Technology and innovation (including data and decision support systems)
Technology and innovation are major disruptors in transport–from autonomous vehicles and electric cars to mobile applications that have transformed operations and services. The future of transport in low income countries appears to be increasingly technology driven and high income countries are leading the way. Low income countries should capitalise on transformational technology and innovation while avoiding the mistakes of middle and high income countries.
The transport sector has seen a rapid expansion of decision support systems to inform planning and policy. The use of big data can improve, among others, asset management, transport planning, demand forecasting, transport operations, regulation, technology, accident prevention, emission reduction and climate adaptation.
The HVT programme will be commissioning research that provides evidence on how to access big data and use it to deliver better decision support systems for urban and long distance transport that is cleaner, more efficient, safer and inclusive.
Fragile and conflict-affected states
The research areas to be investigated under the HVT programme are closely aligned to FCDO priorities such as strengthening global peace, security and governance, promoting global prosperity, tackling extreme poverty and helping the world’s most vulnerable.
Not all groups and communities have equal access to services and opportunities, even when infrastructure is improved. Ensuring that the most marginalised have increased access to opportunities is a key principle of FCDO’s priority to leave no-one behind. The HVT programme undertakes to implement research projects in fragile or conflict-affected states to improve opportunities for the most vulnerable.
Research uptake and capacity building
Research uptake is key to achieving the programme’s aims. Our strategy for research uptake will ensure that HVT produces a body of new, high-quality research, and that this research is used by policy-makers, decision takers, practitioners and development partners with major transport financing operations in low-income countries.
The HVT programme will drive uptake by influencing change in policy through a high-level programme of engagement and through specific uptake and capacity building activities built into each research project. We will coordinate activities, including the preparation and dissemination of publications and interaction with stakeholders and our network, and link with existing relevant research to increase its availability and accessibility.
The HVT programme will focus on two different, important areas related to capacity:
- Capacity of transport professionals and others in doing their jobs; and
- Capacity of researchers, intermediaries and research users in strengthening the research-to-policy ecosystem.
Though overlapping, it is important to keep these conceptually separated as they entail different audiences and capacity building approaches. Good capacity of all these actors is necessary to research uptake.