ITF in Focus: ITF Transport Outlook 2023


18 May
11:00 to 12:30
Hall 2, Level +1

The ITF Transport Outlook is published every two years and provides an overview of current trends and near-term prospects for the transport sector at a global level. Decarbonisation continues to rank highly on the international agenda, but it counts among multiple priorities governments face in the coming decades. These different priorities can complement each other but can also compete for resources. Strategic planning to make the most effective use of often limited resources in transport systems requires understanding how different priorities may interact.

For each ITF Transport Outlook, a theme is defined to help develop modelling scenarios that incorporate decarbonisation and the most pressing policy priorities facing countries at the time. The scenarios are designed to address the main theme of the Outlook, in the context of decarbonising transport, to inform discussions about the role public policy can play in guiding and managing possible future changes. The theme of the next Transport Outlook (to be published in 2023) will be A just transition to sustainable mobility.

The session began with a presentation on the key lessons from the Outlook 2021 and the policy measures being considered. The panellists had diverse reactions to the Outlook policy scenario, touching on gender equity, differing feasibility between global North and South for the different measures being considered, the potential role of technology and EVs and the need for data to measure and understand real travel habits and impacts.

Key points raised included:

  • What you don’t measure, you don’t see
    • Women’s travel patterns need to be better reflected, improving their representation among transport decision makers could support this
    • Better analysis of informal modes is also needed, including the interaction with gender analysis.
  • Models are always wrong, but they can be a useful tool.
    • We should challenge single-point forecasts. Scenarios are needed to deal with the uncertainty inherent in all projections. And they need to be compared with comparable studies. At a worldwide level, for example, the ICCT projections are a useful comparator to the ITF Outlook.
  • 90% of growth in emissions is expected to come from China, Asia Pacific, India, Africa
    • How can economic growth be compatible with the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions needed?
    • A holistic strategy should be pursued. One part of this is likely to be prioritising a global transition to ZEV in a just and equitable manner
    • But the reality for many emerging economies is that a rapid transition to a technology-based solution just isn’t feasible. Traffic management and integrated transport and land use development planning are just as important.
    • We also need to look at the metrics we use. Reducing vehicle kilometres doesn’t have to mean reducing trips if you have designed more liveable and compact cities. At present, Africa is urbanising before industrialising – Cities are growing larger, and more sprawled, but this is within the control of policymakers if they choose to focus on it.
    • We should also look at the metrics that could be used as a proxy for measuring a just transition, and for that, we also need better data on travel demand and patterns.
  • Tax and price mechanisms should be designed to ensure more equitable outcomes; equity can be achieved through thoughtful design. This should include ring-fencing of tax revenues for re-investment transport interventions.


Mohamed Hegazy

Associate - Africa Road Transport

UNFCCC Climate Champions

Neil Pedersen

Executive Director

Transportation Research Board (TRB)

Sonal Shah


The Urban Catalysts

Clarisse Cunha Linke

Brazil Director

Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP)

ITF in Focus: ITF Transport Outlook 2023