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Transportation Options for Megacities in the Developing World A Working Paper Transportation Research Board
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PANEL ON TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS Members Ralph Gakenheimer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair Robert B. Cervero, University of California, Berkeley Kenneth M. Gwilliam, The World Bank John R. Meyer, Harvard University V. Setty Pendakur, University of British Columbia Daniel Sperling, University of California, Davis Michael Walsh, Consultant, Washington, D.C. Consultant Amrita Daniere, University of Toronto National Research Council Staff Stephen Godwin, Transportation Research Board Valerie Gibson, (summer intern) University of California, Los Angeles
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY With very few exceptions, rapid growth in demand for motorized transport has overwhelmed the transport capacity of cities in the developing world. Traffic congestion reduces the productivity of urban agglomerations everywhere, but the consequences in developing-country megacities are greater. Not only is the level of congestion higher in developing-country megacities, but many of these same megacities create a major part of their national gross domestic products. Therefore, reducing urban congestion is a central element of economic growth in these settings. Moreover, reducing congestion will also reduce automobile emissions and thus urban air pollution, which is currently a major health problem in most megacities. This paper examines a wide range of options for addressing the challenges of transportation in the developing world. Traffic and Demand Management. Principal tools for confronting rapid motorization in developing-country cities are traffic and transport management. Nothing else can be implemented at a sufficiently high level or as rapidly. Relatively simple measures, such as the introduction of one-way systems and reversible-flow traffic lanes, improvements in street conditions, and improved training of engineers and traffic police, can do much to improve traffic flows quickly and inexpensively. Additionally, financial measures for demand management, which include increased fees for parking in congested areas, congestion pricing, and higher taxes on fuels, can greatly influence demand for private motorized transportation. Environmental Measures. Air quality requires serious attention in all megacities. Eliminating leaded gasoline and requiting catalytic converters are the most cost-effective approaches to reducing automobile emissions. Additional controls on widely used two-stroke engines, such as timed fuel injection and catalytic exhaust aftertreatment, can significantly reduce emissions from these vehicles. Other measures discussed in the paper, such as land-use planning and encouragement of transit, can also help reduce emissions from transport. Technology offers additional opportunities for reducing emissions. For instance, several cities in India are actively pursuing the conversion of rickshaws and other small vehicles to electric power. Since such vehicles can be recharged at night (when electricity is cheaper and reliable) and have low power needs (thereby requiring small batteries), they
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could be an attractive option for some cities and regions. Natural gas vehicles may also be attractive in some cities for economic, trade, and energy supply reasons. Developing nations should keep a close watch on opportunities for both telecommunications and technology breakthroughs in coming years. Electric micro cars and, perhaps in the longer run, fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen could provide both mobility and air quality gains. Private-Sector Participation. It will also be necessary to begin planning for new and upgraded transit facilities and for new high-capacity road facilities for cities built in the prehighway era. An important proactive and early step in this process is the preservation of government-owned or -controlled corridors and right-of-ways. These facilities should be commercialized to the maximum extent possible and with the participation of the private sector. Private financing and management can better ensure that services are priced at their full cost, thereby minimizing capital and operating costs and giving proper market signals for capacity expansion. International experience is quite well documented in the areas of private bus services, private toll roads, and development charges. In addition, there are a number of examples of successful transit privatization efforts in Chile, Sri Lanka, and across the globe. Key to the successful inclusion of the private sector have been public practices to ensure fair and adequate competition in bidding for new facilities and for the management or operation of existing facilities. Linkage of Land-Use Planning and Transportation Investment. Land-use planning is an imperative in the face of rapid urban development (3 to 5 percent or more annually) accompanied by rapid motorization (over 10 percent annually). Motorization, particularly automotive transport, unleashes pressures for cities to decentralize; the sprawling, low-density development patterns characteristic of many western cities would not be possible without the automobile. Full-cost pricing of transportation can help constrain these pressures, as can public guidance of land development to ensure the transit serviceability of auto-generated suburbs. However in cities with high population densities and rising incomes, the pressures to decentralize will not be fully limited even by full-cost pricing. An example of guidance through land-use planning is provision for a regional polynucleated development pattern, with relatively