A vision for cities has never been more important than it is today. More than half of the world's inhabitants live in cities and this migration trend is expected to continue. By 2050 more than two-thirds of the world will be urban dwellers. India alone is expected to double the number of city dwellers by adding 404 million new people to cities over the next 35 years. (1)
Therefore, it will be under the auspices of cities where we will succeed or fail in achieving our goals of poverty eradication, equality, climate change reduction, and ensuring healthy lives. It will be the cities that determine if we achieve inclusive economic growth or yield to greater inequality. It is in cities where people will seek opportunities for higher education and employment. And, it will be cities that determine if we will continue our steadily increasing usage of the world's resources or if we can realize a more sustainable path. This is why sustainable development goal (SDG) 11, "Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable", is so important. Success in achieving the targets under SDG 11 sets the stage for achieving targets in many of the other SDG goals. We can examine just two of the targets as an example.
Target 11.2: By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.
Transportation is a key development issue and target 11.2 is important to achieve safe, resilient and sustainable cities. However, achieving target 11.2 will also be necessary if we are to address some of the targets in SDG 3 (Ensure healthy lives) including reducing non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Active transport can help achieve the NCD target by providing safe, comfortable, and attractive places to walk and cycle. City dwellers can walk or cycle to destinations in order to achieve the necessary physical activity that reduces their risk of NCDs. Walking and cycling are both affordable and accessible ways for the vulnerable, including women and the poor, to move about cities. In addition, active transport can contribute to achieving the target of halving the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic collisions. Fully 65 per cent of the 1.2 million deaths that occur each year worldwide due to road accidents...