Public transport is already at the forefront of delivering green transport solutions and is fully on track to further improving its green credentials. In urban areas, rail transport already runs almost exclusively on electricity. Rail as well as bus manufacturers are working on cutting energy use through traction efficiency improvements, energy recuperation and weight reduction. Bus fleets have been a testing ground for alternative fuels for many years and visitors to the Geneva World Congress will not have failed to notice the vast array of electric buses on display and the amount of innovation in the sector as a whole.
Political backing for sustainable modes
Fortunately, we are progressively building consensus among politicians around the world that we need to do something about urban mobility; we now have a window of opportunity to promote public transport as a viable alternative to private motorized modes. Taking bold, decisive action in favor of sustainable transport may not always be politically easy, but in the long term it can often be cheaper than the "business as usual" scenario. In cities with a high modal share of public transport, walking and cycling, the cost of transport for the community can be as much as 50 percent lower than in cities where the private car is king. What’s more, capital investment in public transport projects sparks a chain reaction in business activity, generating value to the wider economy of up to three or four times the initial investment.
Provided with the right conditions, public transport can thrive. With better public transport in both qualitative and quantitative terms, cities can cut traffic congestion, increase road safety, foster social inclusion, reduce pollution and be a motor for sustainable economic growth and job creation. The future of the world’s cities depends on it.