The TEST Network aims to support Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries in formulating and implementing sustainable transport policies which contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable economic development. A key constraint in these counties is the need for integrated transport solutions based on international best practice and experiences on the ground in SSA. Read more...
|REPORT: Transport and the Environment|
The latest TEST report, written by a panel of international experts, provides an introduction to the transport and environment issues in Sub Saharan African countries. It focuses on the key transport-related areas of air pollution, road safety, traffic flow management, equity and climate change. Read more...
Transport plays an important role in economic and social development and can be a powerful catalyst to sustainability through providing ‘interconnectivity, learning and development, elements that are essential to women and their empowerment’as well as to other marginal groups, i.e., the poor and those living in isolated areas.
Alongside this role, there is a growing concern of the impact of transport on adding to current environmental pollution and how this is affects human health and wellbeing now and in the future. Thus improvement in the transport sector needs to incorporate issues of sustainability much more seriously than it has done so far. Sustainable development needs a paradigm shift to reflect the need for reducing gree house gas (GHG) emissions and a transition towards low-carbon transport systems. Building on the on the principle of social equity can contribute towards this pathway to transition and help promoting sustainability both for the environment and for the livelihoods of poor men and women, particularly living in rural areas.
While the largest share of GHG emissions from the transport sector are from the developed countries, emissions from developing countries are also growing rapidly. A background paper on Policy Options for Transport prepared for the Eighteenth Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (3-14 May 2010) mentions that transport related CO2 emissions are expected to increase 57 per cent worldwide during 2005 – 2030, and transport in developing countries will contribute about 80 percent of this increase. However, when one looks into disaggregated data it becomes apparent that most of the current GHG emissions in the transport sector and virtually all the expected growth in emissions come from private cars, light duty vehicles and trucks.
The social and economic dimensions of transport use show that the poor and marginal groups living in rural areas often walk, or use non-motorized transports (cycles, rickshaw vans, animal carts) that are environment-friendly and do not account for GHG emissions.
Further, men and women have different travel characteristics following from their different transport needs and use patterns that result in different implications for sustainability. Studies have noted that gender differences in transport use are common in terms of:
The above shows that the dictates of women’s transport behaviour, particularly that of the poorer women living in rural areas, if taken seriously, would lead to a shift away from heavy reliance on private motorisation to substantially different pathways that promise co-benefits for both livelihoods and environment.
A sustainable transportation system, as defined by the European Union Council of Ministers of Transport includes the following qualities: it allows the basic access and development needs of people to be met safely and consistent with human and ecosystem health and promotes equity within and between successive generations; it is affordable, operates fairly and efficiently, offers a choice of transport mode, and supports a competitive economy, as well as balanced regional development; and, it limits emissions and waste within the planet’s ability to absorb them. Viewed in this way, sustainable transport systems have the potential to facilitate achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly, alleviating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, contributing to gender equity through improved mobility, improving health, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing partnership through linking people and places.
Co-benefits of low carbon transport are acknowledged as many: air-pollution abatement, enhanced health protection and diminished accident rates, reduced congestion, increased energy security and improved productivity. Benefits that come along when social equity considerations are taken along are not researched in great depth, particularly, in the case of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This is an important area where knowledge sharing among practitioners and researchers need to develop and expand on the existing anecdotal evidence that so clearly point out the costs of current transport policies and draw out the benefits that an equitable transport paradigm can bring in.
The TEST network will identify and develop the key issues relevant for SSA. Network members are requested to share their views on what the key issues that require addressing and what are the best ways to address them. Particularly important is the sharing of knowledge on good practices that can serve as green signals to lead to this road. We welcome a vibrant discussion around this important area that impact on the sustainability of our lives and those of our future generations.
 Discussion papers submitted by major groups: Contribution by women. Commission on Sustainable Development, Eighteenth session, 3-14 May 2010, Note by the Secretariat. E/CN.17/2010/11/Add.1 (p.15)
http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/resources/res_docucsd_18.shtml [Accessed on 12 July 2010]
 Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport 2010 Policy Options for consideration by the Commission on Sustainable Development 18th Session, 3-14 May, 2010 Available at: http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/resources/res_pdfs/csd-18/csd18_2010_bp12.pdf [Accessed on 12 July 2010]
 European Parliament 2006 Women and Transport. Policy Department Structural and Cohesion Policies Transport and Tourism. IP/B/TrAN?ST/2005-008.
Goldman, t and Gorham, R 2006 Sustainable urban transport: Four innovative directions. Technology in Society 28: 261–273
 Czuczman, K 2008 A Means to an End: Transport and the Millennium Development Goals. Commonwealth Ministers Reference Book 2008