Improving services and sustainability through better jobs and democracy


Curitiba trafficA quality public transport system meets three sets of objectives effectively by contributing to:

  • Economic development
  • Social justice
  • Environmental sustainability

Transport services must work together to make a transport system as a whole work well. The goal must be to improve access rather than mobility. Therefore transport planning must be integrated into overall urban planning, and especially into land use policy and practice.

A good public transport system links well with private transport, but in a way that takes into account the effect on the whole system as well as individual passengers. For instance, park-and-ride facilities help to keep cars out of city centres but can actually increase overall car use and, therefore, greenhouse gasĀ  emissions. That is why they are not necessarily better than extending public transport services into suburbs.

As a public service with benefits to both individuals and to society as a whole, public transport requires democratic planning and accountability, and that the financial burden is shared between public subsidy and fare revenue, and distributed fairly. The price mechanism should be used to make public transport an affordable alternative to private car use, both through subsidised fares and the use of congestion and parking charges and fuel taxes.

Online resources

Public-private partnerships in urban public transport

What does a good public transport system do? — QPT Briefing No. 2

Evaluating Public Transit Benefits and Costs

ITF global union policy and activities on climate change

European Union sustainable transport policies

Transport for Suburbia: Beyond the Automobile Age

Urban Transport and Mobility, International Transport Forum, Paris

Decoupling urban transport from GHG emissions in Indian cities

Integrated land use and transport planning, Britain