Home » Meetings » Codatu VIII in 1998 – Cape Town (South Africa)
Posted on Saturday 25 July 1998 in Meetings
Topic of the conference : “Urban transport policy – a sustainable development tool ”
Summary of proceedings by Christian Jamet and Peter Freeman, Co-Presidents of the International Scientific Committee.
Ladies and gentlemen ,
Over 250 proposals were submitted to the International Scientific Committee of CODATU VIII and of these, 180 were invited to submit papers. On hundred and fifty seven papers were accepted to be published in the Conference’s proceedings and about 130 presented in the technical sessions over the past three days.
These figures clearly demonstrate the great interest of the many authorities responsible for urban and suburban transport and of the international community of scientific and technical experts for the conference’s main theme “urban transportation policy : a sustainable development tool “.
The Organizing Committee chose the theme in the context of the findings of the Conference of the United Nations on Human Settlements “Habitat II”.
The authors of the papers have come from over 40 different countries, and the participants of the confernece from over 50. Both presentations and discussions have been excellent and we will now try to summarise the main ideas on your behalf.
These conclusions are the result of a magnificent effort by the International Scientific Committee and both Co-Presidents would like to thank all members most sincerely for their efforts in the run up and during the Conference.
urban transport in many developing countries is in crisis ! From the feedback received from many papers during the Conference, we are able to make the following conclusions concerning the general context, service levels, need for mobility and environmental effects of different policies:
The main role of a transport system is to meet the population’s need for access and mobility. In this regard, the gradual spread of the location of work and residential areas outside the urban centres (perl-urban) has complicated and increased the demand for transport within urban areas. As mobility is also a factor of sustainable development, a comprehensive and coherent transportation policy is a necessary tool for development, economic comptetitiveness and social cohesion.
Can such a policy be a sustainable development tool ? to answer this question, it is important to emphasise the main factors for durability in regard to the preservation of adequate living conditions for future generations.
This factors include :
The definition and the implemtation of an urban transport policy based on these factors is obviously a very ambitious undertaking. Morever, the approach must also take into account
The durability of development linked with the implementation of a comprehensive transport policy depends to a large extent on the continuity of the actions undertaken and on the permanent search for adjustments and improvements necessary to preserve not only adequate living conditions for the coming generations, but also to improve the living conditions of the present generations.
This definition of sustainable development related to urban transport has not been changed by the debates in the Round Table and the Technical sessions. So, we can consider that this point has tacit approval of the Conference.
Although our earlier disgnosis may sound pessimistic, the papers published and prsented do show a real will to implement a comprehensive and coherent urban transport policy.
Over and above these points is the fact that all the efforts made to improve urban transport should involve proper public participation and consultation. The Round Table presenters clearly made this point.
The list of strong points, emerging from the papers presented, would also be incomplete if we didnot mention the case of South Africa. This country is undertaking a process of large-scale reforms. The “Moving South Africa” strategy project suggested that difficult choices have to be made between competing projects. The implementation of an urban transport policy must be undertaken within such a framework, taking into account especially, the need to develop public transport for the use of the active population. “Moving South Africa” is a good example of the definition of a long-term strategy which has now to be implemented.
Most of the papers presented at the Conference show a consistent need to work methodically. They key work of this Conference is definitely “methods” :
In summary, the key word “methods” shows a pressing need felt by the participants for strong expert appraisal. This expertise would provide a solid foundation for the undertaking of action plans -whatever the field – by all stakeholders.
Both the Round Table and osme Technical sessions emphasised the importance of sound institutional arrangements. Moreover, there appears to be a need for strong international cooperation and it is here that CODATU can play a significant role.
Financial aspects have certainly been another of the author’s main concerns at the Conference, but it appears to have been tackled in a reluctant manner. To deal with financial aspects, one’s first (and main) target has to be to convince policy makers at local, national and even international level that the organisation of urban transport is a priority. If people are not fully aware that an efficient transport system is necessary for sustainable development of the economy and of the social cohesion of their city, the necessary political approval will not be forthcoming. Decision-makers must therefore be convinced that there is a need to provide good quality well-researched plans and objectives, highlighting the importance to the city of an efficient and effective transportation system. We all have a role in promoting this message.
First of all, this Conference has given the opportunity to over 500 delegates from more than 40 countries to debate our Conference theme : “Urban Transport Policy – A sustainable development tool”. Through all the debates, both in the Round Table and in the field of urban and suburban transport. This point reinforces two needs where CODATU can play a significant role – the need for international cooperation via training and institutional strengthening and the need to encourage studies and research in the various fields of urban transport.
The second point is about financial aspects. This is critical and we think that the main objective should be to convince policy makers at local, national and even international level that the organisation of urban transport is a priority. However, this is very difficult to achieve because of competing development needs in the different sectors ; i.e. housing, health, education and other urban services. Therefore, the solution is to have a comprehensive approach to urban development. Transport is not needed for its own sake but, without efficient transport, cities cannot function. A comprehensive role to urban planning is needed in which transport has an integral key input.
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