high-density outlying nodes connected to the center by high-capacity road and bus service. Such a strategy can reduce land consumption while accommodating reduced population densities at levels high enough to support transit. Few cities are likely to be able to replicate the successes of Curitiba, Brazil, in this regard, but Curitiba does offer a model for future megacities. At a smaller scale, high-density development can be encouraged along transit stops and at major road intersections. Multimodal Transportation Systems. It is also extremely important to design traffic systems that can cope with the large variety of transport modes, all with different performance characteristics, negotiating the streets of most developing-country megacities. The range of transport modes in developing-country cities is far wider and richer than that of cities in the industrialized regions. The number and variety of transport modes observed in Jakarta or Shanghai, for example, present both different problems and opportunities than the cars, buses, and subways of New York or London. One cause of the extreme diversity in
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modal choice in developing countries is income; because much of the population of the developing world is unable to afford private or motorized transport, walking and other means of nonmotorized transport need to be an integral part of transportation policies and investment strategies. Traffic systems also need to be accommodating of informal transit modes, such as jeepneys, becaks, and minibuses, because in many cities, the informal sector provides a significant share of the transportation services. Planning for efficient multimodal transport is difficult for both institutional and systemic reasons. However, some cities have made important contributions to their multimodal integration through single-fare arrangements and compatible scheduling between pairs of modes. In addition, the inhabitants of developing-country cities are generally more reliant on less-polluting modes, and building on this history represents a distinct advantage in terms of the environmental costs of future development. The current trends of urbanization and motorization in developing countries are in many ways reproducing the patterns followed in developed countries. With the inevitable growth in population and the accessibility provided by motorized transport, residents are increasingly locating on cheaper land at the urban periphery. Changing residential patterns usually induce a substantial decentralization of employment, and in almost every case, these patterns are associated with an increase in the number and length of vehicular trips. The pattern followed in the industrialized cities has had environmental costs that can be avoided while the city still enjoys the substantial economic and mobility benefits provided by motorized transportation. Effective traffic management, full-cost pricing, environmental controls on fuels and vehicles, alternative technologies and fuels, privatization, land-use planning, and improved integration of multimodal transportation are all capable of ameliorating the grave mobility problems of megacities. Their effects are cumulative, and in important cases, they multiply each other’s significance.
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INTRODUCTION The effective functioning of megacities depends in the most basic way on an efficient transportation system. In many parts of the developing world, however, urban transport is characterized by a rapid growth in demand that has overwhelmed transport capacity. The resulting high level of congestion in many large developing-country cities, particularly in Southeast Asia, China, India, and many parts of Latin America, has negative implications for the level of economic development that can be achieved. In Bangkok, Thailand, for example, where infrastructure improvements lag well behind the growth in travel demand, estimates suggest that 3 million person hours are lost daily in the metropolitan region as a result of average traffic delays of 2 hours per trip during much of the day (Sussman and Bonsignore, 1993). In addition, the strains placed on the road networks of many large cities have led to significant declines in safety, as well as poor-to-terrible air quality in many places. Perhaps the most compelling aspect of these problems is that the urban poor bear the brunt of both congestion and deteriorating environmental quality because they often face the longest commuting times and spend much of their lives out of doors on congested, noisy, and polluted streets. Developing countries look to the industrialized nations to provide them with models, technologies, and strategies for dealing with growth in both urbanization and motorization. Certainly the experience of cities of the developed world with motorized transportation infrastructure planning and investment exhibits much that is attractive. Large cities in developed countries are productive urban agglomerations whose residents are frequently able to work in the dense center of the urban area while living in more spacious suburbs. Although many also rely on some form of rail-based mass transit, their life-style is, in most instances, based primarily on a high-quality road infrastructure. Yet western models of urban transport are of limited value for meeting the transportation needs of developing-country megacities. For one thing, the benefits of a transportation system designed around the private automobile have come at significant cost in large cities of the developed world. Moreover, given the great differences among the world’s megacities, it is important to recognize both the benefits and costs associated with various strategies for mobility and to choose the investments that hold the most promise for a specific urban setting.
