The purpose of this task was to exchange information among cities around the globe on how to reduce air pollution from road traffic. For those cities that were suffering from this problem, learning from each other’s experiences helps in choosing adequate measures and effectively implementing them. To achieve this goal, the task aimed to create a network of persons and organizations in developing and industrialized countries that have experience with innovative solutions for traffic problems, who will co-operate in high priority projects that meet urgent transportation and air quality needs of particular cities or countries.
Mr. Tommy Månsson (EnEN AB, Sweden) organised a workshop on ‘Clean city vehicles’ in Paris, in September 2002. The Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) generously contributed travel and accommodation funds to enable representatives from developing countries to participate. The countries represented included: Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Peru and Thailand.
The Paris workshop clearly demonstrated the added value of discussing the topic in a group of people with different backgrounds. In addition to the results that the workshop was aiming for, other valuable outcomes emerged.
An eye opener was that in many areas of the transportation sector the developing countries are in fact ahead of the industrialized ones. The ‘Bus rapid transit’ systems in Bogotá and Curitiba are world leaders. Brazil is a world leader in the use of ethanol as a transportation fuel, and Argentina is leading in the conversion of vehicles to CNG. China is world leader in the use of electric bicycles. Over 600 electric three-wheel passenger vehicles ply the city streets in Kathmandu, Nepal, mainly as taxis. Many cities in developing countries have a system of communal taxis or small vans that is highly energy efficient and low cost. There is a large potential for replicating this kind of success stories of one city or country to another.
A success story is the plan to study a ‘Bus rapid transit’ system for Dhaka in Bangladesh. After the Paris workshop, Task 9 arranged for city officials from Dhaka to visit the TransMilenio bus rapid transit system in Bogotá, Columbia, with the financial support of the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida). Because of this visit, the officials from Dhaka have now set up a task force to study the possibility of constructing a similar bus system in their city.
An important general topic which was recognised by the participants in the Paris workshop to be a challenge for everyone, is how to bring the necessary changes about. Many types of clean vehicles are available on the market, but it appears to be difficult to actually get a significant number of these vehicles on the road. The workshop came up with a four-step approach to solve this problem: