THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) has released the first batch of data gathered as part of a new regional knowledge platform to guide sustainable transport development in the Asia and Pacific regions.

The Asian Transport Outlook (ATO) will support the planning and delivery of transport sector assistance by ADB, as well as transport policy and initiatives by Asian governments, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Paris Agreement, and other international agreements.

“This first batch of information reminds us of the challenges faced by economies in Asia and the Pacific in developing the transport sector as they start to look at the period beyond Covid-19,” says ADB vice-president for knowledge management and sustainable development, Mr Bambang Susantono. “We are now getting data that detail the shortages in transport infrastructure and transport services experienced by ADB members. This will help ADB, its member governments, and other stakeholders to build back the transport sector in Asia and the Pacific in a more sustainable manner in the coming years.”

The ATO collects, organises, and shares data on the transport sector in economies using more than 400 indicators. The first batch of information includes data for 234 indicators on the status of transport infrastructure, transport activity, access and connectivity, road safety, climate change, air pollution, and health, as well as socioeconomic conditions. The ATO will also document the institutional frameworks, policies, and financing of transport in these economies.

During Phase 1, up to April 2021, the data will become available by country. Following the initial launch of the ATO, containing 234 indicators in March 2021, periodic updates of the ATO sharable database will expand the number of indicators for which information is available.

The indicators are divided into eight main categories:

  • infrastructure
  • transport activity and services
  • access and connectivity
  • road safety
  • air pollution and health
  • climate change
  • socio-economic, and
  • miscellaneous.

The ATO is developed on behalf of ADB by the Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (Slocat), a global multi-stakeholder partnership on sustainable, low carbon transport.

“The ATO will help ADB and Slocat in mobilizing the transport community in support of evidence-based action on transport in Asia,” says Slocat secretary general, Ms Maruxa Cardama. “The coming years will be decisive in determining whether we are meeting the objectives of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. The manner in which the transport sector in Asia develops is key for both processes and the ATO will tell us whether we are on track.”

The ATO is a multi-year programme with the potential to serve as the primary knowledge base on transport in Asia. In order to achieve this, ADB will make the ATO database freely available and is encouraging transport planners and policymakers to make use of ATO data in their work. To enhance the success of the ATO, ADB is calling on all organisations working on transport in Asia to freely share their data.

ADB approves funding for around 40 transport projects per year on average, with more than $US 5bn committed annually over the past three years.

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