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Transportation in developing countries: an overview of greenhouse gas reduction strategies

Worldwide, greenhouse gas emissions are rising faster in transportation than in any other sector. Rapid motorisation — more cars and trucks — is the principal cause. This report focuses on the challenges faced by developing countries in accommodating and managing motorisation and the demand for improved transportation.

The report provides a broad characterisation of transportation in developing countries, identifying common challenges and opportunities for policymakers, and suggesting policy options that aim to slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

The most important observations are:

  • Rapid motorisation — and rapid growth in transport-related greenhouse gas emissions — are unavoidable in most developing nations.
  • The relationship between car ownership and income is not fixed.
  • Once people have personal vehicles, they use them even if alternative transportation modes are available.
  • There are many sensible policies and strategies that would slow the growth of transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions. Key strategies include increasing the cost of using conventional private cars and enhancing the quality and choices of alternative transportation.
  • Many of the strategies for slowing and eventually reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation have local as well as global benefits.
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