The world of transport is changing rapidly, and its future path is uncertain. By 2030, annual passenger traffic will exceed 80 trillion passenger kilometers a fifty percent increase. Aviation alone will provide about 100 million jobs and generate USD 5.9 trillion in GDP a third of the US GDP. Similarly, global freight volumes will grow by 70 percent in the next fifteen years. The number of cars is expected to double by 2030 with an additional 1.2 billion cars on the road the result of a growing middle class aspiring for more mobility.
Meeting the growing aspirations for mobility sustainably has the potential to improve the lives and livelihoods of billions of people-their health, their environment, their quality of life - and to help minimize the effects of climate change. Transportation is also the lifeline for communities hit by natural disasters, humanitarian aid for famine and war.
But the costs of today’s mobility systems to society are simply too high. Overall, mobility is associated with gross inequalities in access to opportunities; transport related fatalities; intensive fossil fuel use with large emissions of greenhouse gases, degradation to the environment and increases in air and noise pollution. In 2012, transport was the largest energy consuming sector in 40 percent of countries worldwide and the second one in the remaining others and energy-related CO2 emissions are expected to grow by 40 percent between 2013 and 2040. The sector contributes to 23 percent of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and 18 percent of all manmade emissions in the global economy. This has serious implications, with air pollution both in door and outdoor being recognized as the biggest environmental risk to human health. Outdoor air pollution alone kills around 3 million people each year. It is time to reverse this trend. Meeting today’s mobility needs is coming at the cost of future generations, and this path is unsustainable.
For the international community to reverse this trend will require the pursuit of four policy goals: equity in access, efficiency, safety, and green mobility. Achieving sustainable mobility is the new Global Public Good.