Rail News


November 12 , 2021

Public Transit Use Must Double to Meet Climate Targets, City Leaders Warn

November 10, 2021 (US)

As COP26 events focus on electric vehicles, a new report calls for $208 billion in annual public transit investments to decarbonize transportation. 

With the transition to zero-emission vehicles headlining a slate of transportation-related events at the COP26 conference in Glasgow on Wednesday, a chorus of city officials, labor leaders and policy experts are urging climate negotiators not to lose sight of public transit as a key tool for decarbonizing the transport sector. 

“If national governments do not back mayors and invest to protect and expand public transport then they won’t be able to meet their own carbon targets,” Mark Watts, executive director of C40 Cities, a network of sustainability-focused global mayors, said in a statement. 

Underscoring that warning is a new report by C40 Cities and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) that states global public transit use must double by 2030 if nations are to meet the 1.5°C emissions targets necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. To meet that goal, the organizations are calling for $208 billion in annual investments for the nearly 100 cities in the C40 network, which together make up about 25% of global GDP.

The report highlights how electrifying transit fleets, expanding bus and rail infrastructure, and improving system accessibility would not only slash transport emissions and air pollution but also boost quality of life and economic opportunities, particularly for low-income urban residents. It estimates that those investments would create 4.6 million new jobs in a sector badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. And it points to examples of ambitious infrastructure expansions in several C40 member cities, including Austin, Texas, where last year voters approved a $7.1 billion plan to add new rail lines, bus rapid transit and all-electric vehicles to the city’s transit offerings; and Jakarta, Indonesia, which is on track to provide access to transit within 500 meters of 95% of residents’ homes by 2022.

“Without a revolution in public transport the world will miss the bus on tackling climate change,” Anies Baswedan, governor of Jakarta, said in a statement. “Time is running out.”


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