‘Share the Road’ is a UNEP initiative, developed since 2008 with co-founder the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society. It brings together the environment and safety agendas in the context of urban transport in the developing world where the majority of people – those moving by foot or bicycle – are disadvantaged on the road. The overall goal is to catalyse policies in government and donor agencies for systematic investments in walking and cycling road infrastructure, linked with public transport systems.
Around the world, investment patterns in road infrastructure continue to favor the car. Despite the high societal costs, increasing the road space for cars continues to be a priority for investors and governments. In regions like Africa, the first region of focus for Share the Road, where only a small fraction of the population own or have access to a car, the development of road infrastructure neglects the needs of the majority of road users – pedestrians and cyclists. (Read our 2-page article “High Time to Change Road Investment Patterns in Africa” in Urban World, UN-Habitat’s quarterly magazine.)
Investing in road infrastructure for walking and cycling leads to massive benefits in environment, safety and accessibility. It reduces emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, protects vulnerable road users and income earning adults from high-speed motor traffic, and increases affordable access to vital services and employment.
Share the Road promotes a ‘shift’ within the transport sector, so that an integrated, multi-modal urban transport system can be built instead of a highly costly car-centric system. In order to influence decision-making, Share the Road works with governments, donor agencies and relevant partners to:
1. Encourage development of non-motorised transport (NMT) policies for balanced distribution of investments across transport modes;
2. Support demonstration projects as examples of shared sustainable roads; and
3. Undertake development of NMT support tools as a key means of creating a solid foundation of knowledge and expertise, from which sustainable application of NMT principles can be promoted.
These interventions support development country cities to establish sustainable transport systems which are central to a Green Economy, and to achieving the goals of the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety (2011-2020), as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). (Read our Global Report , ‘Share the Road: Investment in Walking and Cycling Road Infrastructure’, or start with the Executive Summary .)
Share the Road continues to facilitate lesson learning and sharing of experiences from existing projects in East Africa, and partnership building with other African cities is on-going to enhance activity delivery that will support development of NMT policies, as part of the Africa Sustainable Transport Forum (ASTF) Action Framework . In addition, the programme is engaging global partners and networks to front robust NMT arguments, encourage impetus for investments and promote long term sustainability of NMT infrastructure.
Visit the UNEP Transport Unit’s website for more information on our other programmes such as the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV), the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) and our work in the area of public transport.