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Sustainable Urban Transportation System

Introduction - Sustainable Urban Transportation System

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Sustainable urban transportation is one of the biggest challenges to the urban authorities as the population is increasing over time. As per the current scenario, urban transport is facing challenges for the high demand for transportation and an increasing number of cars. The growing trends of demand for mobility in urban areas are causing excess demands. Moreover, urban transportation is also causing pollution, which results in different consequences such as carbon emission and global warming. The essay is going to analyse and evaluate the factors, which cause the failure of urban transportation and ways, which are efficient to decline issues of urban mobility.

Analysis of urban transport system 

Nearly half of the global population is living in urban areas as the urban areas are providing several facilities and services, which are not only increasing standards of life but also offering opportunities for earning. The rural areas are much more efficient to provide that kind of services and facilities and also a majority of rural areas are dependent on agriculture as a result population is growing in urban areas. According to Goetz (2019), 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2030. Major challenges to the urban transport system are increasing due to rising demand for mobility. Traffic congestion is a primary and large issue of transportation as the number of cars is increasing on roads (Verma et al. 2021). Public transportation is not efficient to supply transportation services to people due to a lack of transportation infrastructure. As a result, the number of private cars is increasing, which causes traffic congestion. Parking of cars is dependent upon the capacity of urban roads and transportation capacity.

Lack of adequate public transportation is also an increasing challenge to the urban transportation system. As the cost of public transportation is lower, demand for public transportation modes is always high. However, the public transportation system often fails to provide adequate services to people at peak hours. Moreover, public mobility infrastructure also affects the service delivery capacity of urban transport. In addition, the cost of maintaining the infrastructure is also high, which increases the pricing of urban transportation. Failure of public transportation also causes an increasing number of private transports as result congestion is increasing. An increasing number of vehicles are enmeshing accidents, cases, and deaths. As per the WHO, nearly 1.3 million people have died in road accidents causing a loss of 3% of GDP in most economies (Who.int, 2021). The majority of vulnerable economies are low and middle-income countries. Moreover, the transportation system also affects the environment by increasing air pollutants, which causes a rise in global temperature (Unfccc.int, 2019). It results in rising seawater levels, declining air quality in high-populated cities (Guo et al. 2020).

Factors behind the failure of urban transport system 

The main factor, which is responsible for raising the demand for transportation is increasing population growth. Urbanisation is also another related factor, which is responsible for the concentration of population in urban areas. As per Goetz (2019), 548 cities in the world have a population of more than 1 million in 2018, which is expected to have risen in future. The number of cities with more than 1 million populations is expected to increase to 706 by 2030. 

Urbanisation has increased the demand for transportation services. The supply of transport services from the public transport services is not efficient to meet the demand. As a result, excess demand is created, which causes rise in prices and further failure of the public transportation system. It is ever seen that the transportation system often fails due to an inability to provide services to the people, which reflects the lack of capability of the systems. The reasons behind inadequate public transportation are inefficient transportation infrastructure. Infrastructure development such as increasing railway routes, expansion of lengths and others. Railways are efficient to meet land-based transportation demand; however, the development of railways infrastructure is a long and capital consuming procedure. Lack of availability of land resists the expansion of roads, which impacts road congestion and accidents. 

The reliability of motors is also responsible for the inefficiency of road transports. With the rise in income, people prefer a private vehicle, which provides mobility-on-demand, comfort to the people (Transportgeography.org, 2021). Hence, the number of private cars is increasing with decreasing efficiency in the public mobility system. Congestion on the road is increasing and the number of accidents is increasing. Increasing car numbers also enhance pollution, which influences not only the environment but also impacts public health. The inefficient infrastructure of roads causes accidents, which not only influence drivers but also pedestrians and other road users (Who.int, 2021). In addition, the quality of cars such as the safety of cars is another factor, which can save people from road accidents. 

Policy evaluation for a sustainable and efficient transport system

Railways are considered as a crucial “mass transportation” tool, which is efficient to meet the demand for transportation (Goetz, 2019). Hence, the development of the railway's route is effective in tackling rising demand. In addition, railways are less at risk for accidents. Hence, the development of railways routes and infrastructure is efficient to deliver value services to people. The main issue of railways infrastructure development is costly and it takes a long time to execute. Moreover, railways development infrastructure requires a large investment. Considering the benefits of railways, infrastructure development would effectively increase efficiency in urban transportation systems. A public-private partnership model can be effective to develop the road and railways infrastructure, which would be able to increase efficiency and meet the rising demand for transportation. 

There is also a need to improve and develop road infrastructure to ensure the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. Adequate facilities are required to decrease the risk of accidents and make roads safe for cyclists, motorcyclists as well as pedestrians (Who.int, 2021). The facilities of the road need to include footpaths for pedestrians, cycling lanes for cyclists and crossing points. Traffic management also needs to be developed to clear traffic congestion. The infrastructure development would be effective to reduce the injury risk of road users.

Metro railways are another mode of transportation, which efficiently meets the demand for transportation services, such as railways, metro railways also require capital investment. However, the metro is efficient to deliver speed transportation within cities and inter-cities. For example, China has one of the largest metro routes, which is efficient to meet its higher demand for transportation (Bbc.com, 2017a). South Korea has a long metro infrastructure to manage transportation.

Restriction on owning more cars is effective to decrease the number of private cars. It is effective to reduce the number of cars on the road and decline the number of cars. Singapore has imposed a restriction on owning private cars and it charges a high price for car licensing, which affects car owning and usage of public transport (Bbc.com, 2017b).


It can be concluded that the increasing population is not alone behind the inefficiency of urban road transportation. Inefficient infrastructure and inadequate road infrastructure are also responsible for the increasing road accidents and an increasing number of deaths from road accidents. However, it is also observed from the study that public transport is not efficient to meet the demand for transportation, which causes increasing dependency on private vehicles as a result number of cars on roads has increased over time. A massive increase in the number of cars is also responsible for negative impacts on the environment such as climate change, global temperature rise, carbon emissions, and harm to public health. 


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