ADB pushes for investments in green, smart transport system
“The two key challenges ahead are addressing capacity on public transport to maintain safe distancing requirements, and how best to regain public confidence to return to public transport,” said Bambang Susantono, ADB vice president for knowledge management and sustainable development.
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ADB pushes for investments in green, smart transport system
Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) - August 11, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is pushing for investments in transportation systems that use new technologies to adopt to social distancing and increased take-up of non-motorized transport amid the pandemic.

In its new report titled “Guidance Note on COVID-19 and Transport in Asia and the Pacific,” the multilateral bank said future investments in transportation among developing countries in Developing Asia should serve the immediate needs of the population amid the health crisis, but should also be more resilient to future disasters.

The report noted that initial trends in cities emerging from lockdowns showed that public transit is still considered to be relatively unsafe and usage is not bouncing back as quickly as the use of private vehicles, cycling, and walking.

“The two key challenges ahead are addressing capacity on public transport to maintain safe distancing requirements, and how best to regain public confidence to return to public transport,” said Bambang Susantono, ADB vice president for knowledge management and sustainable development.

“In the short term, more effort is needed to reassure public transport users of the safety, and demonstrate clean and safe public transport. In the longer term, technological advances, big data, artificial intelligence, digitalization, automation, renewables and electric power can potentially offer fresh innovations to tackle changing needs, giving rise to smarter cities,” the ADB said.

The report said investing in transport systems that incorporate green and smart technologies would enable countries to sustain reductions in carbon emissions during lockdowns.

“While drastic lockdown measures around the world have brought world economies to their knees, satellites have recorded data on how the concentrations of CO2 and air pollutants have fallen drastically, bringing clear blue skies to many cities,” said the report.

There is a short window of opportunity for cities to promote the adoption of low-carbon alternatives to lock-in the improved air quality conditions gained during the peak of the pandemic lockdown, said the report.

ADB said public transport could play an important role through a stronger promotion of the use of green vehicles, as well as improving the environment for non-motorized modes of transport such as walking and cycling which can absorb the spillover demand from public transport and aid in social distancing measures.

“Since mass public transport is the lifeblood of most economies, government policies and financial support are essential during this period to enable public transport operators to stay viable and continue to support the movement of passengers and goods in a sustainable way,” said the report.

In the country, among the projects pipelined for ADB financing for this year is the EDSA Greenways Project for the construction of elevated walkways in areas of EDSA with heavy foot traffic.

This is meant to provide seamless connection between transport terminals such as train and public utility vehicle stations.

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
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