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This paper begins, then, by highlighting the distinguishing features of urban transport in megacities of the developing world. The sections that follow examine various transportation policies in some detail and emphasize strategies that can help developing-country megacities improve mobility, reduce congestion, and avoid some of the more costly consequences associated with heavily auto-dependent societies. Some of the options available to developing-country megacities--such as using full-cost pricing to guide transportation use and investments--are less possible in many cities of the developed world, primarily because of existing infrastructure investments, established land-use patterns, and prevailing cultural norms. The options examined fall into seven areas: Improved traffic management Full-cost pricing Environmental measures Transport facility financing through private-sector participation Linkage of land-use planning and transportation investment Multimodal transportation systems Dissemination of knowledge and technology advances We conclude with a brief summary and conclusions. TRANSPORTATION PATTERNS IN DEVELOPING-COUNTRY MEGACITIES There are a number of fundamental differences between the process of motorization taking place today in developing-country cities and that which took place in the cities of the developed world. Most important among these is the pace of motorization (Gakenheimer, 1994). In the developed countries, cities and their surrounding regions had several decades to respond to the challenges posed by the widespread use of private automobiles and increased reliance on trucking for transporting freight. In many cities in the developing world, an equivalent growth is occurring over only one or two decades. In Bangkok, for example, motor vehicle registrations have increased at the rate of 12 percent a year for the past 10 years, while even in China, one of the world’s least motorized nations, the growth rate of motor vehicles has exceeded 18 percent per year since 1985. Moreover, many large cities in the developing world have followed a dense pattern of development that complicates the process of providing roads and public transport services to urban residents. In Asian cities such as Shanghai and Calcutta, for example, the integration of work, residence, and commerce in the urban core is very high. Developing-country cities frequently have much less space allocated to roads than was true of western cities during their initial phase of motorization. In Chinese cities, for example, the amount of land devoted to road space is often less than 10 percent, while even in 1910, when New York City was at its most dense in terms of population per hectare, roads comprised fully 15 percent of the urban land area in Manhattan (Gakenheimer, 1995; Jackson, 1984).
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The dense development and relative lack of land devoted to roads make it more difficult to build and operate efficient forms of transportation and increase the cost of acquiring land for expanding the road network. At the same time, developing countries often have fewer resources to devote to the provision of urban transportation infrastructure than did large cities of the industrialized world at the turn of the century. Many industrialized cities had well-established sources of funding for public infrastructure that could be expended over a reasonable time horizon to modernize infrastructure. In contrast, megacities of the developing world must apply limited public revenues to a score of pressing public needs that include not only transportation, but also water and sanitation services, telecommunications, and power supply. In most developing-country cities, demand for public transportation (both motorized and nonmotorized) has also grown much more rapidly than the population and has far outstripped the growth in revenues available for transportation infrastructure (Armstrong-Wright, 1993). Furthermore, most residents of developing-country megacities are not in a position to afford motorized public transport, let alone purchase a private vehicle. Any public investment that provides additional capacity for private vehicle use must often come at the expense of investment in public transport or nonmotorized modes that could potentially benefit a far greater number of people. Additionally, megacities in developing countries face more problematic obstacles to the implementation of transportation policies than is true of megacities in industrialized nations. In some cases, the obstacles are primarily institutional in nature and include overlapping and uncoordinated institutional structures, inadequate or poorly trained technical staff for planning and implementation functions, a lack of legal capacity to enforce regulations and laws, and limited institutional support for new, and often poorly understood, policies. In other instances, the major impediment to the implementation of transport strategies is the political framework in which decision making takes place (Daniere, 1995). These obstacles can be overcome only through a better understanding of the links between policy design and implementation in each particular city, as well as through changes in domestic legislation, the transfer of institutional skills, better training of personnel, and enhanced citizen participation. Although the majority of these strategies fall outside the