Network Overview

The Mass Transit Network (MT) supports city efforts in enhancing mass transit, improving mass transit coverage and experience to make it more accessible, integrated and attractive to use. 

C40 recently launched a new Mass Transit Network focused on infrastructure as well as the physical and operational integration of transit. This new network builds upon C40’s work on Bus Rapid Transit, and is a part of C40’s Transportation and Urban Planning Programme.

Actions within this network  include supporting cities to choose the right mass transit solution, improving and enhancing public transport infrastructure and services, and helping cities deliver good connectivity and intermodal connections. 

Transportation plays a crucial role in cities as it significantly impacts the quality of people’s lives and is often the key means of accessing education, employment and essential services. At the same time, transportation is the sector where global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are rising most quickly. One third of greenhouse gas emissions from C40 cities come from transport and traffic is the biggest source of air pollution, globally responsible for up to one quarter of particulate matter in the air. As emissions from private motor vehicle use rise, encouraging greater use of public transport, walking and cycling as well as reducing the emissions-intensity of vehicles are some of the most effective actions that mayors can take to cut emissions.  

In 2016, C40 and Arup published Deadline 2020 outlining the pace, scale and prioritization of action needed for C40 cities to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Shifting to fossil-fuel-free forms of transportation is essential to enable cities to meet these aims. 

Critical actions were identified by the Focused Acceleration Report such as the development of large scale mass transit, serving as an attractive alternative to private  vehicle transport by improving intracity  mobility and making low carbon transport more accessible. To capture the full potential of emissions reduction, cities will need mass transit to remain accessible and attractive for moving around the city.  

Cities can make targeted enhancements to mass transit, such as introducing BRT on main arteries, improving transit service quality, including reduced crowding, increased service frequency, renovating major stations for improved security or adding stations to increase access for underserved areas. However, an ideal mass transit system extends beyond its stations, vehicles and corridors and is fully integrated within the larger network, from airports and intercity rail, to public bikes and neighborhood walkways. In fast growing cities, where multiple systems are being planned and implemented at the same time, these systems will need to be coordinated in order to reduce redundancies and maximize the synergies between modes. In conjunction with the other networks in the Transportation & Urban Planning Programme, the Mass Transit Network ensures this is delivered.

Work Streams

The network has identified several focus areas/ work streams for collaboration between cities. Based on initial consultations with cities, key areas of focus are:

Choosing the right mass transit solution – Supporting cities to select the right mass transit solution for corridors that have been identified.  Cities have the opportunity to identify the impacts and benefits of different mass transit alternatives, and compare and select the best solutions.  

Enhancing mass transit – Supporting cities to achieve a higher quality of transport to increase ridership; for instance, improving coverage, frequency, safety, reliability, comfort and convenience of public transport. 

Physical and operational integration – Supporting cities to better integrate across modes to improve access, make trips shorter and minimize the number of transfers through the design of intermodal transfer facilities (terminals, stations, hubs). 

Mass Transit Network Resources

The Mass Transit Network has a dedicated page on the C40 Exchange platform which includes a wide range of resources to the cities in the network, including webinars where cities present on their initiatives, reports on good practices and presentations on projects, policies and programs. 

In addition to this, C40 could potentially offer the following resources for cities: 

  • Identify and effectively target the most effective abatement opportunity in mass transit for modal shift
  • Technical assistance to measure the wider economic, social and environmental benefits of climate action
  • Access to technical advice from partners to enhance mass transit systems in selected cities
  • Supporting the inclusion of adaptation measures in the planning stage such as resilient materials
  • Access to financing expertise to mobilise a broad range of financing instruments and business models
  • Utilizing city diplomacy to engage national and regional government support


Contact Gunjan Parik for more information or to share further ideas on network collaboration:

“When Chicago sought to implement bus rapid transit to connect diverse neighborhoods, increase high-quality transportation options and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we looked to BRT examples from around the world, including Santiago, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires.  C40’s Bus Rapid Transit Network is connecting cities with common transportation goals, and network support is helping Chicago as we expand BRT solutions for residents, commuters, and visitors.”

Christopher Ziemann, Bus Rapid Transit Project Manager, Chicago Transit Authority