Sustainable transportation is critical for both inclusive economic growth and low-emissions development. A long-term strategy (LTS) is a policy tool that establishes a vision and pathway towards sustainable, low-emissions development to 2050, and helps national planners understand the actions needed to achieve that vision while also supporting national climate commitments.
USAID’s Transparency and Long-term Strategies (T-LTS) project is supporting countries to develop long-term strategies and enhance transparent practices. Informed by its scoping analysis and consultations with USAID Missions and other stakeholders, in-country partners, and donor initiatives, the T-LTS project determined that there is a pressing need to support long-term strategy development in the transportation sector. Transportation is a fast-growing sector that has the potential for significant environmental and human health impacts. Nowhere is this growth more apparent than in Asia, where sector emissions have grown 92% between 2000 and 2016, and now account for 39% of global transport emissions.
To support LTS transportation planning efforts in Asia, the T-LTS project convened a four-day virtual training workshop for the region in September 2020. The workshop focused on:
- Concepts and components of long-term strategies and transparency, including how they relate to one another;
- Methods to develop long-term strategies for the transportation sector that can advance low-emissions development and other sustainability and mobility objectives in each country context; and
- Best practices for data collection, scenario development, modelling, and reporting.
Under the Paris Agreement, countries are encouraged to communicate low-emissions pathways to 2050, but there are few other requirements. This flexibility has resulted in diverse interpretations of LTS that contain different components (see Figure 1). In addition to a low-emissions goal, a transportation sector long-term strategy could include objectives and implementation measures to support economic development, public health, and energy security. Provisions to implement climate resilient infrastructure can also be incorporated into LTS.
Different LTS elements can be developed and refined based on existing country capabilities and priorities.
Sustainable transportation efforts can incorporate a wide range of policies and programs, including transportation demand management, public transport, vehicle efficiency and fuel switching, and increased walking and cycling infrastructure. These measures can be pursued in tandem to support low-emissions development. However, planners must account for all of the sustainability impacts of these measures in their long-term strategies. For example, bus electrification may need to be paired with investments in renewables to avoid additional emissions from fossil fuel power plants.
During the workshop, the T-LTS project found that many countries in the region have not yet begun developing long-term strategies. However, some have begun implementing transportation commitments in nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and other medium- and long-term planning efforts. In-depth discussions and interactive exercises throughout the workshop revealed key opportunities to build on these efforts and to support LTS planning activities. Future technical assistance opportunities include support for:
- Institutional arrangements and stakeholder coordination,
- LTS goal development,
- Baseline and mitigation scenario development,
- Data access and model development,
- LTS implementation, monitoring and improvement, and
- Overall technical capacity.
Based on the needs identified during this workshop and informed by related efforts, the T-LTS project is now developing step-by-step guidance to support long-term strategy development for the transportation sector, in collaboration with the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLOCAT). To learn more about the T-LTS workshop series for transport planning in Asia, visit the T-LTS project page or watch the training recordings and view the presentations here.
Derina Man is a Senior Managing Consultant at ICF, a global professional services firm that delivers consulting services and technology solutions in energy, climate change, and other areas. Derina provides technical and policy support related to low-emissions development strategies, greenhouse gas accounting and mitigation, and the phase-out of fluorinated gases. She is currently the project manager for the USAID Transparency and Long-Term Strategies project.