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Digital Futures for Transport: Innovations for a More Just, More Sustainable Transformation

Aimee Gauthier



Wednesday, June 29, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 4
United States of America
Transforming Cities through Innovative Solutions and Technologies
NE NE 154


Both freight and public transport have been pivoting towards the use of digital approaches for system planning and operation and have developed platforms that help streamline usage and access to the service, both by operators and users. Digitalization could be transformative, helping enable connected mobility, integrated logistics, and improved implementation with huge potential for optimizing transport systems.

Transport digitalization can open new opportunities for markets and services, and facilitate integration with other systems, like energy. It can also potentially foster inclusion through information and service integration. Digitalization could also result in exacerbating existing inequities and increased emissions and pollution and can lead to greater exploitation, especially of labor.     For digitalization to be transformative, it will need to address rising inequity, climate change, and road safety. Technology can not be seen as an isolated tool, but will need to be well integrated in sustainable mobility approaches to reap benefits.    

The deployment of such systems in urban areas requires: regulatory frameworks to incentivize the development and market uptake of technologies; standards to ensure interoperability; and data exchange and protection. Legal and fiscal instruments are needed to enable cities to implement digital solutions. The  deployment of digital technologies needs to be demonstrated to stimulate uptake. Capacity building and knowledge sharing are critical at all levels.    

This networking panel will bring together key leaders in this space that seek to harness the transformative potential of digitalization to create more sustainable and equitable outcomes. The city of Merida undertook a thorough process of digitalization, using it to help transform the public transport system. Now, the city will be addressing how this can support the city’s sustainability, accessibility, and gender inclusion goals. Merida will hopefully be a model for how cities in Latin America specifically, and hopefully globally, can use digitalization to achieve public policy goals. Coopcycle is leading a transformation of on-demand delivery working conditions. E-commerce was on the rise before the pandemic, but has been accelerating since. With this rise, the working conditions for delivery workers have been more precarious. Coopcycle is using a digital platform to support bike delivery workers to improve working conditions in the field. Finally, UNEP has launched a new project, ACCESS, that looks to support digitalization as a catalyst for emissions reduction and sustainability in six countries.   


The main objectives of this networking event is to showcase emerging best practices on how digitalization can be used to reach the goals of the New Urban Agenda and provide guidance to others looking to similar activities in their cities from the perspective of:  

  • Public transport,  
  • Freight,  
  • Data-driven decision making.    

It also seeks to bring together people working on this emerging issue in a space to allow them to network and meet each other, in the beginning of developing an informal community of practice on this issue.