Transforming Transportation 2015 explores smart solutions for sustainable, prosperous cities
2015 is a pivotal year for the global sustainable development agenda. For the first time, cities will be a focal point and sustainable transport features clearly among the solutions. Global agreements expected over the next 12 months will lock in the choices we have about how to live, learn, work, and play in our cities for decades.
The recent Transforming Transportation 2015 conference focused on how to take advantage of these moments and catalyze action that will make our cities better places to live. From the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) expected in March 2015 to the chance for a binding international climate agreement at the COP21 climate negotiations in December, today’s decisions will set the tone for global development for years to come.
Transforming Transportation 2015, co-organized by EMBARQ—part of the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities—and the World Bank, took place from January 15-16, 2015 and convened mayors and city leaders, former heads of state, entrepreneurs, and transport and urban development experts to explore how smart, connected urban mobility can improve quality of life in cities. Panels, presentations, and discussions throughout the event focused on the role of transport in combating climate change, cities and the sustainable development agenda, road safety, supporting thriving urban economies, and more. More than 880 people gathered at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC to make this year’s conference the largest in the event’s 12-year history. An additional 1,100 tuned in online from 96 different countries and the conference hashtag – #TTDC15 – generated over 5,000 tweets, reaching as many as 16 million people worldwide.
What we need for sustainable cities and transport: Lessons from Transforming Transportation 2015
A message from former president of Mexico Felipe Calderón—who opened proceedings with a keynote speech on cities in the New Climate Economy—resonated throughout the conference. Calderón called for a shift towards cities that are “connected, compact, and coordinated,” an approach that could save cities US$3 trillion in infrastructure costs by 2015 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 billion tons by 2030. Watch a video of Calderón’s speech below:
He was followed by thought leaders like Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera, Zipcar founder Robin Chase, World Bank Vice President Rachel Kyte, Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Urban Development Shankar Aggarwal, and Bloomberg Associates Principal Janette Sadik-Khan, each of whom shared their thoughts on how cities can become more socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable through urban mobility. Mancera, for one, highlighted Mexico City’s pioneering mobility law, which prioritizes pedestrians and cyclists over private cars and guarantees the right to mobility. Kyte emphasized the need to shift the discourse on cities and climate change and focus on the potential for sustainable urbanization to improve quality of life. Aggarwal referenced the ambition and innovation of India’s new mission to build 100 smart cities by 2024. Finally, road safety champion Sadik-Khan stated, “We need to make our streets as friendly for people as our highways are for cars.”
Transforming Transportation concluded with a call to action for making cities safe, prosperous, and sustainable through urban mobility. The World Bank’s Jose Luis Irigoyen emphasized that the transport community needs “one voice and clear targets for action” to make the make the most of upcoming opportunities for progress. The World Resources Institute’s Ani Dasgupta echoed this, adding that “momentum is global, but action is local.” With a year of opportunity for building global consensus ahead, action now to make cities connected, compact, and coordinated can help build a sustainable future and improve quality of life for generations.
Transforming Transportation 2015: Smart Cities for Shared Prosperity was co-organized by the World Resources Institute and the World Bank in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), CAF Development Bank of Latin America, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), and the Partnership on Sustainable Low-Carbon Transport (SLoCaT), and with the support of PTV Group and TransitCenter. More information and a full agenda at www.transformingtransportation.org
About EMBARQ at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
EMBARQ, Sustainable Urban Mobility by WRI, catalyzes and helps implement environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable urban mobility solutions to improve quality of life in cities.