rubric of traditional transportation policy and are not discussed here in any detail, it is important to recognize the effect of these obstacles on policy implementation. Transportation strategies that are transparent in nature, benefit the elite as well as the average citizen, and do not require large institutional changes are more likely to succeed in the developing-country context, and thus are emphasized in this paper. In some cases, megacities in developing countries have important transportation advantages relative to cities of the developed world. Compared with their counterparts in industrialized nations, for example, developing-country urban residents are much less reliant on forms of transportation that pollute the environment and/or are heavily subsidized, and are more open to using different transportation modes. According to recent estimates, walking trips account for two-thirds of the total trips in large African cities such as Dar es Salaam. Walking and cycling trips account for between 40 and 60 percent of the total trips in large cities on the Indian subcontinent, while a 1990 study in Tianjin, China, found that 75 percent
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TABLE 2 Percentage of Person Trips by Various Travel Modes (Replogle 1992) City Year Walk Bicycle & NMV Bus & Rail Motorcycle Automobile Other Total Australia Melbourne 1979 19 2 13 - 64 2 100 China Tianjin 1987 50 41 9 0 0 0 100 Shenyang 1984 10 65 25 0 0 0 100 Shangha 1986 38 33 26 - 3 - 100 India Kanpur 1977 72 24 0 3 1 0 100 Ahmedabad 1981 43 20 29 6 1 1 100 Bangalore 1984 44 12 36 6 2 0 100 Delhi 1981 29 18 40 100 Bombay 1981 15 11 58 1 8 7 100 Indonesia Bandung 1976 40 16 100 Surabaya 1984 20 25 13 26 9 7 100 Jakarta 1984 23 17 25 13 8 14 100 Nepal Kathmandu 1987 56 8 16 6 100 Japan Tokyo 1988 28 ** 27 0 100 Okayama 1982 23 30 7 ** 39 1 100 Matsuyama 1982 27 23 12 ** 34 4 100 Notes: **Small amount included with bike, NMV category --Data not available or included in other categories
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Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa, there are opportunities for the transfer of these modes between Asia and those regions. Most cities in the developing world make investments that emphasize the car and conventional means of public transportation, such as buses and metros, over nonmotorized or nonwestern means of public/private transportation. Indeed, despite the critical role played by nonmotorized transport modes in many cities, some governments have imposed constraints on nonmotorized vehicles, particularly cycle-rickshaws, claiming that they cause congestion, unfairly exploit human labor, or represent backwardness. In Jakarta, for example, authorities have seized some 100,000 cycle-rickshaws in the past 5 years, dumping at least 35,000 into Jakarta Bay as they seek to eliminate these vehicles from the city. Such strategies can reduce economic efficiency in that motorized transport is more expensive than nonmotorized modes, causes more environmental damage, and is associated with undesirable urban forms. For a given amount of road space, for example, the most efficient modes of transportation are generally rail or buses operating on their own dedicated rights of way. The least efficient use of road space is low-occupancy private cars. Bicycles fall in between this range, with road space use approaching that of buses in mixed traffic. 11 Moreover, these strategies ignore the role that paratransit modes, such as cycle-rickshaws and tricycles, can play in alleviating the deficiencies of modern bus and rail services. Furthermore, cities with a full variety of modes, such as Jakarta, Indonesia, are likely to have better mobility than those, such as Cairo, Egypt, where some modes are systematically excluded. Eliminating the diversity of transport options reduces economic efficiency by forcing the movement of people or goods to conform to a few higher-cost modes, rather than allowing choice of the most appropriate and affordable means. A transportation system in which a variety of modes function within a regulated but competitive market can serve different market niches more effectively than a system that has been forced to rely on one or two modes (Cervero, 1991; Replogle, 1991). In addition, maintaining diversity in the paratransit sector is crucial to maintaining good mobility for the poor. The choice of transportation mode in developing-country cities is very sensitive to income. While most people prefer private transport to public and motorized to nonmotorized, even a bicycle, the least expensive form of mechanized transport, is beyond the means of most in many cities. In Delhi, India, for example, 65 percent of the people living in squatter areas walk to work, while only 10 percent of low-income and 3 percent of middle-income workers rely on walking. Furthermore, the average walking and cycling trip in developing countries is five times longer than in developed countries (Gwilliam, 1995). The high level of dependence of the very poor on nonmotorized transport implies that one of the best ways to improve their quality of life is to invest in the nonmotorized transport sector. 11 These estimates are obviously subject to substantial variation in different cities and towns, depending on vehicle occupancy, level of traffic congestion and traffic mix, topography, frequency of public transportation stops, quality of the track or road surface, and other factors.
