ing more than 320 kilometers (200 miles) of bike
lanes throughout the city. The result? Up to half of
its residents now bike to work.
Planning for Big Changes
Creating a better transportation future entails identifying public-private partnerships to supplement
project funding and building support from all major
stakeholders, including regulators and citizen groups,
Mr. Rainwater says. It also involves thinking through
transportation options for the “first and last mile”—
i.e., getting to and from public transport options—to
make them attractive to consumers.
That’s where driverless cars will come in, Mr.
Rainwater says, noting that companies like Uber
and Lyft are already partnering with cities to
move passengers on the last leg of their journey.
He imagines driverless fleets always on the move,
making it easier for patrons to use public transport
and reducing the need for parking. “From a convenience and land-use perspective, this is the best-case scenario,” he says.
But getting projects off the ground to turn this
vision into reality isn’t easy. New transport infrastructure can be expensive and disruptive, often taking
years to construct and infringing on public roads.
“You can’t create space when there is none,” Ms.
Parik says, so roads for private vehicles often need to
A Bus Rapid Transit
station in Curitiba, Brazil
be traded for bus routes, bike paths and other public
options. That can be a tough sell for citizens, especially if they are not part of the planning process.
Ms. Parik notes that Buenos Aires’ BRT project
was successful in large part because the project
team engaged citizens in decision-making from
the outset through public meetings and campaigns
that touted BRT’s benefits to the people and the
environment. Buenos Aires city leaders are “now
mentoring other leaders in cities like Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia and Santiago, Chile to help them engage
the public on their own projects,” she says.
C40 is also bringing city leaders together to
explore the feasibility of setting ambitious targets
for electric buses and to identify strategies that can
cut the cost and risk of bringing in these technologies in large volumes. “We are trying to use the
power of the collective to engage manufacturers
and pool resources to make these projects possible,” Ms. Parik says. Such collaborations can drive
innovations at scale, while also helping city leaders to choose the best projects for their cities and
understand how to execute them.
To maintain their competitive advantage, cities
have to be open to major change, says Mr. Rainwater. “It’s an exciting time to implement these projects. There’s so much innovation happening in the
urban environment.” —Sarah Fister Gale
trying to use
the power of
—Gunjan Parik, C40 Cities
Climate Leadership Group,