Transport and Covid-19: responses and resources

The Future of Public Transport Funding

Well-funded public transport services that provide easy access for all citizens to the opportunities they seek are essential to decarbonising transport, making our cities more liveable, and connecting people living in rural areas. This report aims to help governments meet the challenge of funding public transport sustainably and equitably. It recommends revisiting investment allocations, moving away from a road focus, and ensuring the efficiency of public transport services. Governments must also optimise the contributions of users, indirect beneficiaries of public transport (including landowners and businesses) and the public sector. 

This report draws on the deliberations of an ITF Working Group, Funding Public Transport.

It is also accompanied by two background papers:

Policy Insights

  • Invest more. Greenhouse gas emissions from transport must decline rapidly to meet the Paris Agreement goals. As well as renewing vehicle fleets with electric vehicles, this requires modal shift towards public transport and active mobility. Public transport investments must increase significantly to enable the required modal shift.
  • Focus on efficiency. More efficient infrastructure and service provision will contain the funding requirement. This requires coordinated institutional management arrangements, a strong focus on competition, a well-functioning multimodal mobility system, public investment decisions determined with efficiency in mind, and efficient financing choices.
  • Fund from all sources. Sustainable public transport requires funding from three sources: users, through fares; governments, through general budgets and earmarked taxes; and taxes on indirect beneficiaries, including owners of land that increases in value when its accessibility improves.

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