Realizing ecomobility in cities does not only improve the local transport conditions, but also offers wider sustainable development benefits as much as transportation affects every aspect of our lives. Half of the city’s energy consumption is attributable to transport and traffic congestion is a major sunk cost for economies. In addition to the congestion costs, estimates of the World Health Organization tell us that as many as 3.7 million people died in 2012 because of outdoor air pollution. If cities are able to change the means of transport of people from private cars to active transport, such as walking, cycling and using public transportation, they can yield significant co-benefits and improve quality of life of citizens.
Traffic congestion is a major sunk cost for economies. In 2013, the expenses from congestion totalled $200 billion (0.8% of GDP) across the UK, France, Germany and the USA countries and the figure is expected to rise to nearly $300 billion by 2030. (The future economic and environmental costs of gridlock in 2030, INRIX, July 2014)
Road safety and urban transport. According to the World Health Organisation, over a third of road traffic deaths in low- and middle-income countries are among pedestrians and cyclists. (Global Status report on road safety 2013, World Health Organization)
By becoming ecomobile, cities can:
- Increase physical activity and keep type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other obesity-related risks low
- Improve road safety by reducing road injuries and fatalities
- Increase energy security by reducing the exposure to high-oil prices
- Improve access to transport services, in particular to low-income groups and physically challenged.
- Reduce traffic congestion saving travel time for both people and freight
- Reduce parking spaces and allocate space to more people-centered activities
- Reduce air pollution, respiratory diseases and noise