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Sustainable Urban Transport

The balance between ever-increasing demand for the urbanisation and sustainability of the transport system has made planners think for both economic growth, care for the environment and improving quality of life (Attard, & Shiftan, 2015). Thus, contributing positively to the urban community, sustainable urban transport will attempt to provide employment, education and leisure at the same time will have to counter to externalities such as pollution, congestion, traffic crashes, noise (Attard, & Shiftan, 2015). Planners often use the term sustainability, environmentalists and policymakers in physical as well as socio-economic terms (Attard, & Shiftan, 2015). They have to address urban issues such as health, road safety and social exclusion and long-term issues such as energy demand and climate change (Attard, & Shiftan, 2015). These trends and policies are easily identifiable as sustainable, depending on technical and scientific uncertainties about the future (Attard, & Shiftan, 2015). The world is currently facing a dilemma between the use of fossil – fuel transport path and replacing private vehicles with public transport having unconventional sources of energy (Low, 2013). It will take time and long-term strategies to avoid challenges and overcome them with success (Low, 2013).

Urban transport plays a vital role in the spatial and socio-economic development of the cities and regions (Banister 1995). It becomes key for the attractiveness of a particular place and widely depends upon the quality and the quantity of the transport infrastructure (Banister 1995). However, due to changing globalised economy, already established transport links are not adequate (Banister 1995). In a study of urban traffic conducted by Mitchell and Rapkin, it is argued that the land-use pattern directly affects the urban traffic and can be quantified for the required urban infrastructure (Banister 1995). The land-use pattern observed in cities, changes with the movement of people and businesses from the centre to the periphery into the suburbs and so is the journey to work pattern through public transport (Banister 1995). The suburbanisation is due to the land-use pattern, which reflects in lack of affordable housing in the city centre (Banister 1995). However, there has been an increase in the income levels, and public transport is being replaced by increased car ownership proving it to be unsustainable and resulting in further suburbanisation and abandonment of the city centre (Banister 1995).

In the recent past, there has been a realisation in many cities that more urban road construction has let to more traffic congestion and unconstrained growth, particularly in demand for travel by car (Banister 1995). Such demand is proving to be unsustainable in term of cost imposed on people, cities and the environment (Banister 1995). Mitigation measures have taken, such as increasing petrol cost, restricting access to the city centre and effective use of the planning system to direct the new development within the specified area in question (Banister 1995).

Furthermore, sustainable urban transport has indigenous issues related to culture, history and quality of public institutions which can be fixed within the local context (Low, 2013). Other than these, there are global factors such as environmental problems, political institutions, economic ties, technological innovation, communication and information exchange (Low, 2013). In contemporary times the division between local and global influences have become less clear and are on the highest priority (Low, 2013). Efforts, both from developed as well as developing countries are taking positive initiatives with the support of international institutions like united nations and world bank.


Attard, M., & Shiftan, Y. (Eds.). (2015). Sustainable urban transport. Retrieved from

Low, N. (Ed.). (2013). Transforming urban transport: From automobility to sustainable transport. Retrieved from

Banister, D. (1995). Transport and urban development. Retrieved from

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