A Europe-focussed part of the United Nations argues that the “mass use of cars will not be sustainable” after global lockdowns ease. To meet international climate change obligations, governments will instead have to fund and promote “more environmentally sound, healthy and sustainable” forms of mobility, “particularly bicycle use.”
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe—or UNECE—is advocating for post-pandemic transport based on “sustainability and resilience.”
A new task force will be formed to explore “long-term and strategic changes” for mobility. This task force—Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme, or THE PEP—will “develop a set of principles for green and healthy sustainable mobility,” says a UNECE statement.
The organization argues that the “current crisis gives us an opportunity to reconsider the functioning of the transport sector” and that there is an “obligation to restart in a manner that is conducive to a more efficient, greener, healthier and more sustainable system.”
THE PEP task force will be composed of representatives of Member States, NGOs, and academia. Recommendations will be made for endorsement next year.
Next year? Structural changes are needed soon if cities are not to be strangulated by cars thanks to non-use of public transit due to coronavirus worries.
As Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner has said many times, the evidence for more active transport is overwhelming, what’s needed is the political will to act on it.
“My god, we have a sea of evidence about what is needed,”” Boardman tweeted in 2018, “we are drowning in the stuff.”
The tweet was in response to yet another political committee asking how to get people out of cars.
Boardman stressed: “We know exactly what to do: sustained, meaningful funding, strong cross-party leadership, and a real commitment to change.”
It’s likely the UNESCE task force will come to the same conclusions. Might it therefore not be best to cut to the chase and urge governments to take action now?