Having just returned from 3 weeks in SE Asia , it is easy to see that combustion engines pollution is a key factor to making cities livable – Hanoi an dHo Chi Minh City are not only polluted but motorbikes make the sidewalks and streets unlivable – in contrast to Bangkok where the river ferries and sky-train makes it possible to skip-out of the grid-locked roadsand freeways. Hong Kong is the best with its integrated rail, bus, tram, ferry systems and its above and below ground passages and elevators – not many bicycles though, but being pedestrian is easy.

THE DIRT

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By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. To avoid an explosion of cars, which creates air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, congestion, and traffic deaths, new, more sustainable patterns of urban development are needed, with higher-density urban cores and “sustainable transportation systems at the heart of these places,” said Zanny Minton Beddoes, The Economist, before introducing World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at this year’s Transforming Transportation conference, which was co-organized by the World Bank Group and the EMBARQ program of the World Resources Institute (WRI).

For the past 10 years, WRI has been hosting this conference, but this was the first time a World Bank president had ever attended, perhaps indicating that sustainable urban transportation is finally moving up in the list of priorities worldwide. Kim said that in his recent conversations with the…

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