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For most poor households, walking accounts for the majority of all trips because when incomes are low, the value of time relative to cost for travelers is low as well. Although walking is free, it takes too much time for all but the shortest trips, and the poor must use either public transportation or bicycle for longer trips. Typically, a bicycle that will last at least 10 years costs the equivalent of 6 or 8 months of bus fare. Thus for the poor, particularly in Asia, but in other areas as well, increases in personal mobility are most commonly expressed in expanded use of bicycles and nonmotorized transport. Increased mobility for goods movement and the transportation of children and family also often relies on the greater use of cycle-rickshaws, where they are available. It is not only low-income urban residents who rely on bicycles, however. The travel time and convenience offered by the bicycle attracts people of all income levels to bicycles in many cities, particularly those in which measures are taken to facilitate cycling. As traffic congestion in Asian cities increases and the schedule reliability and average travel speeds of public motorized transport both decrease, bicycles become a more competitive mode for longer trips because of their flexibility, convenience, and greater reliability. While there is relatively little knowledge or expertise among transportation experts in North America about how to plan for the traffic problems posed by multimodal transport, a number of industrialized countries have had a great deal of success in combining motorized and nonmotorized transportation modes. Cities in Japan, The Netherlands, and Germany demonstrate that modern urban transportation does not necessarily require total motorization, but rather the appropriate integration of walking, nonmotorized transport, and motorized transport. In Holland, for example, bicycles account for 30 percent of all urban passenger transport and walking for another 18.4 percent (Pucher, 1988). Multimodal Transportation Strategies Determining the most efficient modal mix for a city requires consideration of a host of variables, including income levels, the value of time, and the price and speed of various transportation modes, as well as the externalities related to transportation. Given the wide variation in these factors, multimodal transportation strategies must be customized for different types of cities and should be an integral part of both transportation and urban development planning and policy. One way to accommodate different modes of transportation within roads is to allocate scarce road space more efficiently. In most travel corridors, demand for transport services comprises different trip lengths, implying that a complementary combination of modes should be accommodated to meet the needs of diverse travel markets. When road space is scarce, as in most megacities, traffic management should be the first step in dealing with traffic congestion problems. As discussed earlier, improved traffic management can include such measures as restricting turns at intersections and introducing one-way street systems.
