The Pakistani districts of Swat and Abbottabad officially joined the MobiliseYourCity Partnership on 27 August 2020, bringing out the total number of member cities to 60. Fully committed to improving their transport system, the two cities want to develop Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans with the help of the MobiliseYourCity Partnership to offer a better quality of life to their citizens and reduce traffic congestion.
By joining the MobiliseYourCity Partnership, the local leaders of Swat and Abbottabad aim to fight noise and air pollution issues related to the present transportation system, reduce road fatalities, and improve the city transport infrastructure. Potential SUMP measures include the construction of peripherical parking places to free the roads from parking, as well as the introduction of cable cars and other friendly transport services to avoid the threat to climate change.
The Swat District, better known as the Switzerland of Pakistan, hosts thousands of tourists every year. Despite the existence of some public transport facilities, a master planning on urbanization and transportation has not been framed in the past, causing traffic congestions in different areas of the district. Despite the reduction of pollution thanks to the lush green valley which surrounds Swat, the air pollution induced by the influx and movement of a large number of local transport is still an issue. Additionally, the city is concerned by the road safety challenges caused by a lack of flyovers/underpasses.
The Abbottabad District is known among the country because of its good educational institutions. That is why large flows of people from and into the district migrate from adjoining areas, affecting the flow of traffic and transport system. Climate change is having a big impact on people’s lives in the area, that, in turn, affect transports: transformations in the tourism and agricultural sectors due to increased temperatures are leading to shifts in passenger and freight transport. Besides, heavy rains leading to flooding/land sliding incidences provoke infrastructure disruptions, especially in hilly areas.
A policy dialogue for the SUMPs has already been initiated with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). As a continuation, the SUMPs’ preparation and possible related studies are expected to be conducted in close collaboration and with the support of ADB and AFD.