Transport and Sustainability

Most transport projects, plans, concepts or policies have the goal to achieve sustainability. "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions. For each of these aspects, transport plays a specific role to achieve the goal.

TCP International supports you in transforming this general objective into specific targets that focus on feasible outputs. We provide tailor-made and equitable solutions by pursuing a holistic approach which takes into account environmental, social and economic sustainability.

For more information about our knowledge base and approach, please click on the relevant part in the graph below:

Economic Social Environmental
Economic and Financial Sustainability

Without sound economic principles, the sustainability of transport systems and projects is endangered. These relate for example to appropriate budgeting, cost-recovery, prioritisation according to costs and benefits or rates of return, public expenditure tracking. For example, a major principle is not to invest in new infrastructure before the maintenance of the existing network is secured.
One of the major issues is related to external costs in transport. Those are environmental and accident costs that are generated by individual users, but are paid by the whole society. An internalisation of these costs leads to more sustainability in transport.

Social Sustainability

Large scale poverty and social disparities are issues related to transport that affect many countries, especially in the developing world. Good access to markets, places of employment and social services is a crucial element of sustainability. If, for example in rural areas parts of a country, access is bad or transport services expensive, farmers and disadvantaged people cannot sell their products or cannot access public services and thus are forced to remain in the subsistence economy. Transport and regional planning can help to overcome this poverty trap.
In urban areas access has impacts on poverty as well. Often low income groups live far away from centre and places of employment and are not able to afford transport services. They often use non-motorised means of transport, but safety is low due to missing or inappropriate infrastructures.

Environmental Sustainability

The World Health Organisation estimates that about 2 million people are dying annually from air pollution. Transport is contributing considerably to bad air quality, especially in the megacities of developing countries.
Sustainability is not only endangered through air pollutants, noise and greenhouse gas emissions, but as well accidents, congestion and separation effects. Industrialised countries have successfully developed solutions to solve some of these challenges that can be easily transferred to the fast developing world. TCP International provides advice to adapt and transfer these solutions to other countries.
The impacts of climte change are well researched and urgent action is needed, since transport contributes with 25% to global CO2 emissions. Consequently, the recent White Paper of the European Union demands that at least 60% of the Green House Gas emissions shall be reduced by 2050. "Looking 40 years ahead, it is clear that transport cannot develop along the same path". Although the goal seems to be quite simple, the conversion into strategies and activities is major challenge, especially since newly industrialised countries are presently experiencing a rapid motorisation.


TCP International supports governments in achieving environmental sustainability through

Environmental sustainability

  • Strategies and plans for a decarbonisation of transport on the national, regional or local scale.

  • Advice on funding options for CO2 reduction measures from national and international sources.

  • Integration of settlement and transport planning with the goal of decarbonisation.

  • Development and implementation of low-carbon transport projects, such as Transport Demand Management, improvement of public transport systems, innovative concepts for low-emission vehicles, ITS for regional transport management.

  • Interdisciplinary research projects on innovative solutions for decarbonisation, such as door-to-door transport solutions, smart cards for public transport, concepts and requirements for e-mobility

  • Development of environmental transport strategies on the national, regional and local scale.

  • Advice for transfers of up-to-date environmental technologies

  • Advice on design of environmental friendly transport projects, such as vehicles and fuel technologies, Transport Demand Management, Public Transport improvement, EcoDriving, Air Quality Management.

  • Strategic environmental impact assessment.

  • Noise mapping and noise abatement strategies.

  • Sustainable communal mobility concepts.

  • Research for unsolved environmental problems, such as noise, congestion, decarbonisation, accident prevention.


TCP International provides advice on social sustainability as follows:


Social sustainability

  • Integration of transport into poverty reduction strategies (PRSP)

  • Transport and regional planning approaches that include agriculture, transport infrastructure and services, non-motorised transport, communication technologies and logistic chains.

  • Sustainable rural roads projects with a strong focus on poverty alleviation and gender integration.

  • Strategies for improved access to markets including transport services and non-motorised transport.

  • Sustainable communal transport concepts with focus on poor income groups.

  • Public transport designs to facilitate access of handicapped, children and other mobility restricted persons.


TCP International provides comprehensive knowledge and sound tools to assess economic sustainability:


Economic sustainability

  • Quantification of external costs of transport projects, plans and strategies.

  • Strategies for internalisation of external costs in transport.

  • Benefit/Cost assessments including environmental costs.

  • Methodologies how to introduce external costs in project assessments.

For more information about our services in the field of economic and financial appraisal and sustainability please click here.

TCP International supports his partners to find an appropriate path towards economic, social and environmental sustainability in transport.