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The segregation of different modes of transportation can result in even greater system efficiency. Experience in Chinese cities suggests that motorized and nonmotorized lanes must be physically separated because otherwise the conflicts at intersections become insurmountable. If street space is insufficient to accommodate demand even with separation, it is often possible to dedicate different streets to different modes and to impose or expand restrictions on private automobiles. Even in cities where streets are generally congested, it is often possible to find underused street space; an example is the use of alleys in Shanghai to provide right-of-way for a bicycle network. The design of transportation facilities can greatly affect traffic safety. Segregating slow- from fast-moving traffic, designing intersections to maintain good sight distances and reduce turning conflicts, and channeling traffic to enhance flow predictability can all improve safety and operational performance (Thom and Clayton, 1992). On the other hand, poorly designed and improperly maintained separate cycle facilities can increase safety problems, particularly in instances where numerous intersections or driveways cross the cycling paths and sight distances are poor. In some countries, design standards from highly motorized countries have been implemented without being tailored to local traffic conditions and have contributed to the dangerous driving conditions. Use of bicycles in combination with public motorized transportation can also be effective, as in Japan and China. To reduce long-distance commuting by bicycle and free up congested road space, the Chinese have established bicycle-subway and bicycle-bus exchange hubs in Beijing and other cities. Bicycle access to trains is also important in India, where many hundreds of bicycles can be seen at some stations. Bicycle access to public transit expands the cachement area of high-speed public transportation at a very low cost and represents the most valuable potential function of nonmotorized vehicles in megacities where average trip lengths are long. Integration of bicycles with public transportation is also an important strategy for sustaining nonmotorized and public transport mode shares in rapidly motorizing cities with mixed-traffic systems. Regulations and policies, including taxes and import duties, fuel taxes, vehicle registration and licensing fees, and credit financing systems for vehicle purchase, have a major influence on the cost and availability of various transportation modes. Frequently, import duties favor motorized transport. In Bangladesh, for example, the government has discouraged the importation of bicycles to protect local bicycle manufacturers while offering concessions to private car buyers. In 1989, the tax rate on imported bicycles was about 150 percent, while motor vehicles faced tariffs of only 5 to 50 percent. Such stiff protectionist measures have the effect of increasing bicycle costs significantly while failing to create viable automotive industries. On the other hand, a number of countries have implemented projects that assist low-income households in purchasing or acquiring nonmotorized vehicles. As noted above, bicycles and other nonmotorized modes remain prohibitively expensive in much of the world despite their relatively low cost. The average cost of a bicycle in West Africa, for example,
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is approximately 60,000 CFA or US $120 (assuming US $1 = 500 CFA), depending on the model and import taxes levied (Philpott, 1994). A domestic servant in Senegal earns approximately 500 to 1000 CFA a day and undoubtedly finds it very difficult to save enough to purchase a bicycle without some form of assistance. The World Bank has sponsored a project in Lima, Peru, that has resulted in the construction of bicycle lanes in downtown roads and involves lending money to individuals to buy bicycles. In Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a credit union of tricicleros helped finance vehicle purchases and a tricycle assembly workshop. In Hyderabad, India, commercial banks are encouraged to lend money to cycle-rickshaw operators for the purchase of vehicles (World Bank, 1990). These programs represent a way to increase the mobility of the poor quickly and effectively as long as they are accompanied by transportation designs that accommodate multiple transportation modes. Credit arrangements based on such successful models could be designed and promoted by researchers in the industrialized nations. Recent research has shown that long- and short-term transportation strategies will differ depending on the city’s stage of development and regional location (Dimitriou, 1993). Transportation system management strategies should be developed with consideration of appropriate choices of modal mix for various population groups and different planning horizons. These strategies should also include nontransport planning to reduce trips and trip lengths, increase energy efficiency, and retain environment-friendly transportation systems. A sample transportation system management model indicating appropriate policy and investment strategies over a 20-year time frame has been developed, which takes into account city size and degree of motorization (Pendakur, 1992). Although this model was developed for China, it is generally applicable to a wide class of low-income countries. DISSEMINATION OF KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGY ADVANCES In addition to the various options discussed throughout this paper, an essential element in improving megacity transportation systems is the dissemination of knowledge and recent advances in research and technology. There has been great progress in both technology and implementation of transportation policy that could, if adopted by national and municipal governments, dramatically affect the transportation situation in many large cities. One impediment to better dissemination of knowledge in the field of transportation is a lack of institutions to promote international research and share the findings of such research with practitioners and policymakers. The United States has a successful record in disseminating knowledge and setting operational and safety standards within the transportation sector. The U.S. Department of Transportation and its predecessor agencies have played a key role in sponsoring the development of transportation-related technologies and planning techniques and in standardizing technologies and evaluations, and have also been able to insist upon the general
