Spotlight on the C40 Transportation Initiative

In this post, Gunjan Parik, Director, C40 Transportation Initiative, highlights the importance of transportation-related climate action in the world’s megacities, and shows how C40 Cities are leading the way on this critical issue.

Having recently come on board at C40 as the new Transportation Initiative Director, I am very excited about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Transportation plays a crucial role in cities; since transportation is the key means of accessing education, employment and essential services, it has the potential to hugely impact the quality of people’s lives. At the same time, it is the sector where global greenhouse gas emissions are rising most quickly. Demand for oil is set to rise from 84.7m to 105m barrels per day between 2008 and 2030; as the number of road vehicles rises sharply, the transportation sector is predicted to account for the lion’s share of this increase on a global basis.

Opportunity & Action in C40 Cities

The opportunity for reducing emissions from transportation rests hugely with the world’s megacities. Our research shows that C40 Cities collectively emit more than 300 million tonnes of CO2 per year from the transportation sector. But it also shows that Mayors exercise strong powers over transportation, ranging from control over on-street parking to rail and bus systems to the ability to widen footpaths, create pedestrianized zones or implement networks of bike-paths.

For Mayors, taking action to invest in low carbon, public and non-motorized transportation also contributes to significant co-benefits in cities, such as improved productivity of workers with faster journeys and greater mobility; and improved air local quality, which has positive impacts on citizens’ health. By investing in or creating incentives for new transportation systems, Mayors also create new economic and job opportunities. This is why C40 Cities are taking action now. In 2012, the CDP-C40 Cities Global Report, Measurement for Management showed that 73% of reporting C40 Cities disclosed that they were taking actions to reduce transport emissions .

Among others, transportation actions in C40 Cities have included:

  • New transportation infrastructure: such as bus rapid transit corridors in Bogota, Buenos Aires and Jakarta; and bike sharing programs in Changwon, Mexico City, London, Paris, New York, Washington DC
  • Demand management measures: including congestion pricing in London, Singapore, Milan and Stockholm; parking policies in San Francisco; and successful information campaigns used in the London 2012 Games
  • Cleaner vehicle programs: including the Hybrid Electric Bus Test programme in Bogota, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Santiago de Chile; Autolib, the electric car sharing program in Paris; and electric taxi programs in Amsterdam and Bogota.

C40 Transportation Networks

While they have accomplished a great deal, cities have the potential to do much more, by learning from each other and working together on common challenges. The C40 Transportation Initiative works with cities to facilitate and accelerate efforts on transportation in three key ways:

  • Reducing the need for journeys through mixed-use and transit-oriented developments;
  • Moving journeys to more efficient modes of transport such as public transit and non-motorised transportation (through better facilities, as well as transportation demand management policies); and
  • Improving the efficiency of public and private fleets , through a shift towards cleaner vehicle technologies.

The Initiative currently has two active networks:

The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Network

The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Network works with cities to introduce/ transform C40 Cities’ BRT systems, resulting in a new paradigm of sustainable mobility for megacities. A BRT system with clean buses, exclusive lanes and state of the art service can provide ‘metro-quality’ service at a fraction of the cost, generating an enormous shift from private cars to public transportation systems. The network promotes and shares best practice solutions and know-how, as well as providing more detailed technical and policy support from C40 partner organizations, the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy and the World Resources Institute’s EMBARQ program.

The Electric Vehicle (EV) Network

The Electric Vehicle (EV) Network is currently working with almost a third of C40 Cities for which cleaner vehicle technologies are a crucial part of their strategies to reduce transportation-related emissions. By bringing cities together to discuss electric vehicle strategies, and convening and collaborating with key industry stakeholders, the network facilitates and accelerates the implementation of electric vehicle programs.

Further networks under consideration by C40 and its member cities include non-motorised transportation, transit-oriented development and transportation demand management. The Transportation Initiative will continue to evolve to support cities in delivering thoughtful, strategic and integrated transportation solutions that reduce emissions. It is a journey I am very excited to be on, with our C40 Cities.

Gunjan Parik serves as the Director of the Transportation Initiative at C40. In this position she is responsible for driving and delivering C40’s global transportation strategy.

Prior to joining the C40, Gunjan worked at Transport for London (TfL), most recently as the Head of Paralympic Transport and Accessibility, where she was responsible for ensuring that TfL could operate a robust transport network able to meet the unique challenges of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. She also worked as a Senior Associate at the TfL Policy Unit where she served as an advisor on issues of strategic importance for TfL. Previously, Gunjan was based in India where she worked as a Senior Consultant for Pricewaterhouse Coopers, working across a range of government institutions at local and national levels.

Gunjan holds a Masters of Science in Management and Regulation of Risk, and a Masters of Science in Information Systems, both from the London School of Economics.