Issues in Brief, No. 4, November 2008

Pardee Center-Mega Cities TransportationTransportation in Mega-Cities: A local issue, a global question
By Nadaa Taiyab


November 2008 (8 pages)
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This policy brief reviews the looming emergence of ever-more and ever-bigger mega-cities and, within them, the challenge of urban transportation.

The paper concludes, “New transport infrastructure must be built to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation. Cities must switch to cleaner fuels, adopt higher emissions standards, and replace old polluting vehicles. City planners must create livable, walkable communities and fight sprawl and decentralization. Regulations are needed to discourage driving during peak hours and encourage use of new convenient and safe public transportation. However, even where low-cost technical solutions exist, institutions are the ultimate determinant of successful implementation. Consequently, efforts to bring change must focus on the institutions, governance and attitudes and not just technical solutions.”

Nadaa Taiyab is a Visiting Fellow at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University. She has been a researcher and consultant on issues related to sustainable development and climate change for several organizations including the World Bank. As a Fellow with the Acumen Fund, she headed a venture to launch a chain of high quality for-profit health clinics aimed at slums in Mumbai.