News

CAI Reviews Urban Transport Demand Management in LAC

July 2012: The Clean Air Institute (CAI) has issued a policy paper titled "Transport Demand Management: Opportunities and Challenges in Urban Areas of Latin America," which looks at the strategies that Latin American cities may consider to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through cutting unnecessary unsustainable travel and promoting more sustainable modes of transport.

The paper reviews the transport challenges and opportunities facing Latin American cities, some demand management instruments, both "push" and "pull," currently in use both in the region and internationally, and the utility and appropriateness of each for Latin America. These include: the elimination of fuel subsidies; charges on vehicle ownership to reflect externalities; limits to vehicle registration; charges for the use of roads and urban tolls; financial instruments associated with urban sustainable development such as incentives to live close to work or along public transportation routes; parking restrictions; regulatory restrictions, such as banning cars with certain license plates on certain days of the week; "pay by distance" (taxation or fees based on actual distance traveled in a vehicle); restrictions or penalties for high-emission vehicles; employer schemes, such as incentives for bicycle use.

The paper stresses that while there is no "silver bullet" or one-size-fits-all solution for Latin American cities, several studies suggest parking restrictions as the most viable in the short term, and fuel policies as the most difficult to adopt both technically and politically, while "congestion charges" might be considered an intermediate compromise. The paper concludes that while Latin American cities already have the information and technical capacity to implement demand management strategies, they require strong political will at the municipal level to implement them successfully.

CAI was created as a result of an agreement between the World Bank and the members of the Clean Air Initiative for Latin America Cities. Its mission is to improve air quality and mitigate climate change. It serves as a forum for regional strategy and project development, as well as for channeling training, technical assistance and information exchange throughout Latin America. [CAI Press Release (in Spanish)] [Publication: La Gestión de la Demanda de Transporte]