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Habitat II Conference                      [ Back to Habitat II ]

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IV Global Plan of Action

C. Sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world

7. Sustainable transport and communication systems

147. Transport and communication systems are the key to the movement of goods, people, information and ideas, and to access to markets, employment, schools and other facilities and land use, both within cities and between cities, and in rural and other remote areas. The transportation sector is a major consumer of non-renewable energy and of land and is a major contributor to pollution, congestion and accidents. Integrated transport and land-use policy and planning can reduce the ill effects of current transport systems. People living in poverty, women, children, youth, older persons and people with disabilities are particularly disadvantaged by the lack of accessible, affordable, safe and efficient public transport systems.

148. Developments in communications technologies can have a significant impact on economic activity and human settlements patterns. It is important for the potential impacts to be addressed so as to ensure that maximum benefits accrue to the community and to reduce any adverse outcomes in relation to access to services.

149. Managing transport in human settlements should be done in a way that promotes good access for all to places of work, social interaction and leisure and facilitates important economic activities, including obtaining food and other necessities of life. This should be done while reducing the negative effects of transport on the environment. Transport-system priorities should be given to reducing unnecessary travel through appropriate land-use and communication policies, developing transport policies that emphasize mobility alternatives other than the automobile, developing alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles, improving the environmental performance of existing modes of transport, and adopting appropriate pricing and other policies and regulations.

150. Non-motorized transport is a major mode of mobility, particularly for low-income, vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. One structural measure to counteract the socio-economic marginalization of these groups is to foster their mobility by promoting affordable, efficient and energy-saving modes of transport.


151. In order to achieve sustainable transport in human settlements, Governments at the appropriate levels, in partnership with the private sector, the community sector and other relevant interested parties, should:

(a) Support an integrated transport policy approach that explores the full array of technical and management options and pays due attention to the needs of all population groups, especially those whose mobility is constrained because of disability, age, poverty or any other factor;

(b) Coordinate land-use and transport planning in order to encourage spatial settlement patterns that facilitate access to such basic necessities as workplaces, schools, health care, places of worship, goods and services, and leisure, thereby reducing the need to travel;

(c) Encourage the use of an optimal combination of modes of transport, including walking, cycling and private and public means of transportation, through appropriate pricing, spatial settlement policies and regulatory measures;

(d) Promote and implement disincentive measures that discourage the increasing growth of private motorized traffic and reduce congestion, which is damaging environmentally, economically and socially, and to human health and safety, through pricing, traffic regulation, parking and land-use planning and traffic abatement methods, and by providing or encouraging effective alternative transport methods, particularly to the most congested areas;

(e) Provide or promote an effective, affordable, physically accessible and environmentally sound public transport and communication system, giving priority to collective means of transport with adequate carrying capacity and frequency that support basic needs and the main traffic flows;

(f) Promote, regulate and enforce quiet, use-efficient and low-polluting technologies, including fuel-efficient engine and emissions controls and fuel with a low level of polluting emissions and impact on the atmosphere and other alternative forms of energy;

(g) Encourage and promote public access to electronic information services.

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