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  • The transport sectors is responsible for approximately one quarter of all energy related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • Today's transport sector is predominantly based on combustion of fossil fuels, making it one of the largest sources of both urban and regional air pollution.
  • Recent studies estimate outdoor air pollution to cause over 3.2 million premature deaths each year worldwide (The Health Effects Institute: December 2012).
  • Transport is the cause of a multitude of additional environmental consequences, ranging from loss of land and open space to noise-related nuisance.
  • According to the World Health Organization, about 1.24 million peopledie each year as a result of road traffic crashes. 91% of the world's fatalities on the roads occur in developing countries, even though these countries have approximately half of the world's vehicles .
  • The vast majority of people living in developing countries rely on walking and cycling to meet their daily mobility needs. Some 80% of trips in African countries are still made by foot. Unfortunately, many do so under dangerous conditions, due to poor infrastructure, a lack of integrated public transport systems, and a quickly increasing number of old and ill maintained, hence highly polluting, motor vehicles sharing the same road space with pedestrians, cyclists, dunky carts etc.
  • The lack of access to clean, safe and affordable transport has its toll on local development – from access to education to food security to forgone opportunities for productive use of people’s time.


Whilst governments are increasingly active with regards to air pollution and reducing the energy used by the transport sector, there is often a large gap between the technology available and best practice know-how, as well as the networks necessary to build consensus and the actual implementation of transformative change. UNEP addresses these gaps through the implementation of four global transport programmes that promote a paradigm shift towards a less car-intensive world. UNEP also recognizes the benefits of ‘mode shifting’, which implies the change from private motor vehicle use to public transport and non-motorized transport (NMT), such as walking and bicycling, through better planning and infrastructure.