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use of their successful innovations. The Transportation Research Board, one arm of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), is charged with responsibility for advising the U.S. government on major transportation policies and issues. In addition, it serves as a transportation research management and information service, with the objective of producing reports that disseminate transportation research results and technology worldwide, address major national transportation policy issues, and analyze research needs. Much of the board’s actual work is accomplished through the volunteer efforts of experts in the field and academia who actively participate in forums for the exchange of information with their peers. Organizations such as the NAS and its research bodies represent a valued and independent advisor to government and the private sector on matters of science and technology. Given that most of the megacities of the future will be in the developing world, it is inevitable that many of the most problematic transportation situations, as well as promising innovations, will occur in developing countries. Thus, it is vital that developing nations look toward the development of counterpart universities and research organizations to focus on their own national policies and agendas. It is just as important for universities, governments, and research organization to sponsor research by academics from industrialized countries on developing-country transportation issues. In this connection, it may be noted that the developed world has much to learn from developing countries, such as how to integrate commercial and residential activities more closely or how to better integrate a richer variety of transport modes, and opportunities to study these successes are few and far between. Transportation policy in the industrialized nations has a mixed record of success and failure. One can argue, however, that the developed world has been relatively successful at sharing information between scientists and researchers at universities, policymakers, and the private sector. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Many more urban residents of developing-country megacities rely on nonpolluting technologies to reach their destinations, are served by a far richer range of both motorized and nonmotorized vehicles, and are less reliant on public subsidies for transit than is true of their counterparts in the West. In addition, the integration of commercial, industrial, and residential activity in many developing-country cities is extremely high and might be envied by many a North American city. Nonetheless, for a number of reasons, megacities in the developing world face an immediate crisis in dealing with rapid motorization. This paper thus draws on transportation lessons learned more generally from both developing and developed countries that point to options and strategies appropriate to the urban landscapes of megacities. There are several key lessons or themes that can be drawn from the analysis presented here. Congestion in developing-country cities can be ameliorated in the short run through the comprehensive implementation of traffic and demand management strategies.
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Developed nations have been quite successful at implementing some aspects of these strategies, such as improved road signs and traffic signals, enforcement, and education, but have been less successful at demand management, particularly in the case of private automobiles. As a result, the flow of traffic in developed countries, while relatively smooth and reliable, is associated with unnecessary urban sprawl and a higher reliance on the automobile than might be warranted. Health dangers posed by motorized vehicles in developing-country megacities are severe and of larger magnitude than those in many industrialized nations. The environmental cost of widespread reliance on private automobiles is a lesson developed countries have learned quite late in the motorization process. It is an experience that does not necessarily have to be repeated in the developing world, where fuels can be cleaner, technologies can be adopted earlier on in the process, and fuels and roads can be priced according to the environmental costs they impose. Megacities should begin to rely more on market mechanisms to provide signals about the need for transportation investments, and these facilities should be commercialized to the greatest extent possible and with the participation of the private sector. Private financing and management can better ensure that services are priced at their full cost, thereby minimizing capital and operating costs and giving proper market signals for capacity expansion. Key to the successful inclusion of the private sector have been public practices to ensure fair and adequate competition in bidding for new facilities and for the management or operation of existing facilities. Better land-use planning is an imperative for most of the world’s megacities. It is particularly crucial in the context of developing countries because urbanization is occurring so rapidly and with so little guidance in these settings. An example of guidance through land-use planning is provision for a regional polynucleated development pattern, with relatively high-density outlying nodes connected to the center by high-capacity road and bus service. Such a strategy can reduce land consumption while accommodating reduced population densities at levels high enough to support mass transit. The number and variety of transport modes observed in developing-country megacities present both different problems and opportunities than the modes prevalent in industrialized nations. One cause of the extreme diversity in modal choice in developing countries is income; because much of the population is unable to afford private or motorized transport, walking and other means of nonmotorized transport need to be an integral and key part of transportation policies and investment strategies in the developing world. Traffic systems must also be accommodating of typically unregulated transit modes such as rickshaws, becaks, and jeepneys because in many cities, such modes represent a significant share of passengers. Planning for efficient multimodal transport is difficult for both institutional and systemic reasons, but some cities have made important contributions to multimodal integration through single-fare arrangements and compatible scheduling between pairs of modes. In addition, the inhabitants of developing-country cities are generally more reliant on less-polluting modes, and building on this history represents a distinct advantage in terms of the environmental costs of future development.
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