Beijing, China, 15 October 2021 -- Sustainable transport – with its objectives of universal access, enhanced safety, reduced environmental and climate impact, improved resilience, and greater efficiency – is the focus of the 2nd Global Sustainable Transport Conference which is currently being held in Beijing, China, from 14 to 16 October 2021.

The SDGs recognise that access to adequate, reliable and safe public transport is a basic urban need. SDG 11.2 aims that all citizens will have access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems by 2030 by expanding public transport. In doing so, special attention must be given to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.

On the occasion of the global conference, UN-Habitat and its partners came together to discuss how the world is making public transport more accessible. The “Progress Report on SDG 11.2” was launched during the side event on “Back to Better Mobility – Accelerating Sustainable Transport in the Next Decade of Action”.

The event was co-organised by the International Union of Railways (UIC), the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, and UN-Habitat,

The report brings together transport data collected by UN-Habitat and UITP to provide a snapshot of how the world is progressing against SDG target 11.2 and examines the main lessons learned as the world approaches the halfway point to delivering on the Post-2015 agenda. It also provides a set of key recommendations to support implementation through improved monitoring and reporting for SDG target 11.2.

“Overall, it is estimated that only half of the world’s population has convenient access to public transport but with wide regional variations. Our data show that Africa is the region with the lowest level of access to public transport with only one in three people with access to public transport,” said Stefanie Holzwarth, Sustainable Mobility Specialist at UN-Habitat.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, public transport has been hit hard in terms of ridership levels, while it continued to provide an essential service for people who most needed affordable and safe transport, including frontline health care workers. Evidence has illustrated that with the correct safety and hygiene measures in place, public transport is COVID-safe.

“Public transport has to become an essential part of a green recovery. It is now time to rebuild trust in public transport and give it the attention in policy and investment decision that it deserves,” said Philip Turner, Head of Sustainable Development at UITP.

“If we continue to nurture public transport, it will draw people into cities and create a better, more sustainable environment and economy. Only with commitment from policy makers, industries and citizens, can public transport and its workers, continue to bring cities to life,” he added.