Guest Blog Post written by Tiffany Vlaanderen for TBLI CONFERENCE™ EUROPE 2015, where UITP will host a session on Investing in Sustainable Transport Infrastructure. Views and opinions are that of the writer and are not the official views of TBLI CONFERENCE™.
Growing urbanization presents opportunities and challenges for global cities to tackle. One crucial area where communities feel this growth most notably is in the daily commute. As mobility demands rise, mass transit is tasked with finding solutions to absorb transport demand. There is an urgent need for investing in public transport infrastructure, whether it be rail tracks, data collection systems, signaling systems, bus stops, ticketing machines or the development of commercial areas among others.
TBLI spoke with Alain Flausch, General Secretary of the International Association of Public Transport known as UITP, to better understand the latest trends and financing surrounding public transport projects.
What are currently the main challenges for public transport?
According to Flausch, the question is not whether we should be for or against sustainable public transport but rather how can public transport provide quality services that are efficient and comfortable enough for communities to use them. Flausch believes the difference between the individualistic and collective mentality in regard to transportation is one of the greatest challenges the industry faces.
One of the contradictions that is of great interest to UITP is the movement of shared economies in developed countries; developing countries, particularly those with growing megacities, showcase opposing trends with private transport being at the forefront of urban mobility. Flausch believes that in regard to developing economies, the pressure of the automobile industry to promote socioeconomic status through the purchase of a car is still present and of great concern.
“The developing economies are on the path to make the same mistakes we made fifty years ago," says Flausch. “We need to be a good alternative to car transport by being efficient and comfortable, so that it makes city life more peaceful and not a struggle for life while you’re queuing in some traffic jam."