More than half the world’s population now lives in its cities. The urban population continues to grow,
especially in developing countries. As a result, the demands on the transport system are also growing, often at
a faster pace than the population. Unfortunately, the increasing demand for travel has had adverse consequences
on the health and well-being of the people and the economic efficiency of cities. Severe congestion,
air pollution, traffic accidents and a fast rising energy bill have become serious concerns for public policy.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the urban transport sector have risen rapidly with adverse impacts on
climate change. There has been an explosive growth in the consumption of non-renewable petroleum fuels.
Nearly 1.2 million people are killed in road accidents every year. And the increasing difficulty of accessing jobs,
education and healthcare has had adverse effects for the urban poor.
Unfortunately, urban transport planning is very complex and, to be effective, urban mobility solutions need
to be multi-dimensional. Planning for urban mobility is not just about good construction of facilities, but also
needs to integrate numerous aspects, among others land use planning, traffic management, human behavior,
safety, gender, disability, affordability, and the impact on jobs. A comprehensive and holistic approach is
needed, requiring a combination of both supply side and demand side measures. Most importantly, it must
accommodate the needs of the poor.
All of these require a supporting policy framework that seeks to maximize the travel demand it can accommodate
while minimizing the resources needed to do so. Such a framework would take into account optimal land
use patterns and energy efficiency in transport systems. Few countries have so far formulated such policies
and, in the absence of such a guiding policy, inappropriate interventions continue to be made.
It is in this context that this guidebook has been developed by the World Bank as a possible support to formulating
policies for urban transport. It highlights the key policy issues that need to be considered, the options
that exist and the factors that influence a choice between the options. It recognizes that situations differ from
country to country and even from city to city. Choices depend on the local context and so a “one size fits all”
cannot apply. Recognizing this diversity, it refrains from making prescriptions. Its target audience is senior
policy makers and recognizing their time constraints, it is short and crisp and also keeps the discussion simple.
It is also useful to students of transportation and public policy as it helps highlight fundamental issues for
Marc Juhel Sector Manager, TWITR
Rohit Khanna Program Manager, ESMAP
This guidebook has been written by a team led by O.P. Agarwal,
Senior Urban Transport Specialist at the World Bank, and comprising
Gouthami Padam, consultant, and Cholpon Ibraimova, program
assistant. The team worked under the guidance of Jose Luis Irigoyen,
Transport Sector Director, Marc Juhel, Transport Sector Manager, and
Rohit Khanna, ESMAP Program Manager.
This guidebook follows up on an earlier paper of November 2012
that was written jointly by the World Bank and the Asian Development
Bank for the G-20. The previous paper was reviewed by several
colleagues within the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank,
who gave very useful comments. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation
and Development and the International Transport Forum
(ITF) also gave very valuable feedback. The authors wish to thank Ajay
Kumar, Arturo Ardila Gomez, and Thierry Desclos, all from the World
Bank; Zhi Liu, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (ex–World Bank); Alexis
Robert, OECD; and Jose Viegas, Mary Crass, Steve Perkins, and Phillipe
Crist, all from the ITF.
This follow-up effort was able to incorporate several suggestions
received from the reviewers at that time that could not be incorporate
into the November 2012 version due to time constraints. This version
of the guidebook has received additional comments from three
practitioners with several years of experience in formulating and
implementing policies. These have been extremely useful, as these
individuals were able to contribute the perspective of those for whom
this guidebook is primarily intended. Thanks are due to Anil Baijal,
I.P. Gautam, and Ramon Arevalo for these comments.
Sincere thanks are due to Prof. Jose Gomez-Ibanez of the Harvard
Kennedy School of Government for his extensive and helpful comments.
The authors are grateful to him for having taken the time to
review this guidebook despite his busy teaching schedule.
Lloyd Wright and K. Sakamoto of the Asian Development Bank made
significant contributions to the November 2012 version, and the
authors appreciate their help.
Thanks are also due to Jose Luis Irigoyen, Marc Juhel, and Rohit
Khanna for their constant guidance and advice; to Ivan Jaques, a
constant source of strength and advice; and to Sam Zimmerman, the
fountain of information on urban transport, who greatly supported
this effort by contributing several pieces. The team would especially
like to thank Marc Juhel, Rohit Khanna, Arturo Ardila Gomez, and
Ajay Kumar for reviewing the draft a second time.
The financial and technical support provided by the Energy Sector
Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) is gratefully acknowledged.
ESMAP, a global knowledge and technical assistance program
administered by the World Bank, assists low- and middle-income
countries in increasing their know-how and institutional capacity
to achieve environmentally sustainable energy solutions for poverty
reduction and economic growth. ESMAP is funded by Australia,
Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Lithuania, the
Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the World
The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper
do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Bank or the governments
it represents. The authors are solely responsible for them.