Low Emissions Urban Development

Asia is urbanizing fast. In China alone 350 million people will be added to existing and new cities in the next two decades. As Asian cities grow in the coming years, both in size and income capacities, this same growth will mean an increasing demand for moving around goods, services and people.

Rapid motorization, inadequate transport systems and poor urban planning have reduced the use of public transport, walking and cycling, creating a context where the use of private vehicles has become necessity—rather than an option—to get to where one needs to be. As a result, vehicle numbers, energy use and emissions are rising steadily along with the growth of cities.

To decouple emissions increase from urban growth, we need better planning that integrates land use with sustainable transport and clean energy, combined with policies and measures to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from all sources.


Low_Emissions_Urban_DevWe work with governments and cities at the policy level, especially on integrating  “avoid-shift-improve” strategies into policy and investment decisions and in urban master plans. We continuously build awareness and capacity, as well as promote campaigns such as Car-Free Days to increase investments and improve policies for walking and cycling.

Under this program we developed and applied our emissions analysis tools such as the Rapid Assessment of City Emissions (RACE) and the Transport Emissions Evaluation Model for Projects (TEEMP).

Our Low Emissions Urban Development Program consists of three components:

  1. Mainstream low emissions transport strategies in policy and investment decisions. A wide range of “avoid-shift-improve” strategies can lead to low emissions transport systems. Future transport emissions for Asian countries and cities and reduction strategies were determined with various emissions tools. Building on these efforts, Clean Air Asia will support national and city governments to integrate these strategies into policy and investment decisions and in urban master plans.
  2. Knowledge management and exchange on land use, transport and energy. Clean Air Asia will establish an exchange platform for land use and transport together with development agencies, governments and other partners. To support this, we will collect and analyze data regarding air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions indicators for transport and energy, and develop land use indicators.
  3. Bring walkability higher on the development agenda.  Clean Air Asia has been working significantly on non-motorized transport projects and highlighted the need for policies and plans that integrate walking and cycling into the fabric of urban transport systems. We have worked towards the development of walkability and cyclability indexes and supporting mechanisms for engaging the public and sensitizing policymakers. Clean Air Asia has increasingly been engaging in city-level projects that demonstrate tangible change–such as greenways and bike sharing schemes.


Goals 2016 for Asia

  • Asian countries adopt “avoid-shift-improve” transport strategies that support low emissions urban development.
  • Asian countries and cities of more than 1 million people issue regular reports on key air pollution and greenhouse gas emission indicators for transport and energy.
  • Asian cities of more than 1 million people maintain or improve the 2000-2010 percentage share of trips by non-motorized and public transport.


Projects and Activities

In Progress:



Contact Persons:

Alvin Mejia, Transport Program Manager: alvin.mejia@cleanairasia.org

Fu Lu, China Director: lu.fu@cleanairasia.org
Parthaa Bosu, India Director: parthaa.bosu@cleanairasia.org


Asian Development Bank
Institute for Transportation and Development (ITDP)
Institute for Transport Policy Studies (ITPS)
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
Institut Veolia Environnement
Korea Transport Institute (KOTI)
Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV)
Shakti Foundation
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
Transport Research Laboratory (TRL, UK)
United Nations Environment Programme–Global Environment Facility (UNEP-GEF)
United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD)
USAID Philippines
World Bank
Wuppertal Institute
Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies