Developing Cities Climb on Board for Sustainable Public Transport

GEF-backed Bus to Cycle Ways Projects Promise Significant Cuts in Climate Change Emissions and City-Wide Air Pollution

Third GEF Assembly Cape Town 29-30 August

Washington, 21 August 2006 - A 21st century public transport project is getting underway in Jakarta in a move highlighting growing determination to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the fast growing cities of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The nearly $200 million Indonesian Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) project in aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by over 30 million tonnes over 20 years partly by orchestrating a 30 per cent increase in passengers switching from private automobiles to buses.

The project, being funded with a nearly $6 million grant from the Washington-based Global Environment Facility (GEF), is also likely to have significant health and economic benefits for the cities and communities concerned.

These are underlined in new findings, being presented to the Third GEF Assembly taking place in Cape Town at the end of August, from similar, on-going, public transport projects.

In Mexico City, where GEF projects are supporting BRT schemes alongside cycle-ways and new traffic measures, a 10 per cent cut in transport-related smog and fine air particles are expected to achieve average annual benefits of over $750 million.

Under a second scenario (see notes to editors 1) the overall average health and environmental benefits could be even higher at some $2 billion annually.

The Marikina bikeway project, which is focusing on safe cycle ways in Manila, Philippines, plans to double the share of journeys by pedal power by 2015.

It is estimated that for every dollar of the around $2 million invested there will be a two dollar return in health and wider environmental benefits.

Such projects are also helping to boost the incomes of local, often poor, people according to the new analysis by the World Bank which is one of the implementing agencies of GEF-funded initiatives.

The World Bank’s report to the Assembly highlights Peru: ”Analysis of the Lima project shows that use of bicycles twice a day results in per capita savings of up to $7.60 per month”. (please see notes to editors 2 )

The amount of money saved is equivalent to just under 10 per cent of a Lima resident’s monthly energy bill.

Monique Barbut, the GEF’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Half the globe’s population now live in cities with the figure continuing to climb over the coming decades. This rapid urbanization is taking place largely in the developing world putting stresses and strains on often inadequate infrastructure including transports networks and leading to a sharp increase in often old and poorly maintained cars and other vehicles”.

“If we are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, clean up the air and reduce pollution, then improved and sustainable public transport is one of the keys. In doing so we can meet wider internationally agreed development goals from eradicating poverty and improving public health to reducing damage to productive agricultural land, freshwaters, forests and other economically important ecosystems,” she added.

Commenting on the new project in Indonesia Mr Sutiyoso, the Governor of Jakarta, said: “We are proud to have real change that has started by implementing BRT systems. Working with the GEF, we hope to make the Jakarta bus way the model BRT system in Asia”.

Numerous, GEF-funded, public transport are on-going or getting underway in developing country cities implemented by the World Bank or the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Others in Latin America include ones in Guatemala City, Guatemala; Panama City, Panama; Managua, Nicaragua; Calencia, Venezuela and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Several are part of the Network for Environmentally Sustainable Transport in Latin America and the Caribbean (NESTLAC)

Another is underway in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and several more are close to formal approval including one in Accra, Ghana and Hanoi, Vietnam.

Still more projects are in preparation, awaiting GEF Council approval including in China, Mali, Malawi and the Russian Federation.

While many of the projects are multi million dollar ones, some projects are being carried out under the Small Grants Programme which is managed by UNDP on behalf of the GEF family.

In the border region of Lithuania and Poland for example, a 350km signed cycle route has been developed in order to reduce car-based tourism and boost local community incomes. It is planned to scale up the project with funds from the European Union.

The World Bank Report says many lessons are being learnt from existing public transport schemes which could boost the effectiveness of new ones.

“Future projects could more effectively…..focus on strategies for dealing with other heavy polluting modes such as freight transport and high density inter city transport,” it says.

The report also suggests better use of information technology, demand management and planning and market instruments.

For example, housing and employment should be focused along transit hubs so as to shorten journeys to buses and cycle ways. Congestion charging, parking fees and tax credit for more efficient forms of transport may also be a boon.

Finally, simple measures like ensuring buses and vehicles are properly maintained and serviced can deliver significant benefits in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and local air quality.

“In Rio de Janeiro, improved operation of diesel buses has shown to result in annual savings of 40 million liters of fuel- a 12.5 per cent reduction- averting 107,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year,” says the report.

Notes to Editors

Promoting Global Environmental Priorities in the Urban Transport Sector: Experience from GEF Projects Implemented by the World Bank Group prepared by Rama Chandra Reddy and Sarah Guttikunda

1. Scenario 1: a 10% reduction in ozone and PM10 is estimated to yield an average annual health and environment benefit of $759 million (with an upper limit of $1607 million and a lower limit of $154 million).

Scenario 2: compliance with the Air Quality Standard 1 - AQS1 (50 mg/m3 for PM10 and 0.11 ppm 1-hour maximum for ozone) is expected to result in an estimated annual health and environment benefit of $2 billion (with an upper limit of $ 4 billion and a lower limit of $ 400 million).

2. Taking into account the prevailing bus fares and average per capita income in Lima, Peru, the use of bicycle twice a day is expected to result in the saving on bus fares of approximately US $ 7.6 per month (i.e., about 9% of the average per capita income). This amount is equivalent to what the households spend on the energy bill.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF), established in 1991, helps developing countries fund projects and programs that protect the global environment. GEF grants support projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants www.thegef.org

Details of the GEF Assembly are available at http://www.thegef.org/3rd_assembly/

The three implementing agencies of the GEF are:-

The World Bank www.worldbank.org

United Nations Development Programme www.undp.org

United Nations Environment Programme www.unep.org

For More Information Please Contact Mr Sarwat Hussain, Senior Communications Officer on Tel: +1 (202) 473 5690 or E-mail: shussain@thegef.org

or Nick Nuttall, Spokesperson, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), on Tel: +254 20 7623084, Mobile +254 733 632755, E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

or Kristyn Schrader, Communications Officer, The World Bank, on Tel: +1-202-458-2736, E-mail: Kschrader@worldbank.org

or Mahenau Agha, United Nations Development Programme-GEF Communications Unit, on Tel: + 41797731864, E-mail: mahenau.agha@undp.org


 

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