The Missing Link in Urban Transport

MobiliseYourCity supports projects in over 35 countries, all of which have submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). This is a good indicator of how committed countries in which the partnership works are to the climate agenda.  

However, only 26 of these 35 countries have national transportation targets, and only 23 include quantified targets. A mere 17 of the 35 countries we work in have included urban transport mitigation actions.

Climate-driven SUMPs, under initiatives like MobiliseYourCity, prioritise a range of sustainable urban mobility measures and ensure their compatibility with climate objectives. However, bridging the political and methodological gap that prevents the practical accounting of mitigation efforts at the national level is a huge challenge. 

A notable omission in Nationally Determined Contributions is that they often focus on electrification rather than embracing comprehensive Shift and Avoid measures. 

Without adequate support from cities, countries will struggle to fulfil their climate commitments. National Urban Mobility Policies or Investment Programmes (NUMPs) can be a significant support mechanism for climate action on transport, coordinating and enabling multi-level efforts. The current status lacks emphasis on the holistic strategies needed for sustainable urban mobility.

From the countries that include NDC targets related to urban transport. Ghana is an example. The country has a conditional NDC policy action that states, “Scale-up Sustainable mass transportation. Programme of Action: Expansion of inter and intra city mass transportation modes (Rail and bus transit system) in 4 cities,” which they expect would result in an emission reduction of 109.9 kt. Expected impacts include an increase in public transport trips by 10% in the four cities, an increase in walking and cycling trips by 5%, and a reduction of travel time by at least 8 minutes per trip by public transport. In this line, MobiliseYourCity supported the elaboration of the Kumasi SUMP whose action plan was adopted in late 2023. This action plan proposes several BRT lines for the city, and the World Bank is already financing a BRT project on one of the identified priority corridors in collaboration with the Ghanaian Department of Urban Roads and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly.

More countries need to include urban transport NDCs. SUMPs and NUMPs can help determine what these NDCs should be and how to implement them. Read more in our Global Monitor 2024.