The Global Mobility System Today

Moving people and goods around the world is now faster, cheaper and more efficient than it ever was. Thanks to air travel, journeys that once took weeks or even months can now be completed within a day. Larger number of goods can now be shipped from one corner of the globe to another with the help of faster and bigger cargo ships helping international trade flourish. Meanwhile increasing access to transport has helped connect millions with better jobs, education and health care.

Demand for transport in the near future is set to increase dramatically. By 2030, annual passenger traffic is set to increase by 50%, global freight volumes by 70% and an additional 1.2 billion cars will be on the road by 2050. With half of the new world population entering the middle-class, lifestyle and mobility expectations are changing radically.

How can we ensure that this demand for greater mobility from the current generation is not met at the expense of future generations? In other words, how can we ensure that mobility is sustainable?

Did You Know ?

  • At least, 1 billion people in low-income countries do not have access to an all-weather road.

  • In rural areas, 4% of food losses occur post-harvest, including degradation and spillage due to poor transport conditions.

  • About 7.5 billion trips are taken every day in urban areas worldwide, but less than 16% on public transport. In Sub-Saharan Africa (and North America), less than 5% of trips are taken using public transport.

  • Only 22% of transport workers in the European Union are women.

  • More than 1.25 million people continue to be killed in the world’s roadways every year and 50 million injured.

  • Nine out of ten road deaths occur in low and middle income countries despite them having just over half the total number of vehicles in the world.

  • Transport is responsible for 64% of global oil consumption and 23% of energy related green-house gas emissions.

  • Developing countries pay 40-70% more to ship internationally per dollar of import.

But the following is also true:

  • Transport has become the backbone of virtual mobility. For example, rural residents in China are now connected virtually with global markets through an on-line marketplace company; this allows them to transport their produce to the whole world and have goods like fertilizers and seeds brought to their doorstep.

  • The African continent could become self-sufficient in food and create a regional food market worth $1 trillion by 2030 if it could significantly improve access of farmers to markets through roads.

  • Transport corridors are the lifeline of refugees and vulnerable people in humanitarian crises, emergencies and disaster situations.

  • Mobility is shaping the future of cities. In Africa, many cities are ill prepared for the expected increase in urban population. In Mumbai, 8 million passengers per day – more than the population of Bulgaria – access their jobs through urban rail.

It is time to re-examine how we can ensure that mobility is safe, efficient, and green, while leaving no one behind. We have a shared global responsibility to ensure that the transport sector moves in the right direction.