Access to safe public transport and mobility is a basic need and is recognized as such by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 11.2. It’s essential for participation in economic, social and cultural activities. Vulnerable individuals — including women, children, residents of lower-income and communities of color, persons with disabilities and older persons — need special attention to ensure access.
Accessibility is important to the success of decarbonization and is a goal in and of itself.
It is important that the transition of the world’s energy systems to decarbonized travel modes is accomplished equitably in a way that provides opportunity for everyone.
In many countries, transport systems have been built to favor automobiles and rapid personal travel. Often, planners have overlooked how these individualized transport investments benefit persons at every income level, especially poor, marginalized people. Research from cities in the U.S., Brazil, Kenya and Mexico shows high-income residents enjoy better access to jobs and other opportunities due to the location of housing and transit infrastructure. Countries and cities need to prioritize transport systems that provide equal access to opportunities.
Safety is just as important in a decarbonized world as it is in our current system.
All road users — including cyclists and pedestrians — deserve access to safe mobility options. Although road fatalities have slowly declined in recent years, they are still a long way from zero. And the downward trend is not universal: Vehicles in some countries, like the U.S., are becoming larger on average, and therefore more dangerous to pedestrians, cyclists and smaller vehicles.