IEA Reports on Ways to Achieve Sustainability in Urban Transport

(Paris) — 22 August 2002

Transport is the fastest-growing energy-consuming sector worldwide. Rapidly increasing populations and vehicle usage have created gridlock and sprawl, even in very poor cities, as well as unacceptably high levels of air pollution, noise, and accident rates. But improvements can be made.

A new publication from the International Energy Agency (IEA), "Bus Systems for the Future, Achieving Sustainable Transport Worldwide", shows how new bus systems emerging in Latin America are revolutionising urban travel. These "Bus rapid transit" (BRT) systems, now in place in about a dozen cities, provide a fast, reliable and efficient service for large numbers of people. "Better bus systems and bus technologies can put urban transportation on a more sustainable path around the world," said Robert Priddle, Executive Director of the IEA.

This publication demonstrates the advantages of bus rapid transit over traditional systems. Express busways, employing high-capacity buses and new technologies such as GPS-based bus tracking systems, can conveniently and reliably move up to 10 times as many people along a route as can cars - and cover their costs.

"Bus Systems for the Future, Achieving Sustainable Transport Worldwide" describes successful systems in Latin America and compares BRT to other, usually more expensive transit options, such as light rail and metro. The book provides:

A detailed look at the next generation of buses: clean fuels and advanced technologies such as "clean diesel", CNG, hybrid-electric and fuel cells.
Case studies of transport in six large cities and of the steps each has taken to encourage more sustainable transport systems, including development of BRT systems.
An examination of potential emissions reductions, fuel savings, and traffic impacts to be gained from improving bus systems, alongside technology-based options, such as improving buses themselves.

An example of how cities can cut their transport energy use and CO2 emissions in half by 2020.