Position Papers
Ken Gwilliam, Masami Kojima, and Todd Johnson
The World Bank, Washington DC (USA)
Published in
Submitted by
Peter Midgley
Related theme(s)
Urban Mobility, Environment & Climate Change
All Regions

Reducing Air Pollution from Urban Transport

Urban air pollution from road transport is a growing concern in many developing country cities. With rising incomes, motorized transport is expected to continue to increase in the coming years, further threatening air quality. Poor air quality in turn has been shown to have serious effects on public health. The World Health Organization estimated that 650,000 people died prematurely from urban air pollution in developing countries in 2000.

The need to tackle air pollution from transport is widely acknowledged. But the menu of options available is varied and can be daunting. Are there key questions that should be answered to guide policymaking? Under what conditions are the different mitigation measures likely to achieve pollution reduction? Are there critical steps to be taken or underlying conditions that must be met, without which pollution reduction is unlikely? Which mitigation measures are robust, which may be implemented successfully, and which are still in the area of pilot testing?

This report is an abridged version of the full report and is intended as a companion to it. It was prepared to provide guidelines and principles for answering the questions above and other related questions. Given the varying nature of air pollution, pollution sources, and available resources, answers and even key policy questions will differ from country to country. Hence, the report does not attempt to provide precise prescriptions applicable to all circumstances. It rather draws on lessons from international experience to propose a framework in which policy selection and implementation should occur. The three sectors most closely linked to vehicular air pollution are environment, transport, and energy. The report places a special emphasis on how to coordinate policies across the three and how to reconcile their sometimes conflicting objectives and demands in order to achieve environmental improvement.