This paper provides an overview of recent developments in urban mobility and sustainability in Asia, highlighting the significance of understanding the ‘power of context’ when formulating relevant policy and planning responses to urban transportation challenges. It was first presented at the 85th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board in Washington D.C. in January 2006. The author argues that the challenge of how best to go about enhancing mobility and sustainability in today’s urban Asia is clearly a strategic mega issue that requires a thorough appreciation of the dynamics and influence of the context in which current Asian developments are taking place. Citing Naisbitt, the paper suggests this is significant for what is happening in Asia today is by far the most important current development in the world – not only for Asians but the entire planet. The author concludes by claiming that the translation of the aims of the sustainable development vision into the urban transport sector is one of the most difficult and challenging aspects of urban transport strategy formulation; a task made more difficult by recent forces of globalization that actively encourage a departure from past practices of using transport infrastructure to bind and unite cities and regions.
Harry T. Dimitriou
University College London (UK)