"Six research routes to steer transport policy", a research article published in Nature

Transport research is central to twenty-first-century global challenges that include energy provision, climate change and health.

More than 90% of the 1.2 million traffic deaths each year worldwide occur in developing countries and half involve pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Premature death from vehicle-related fine-particle air pollution worldwide is predicted to rise by 50% by 2030. In rich countries, sedentary lifestyles and obesity are in large part the result of our love affair with the car. In poor countries, people may spend two hours walking to work to avoid a modest bus fare.

"Our transport systems, as well as our cities, must be planned for people – not for a particular mode of transport or by a hand-ful of companies with vast lobbying power. Delivering low-carbon mobility for all will take fresh thinking, says Eric Bruun and Moshe Givoni in their research article published in Nature 2 July, 2015.

"Governments should support system-level research that is needed by the public sector yet attracts scant funding from the private sector. The majority of research money for transport currently goes to technological development with commercial potential – such as the driverless car – which already receives private funding."

Reframing mobility research to answer the following six questions will inform better transport policies.

– How should the impacts of transport systems be evaluated?
– How does the structure of cities affect sustainability, living standards and functioning costs?
– How can mobility beyond cities be improved?
– How could transport be improved in developing countries?
– What kinds of governance work for the transport system?

Eric Bruun is a visiting professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland. Moshe Givoni is head of the Transport Research Unit, Department of Geography and the Human Environment, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel. Givoni teaches at Aalto University Summer School on Transportation 2015.

Read the article publishd by Nature: Six research routes to steer transport policy

Transportation Engineering (eng.aalto.fi)

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