ICLEI: Why 2019 is the year for sustainable mobility

As the world continues to urbanize, the need to improve transportation in and around cities is becoming increasingly urgent. Though typically framed as an economic problem — stalls in traffic correlate to stalls in productivity — sustainability leaders are beginning to pay more attention to transportation as an important instrument for promoting social and economic parity, as well as for reducing per-capita greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas.

This shift in thinking was well-expressed at COP24 in Katowice, Poland. During the event, the Polish COP Presidency introduced a proposal: Driving change together – Katowice partnership for e-mobility. The initiative was signed by 42 nations and 18 global networks, including ICLEI, and expresses the support of all signatories to develop electrified mobility options across the world. Specifically, the declaration calls for policies that enable a strong zero-emission vehicle market and strengthening of green public transport options.

Beyond joining the Katowice partnership, ICLEI is leading on many initiatives in 2019 that highlight new opportunities to transform mobility across the world.


Transportation planning in cities often focuses on the movement of individuals. Metro stations, bus lines and bike lanes, although all very important, nevertheless do not address the question of urban freight – in other words, movement of good through and within urban areas. This is the case even though urban freight produces a disproportionately large volume of both airborne pollutants and traffic congestion.

To better integrate freight planning into urban development and transportation plans, ICLEI has embarked on a project with BMU, The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety. ICLEI has begun implementing a project designed to address the often-overlooked matter of urban freight. This project, called EcoLogistics, will launch pilot projects in India, Colombia and Argentina in 2019.

Read about the importance of urban freight in this article, or explore the EcoLogistics project here.

Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI)

Transportation improvements aren’t just about reducing congestion and emissions. They can be important drivers for social change. In 2019, cities in the TUMI network will continue working on projects that tackle regional issues. In Bogotá, for example, the city’s TUMI project uses the app, Safetipin, to help women and girls map their feelings of safety around town. This will allow the city to develop improvements targeted on improving safety. Meanwhile, Gahndi Nagar is aiming to improve transport access for persons with disabilities.

The TUMI network currently includes 10 different cities across the world who are engaged in transforming their mobility systems to encourage better, low-carbon lives.

Learn more about the TUMI initiative here.

City Academy Singapore

The Global Platform for Sustainable Cities (GPSC), of which ICLEI is a partner, hosted the City Academy in Singapore in November, 2018. During the event, urban planners and political leaders around the world gathered to exchange ideas and discuss challenges around topics such as transit-oriented development and how land-use policies can help build better-connected transportation networks.

These lessons can now be used in 2019 to inform urban planning decisions in cities across the world, and their recognition highlights the growing importance of transportation as a key instrument for sustainable urban development.

Read the key mobility lessons learned so far in this article here.

ICLEI’s call to action

Commitments to integrated urban planning have consistently provided communities with advantages in quality of life, environmental sustainability, and economic growth. With regards to transportation, ICLEI calls for the serious integration of transport and logistical considerations into other fields of urban planning.

European Green Capital cities are building on Talanoa by calling for increased collaborative and multi-stakeholder action. Read the Call for Action.

Source: Press release Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), 02.01.2019