UITP invited its members in 92 countries around the world to join forces during European Mobility Week Sept. 16-22 to display the "Grow with Public Transport" campaign message in buses, metros, trams, stations and online to make a coordinated call for greater support in order to obtain more and better public transport.
For the first time, the public transport sector united across five continents and 31 countries —including 21 capital cities — to speak with the same voice at the same time. Why? To show that the public transport sector is united with a common aim: making cities better places to live and work. Unless we take urgent measures to address mobility habits, the cities of the future will be gridlocked, polluted and a hindrance to sustainable growth. We need: urban policies that favor sustainable modes; stable and secure financing for the sector; a sound legal framework as well as a commitment to service innovation from the sector itself to ensure a significant and decisive modal shift to sustainable modes.
Some 90 city and regional public transport operators and authorities and industry members responded to the call and the "All Together for Public Transport Growth" campaign was visible in almost 60,000 buses, trams, metros, stations and stops across the participating networks. The campaign participants together transport 85 million passengers each day — a staggering 24 billion per year — and the campaign messages will have been seen by up to 200 million people. Using the "Grow with Public Transport" images, we wanted to give a friendly face to public transport but at the same time pass a serious message to citizens and politicians alike: that the sector is economically, environmentally and socially beneficial and that with public transport, cities are more pleasant places in which to live and work.
Developing city economies
In Europe alone, the economic value of public transport services is estimated at €130-150 billion per year. In many cities, such as Amsterdam, Barcelona and Dublin, public transport operators are the largest city employers. The campaign participants together employ almost 300,000 people, roughly equal to the combined headcount of Procter & Gamble and Santander. Public transport is a job intensive industry on both the operation and supply chain sides, employing workers with many different professional backgrounds and is constantly promoting innovation in the search for greater productivity and efficiency.
If we as a sector can double the market share of public transport by 2025, we could create an additional 7 million green jobs globally in an industry that already employs 13 million people around the world.
Each year €100 billion, or at least 1 percent of GDP, is lost to the European economy as a result of traffic congestion, which is simply unsustainable. This is not just a European problem; in the context of strong population growth in certain parts of the world, if we cannot convince people to choose sustainable modes, rising levels of congestion will pose a serious hindrance to economic growth and the sustainability of cities.
Public transport makes environmental sense. For every kilometer traveled, private motorized transport modes like cars and mopeds emit 3.5 times more greenhouse gas per passenger than public transport. If more people choose cars and mopeds to get around, current projections indicate that urban transport greenhouse emissions will rise by 30 percent by 2025. However, a massive shift to public transport would prevent the emission of half a billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in the year 2025. Despite a significant overall increase in urban trips, this would mean that urban transport emissions would be in line with the objectives of international climate negotiations.