The path less travelled: scaling up active mobility to capture economic and climate benefits

With increased urbanization and economic growth, cities across the world must find ways to meet urban mobility demands while ensuring transportation is affordable and emissions that contribute to climate change are limited. As cities rapidly urbanize and people’s incomes rise, vehicle ownership is growing and more road space is being allocated to motorized transport, and thus more funding is required to maintain roads and vehicle infrastructure. Scaling up active mobility infrastructure provides cities in n low-and-middle income countries (LMICs) a key opportunity to maintain low levels of motorization, and maximize investments in public transportation. It also allows them to unlock the ‘low-hanging fruit’ market segments for walking, cycling, and public transport. While all three are equally important, this paper will focus on the impact of enhanced cycle and pedestrian infrastructure in such cities. By enabling more walking, cycling and public transport use, large-scale interventions to scale up active mobility can deliver significant, quantifiable benefits that dwarf the upfront costs. The purpose of this paper is to make the case for scaling up financing for active mobility, leveraging lessons learned, and identifying and replicating successful investment mechanisms from case studies from LMICs.