Connecting places and people: Which policies for better integration of cities and urban regions?

Plenary Session


24 May


11:00 to 12:30


Hall 1, Level +1


Private motorised transport delivers tremendous value to users but has an insatiable demand for space. Most big cities and their surrounding regions also depend on mass transit systems to get people to where they need to be. The quality of mass transit services is critical: overcrowded, slow and unreliable services force people into cars and motorcycles on already congested roads or deny access to opportunities entirely. Poor, congested transport systems constrain productivity and have a severe impact on the wellbeing of commuters.

This plenary will examine the transformation of urban mobility policies and the shifting focus from throughput of vehicles to delivery of access. Panellists will discuss the investments needed for urban regions to prosper and the regulatory initiatives needed for efficient shared mobility and more integrated transport and land-use planning.

Despite the difficulties of establishing on-demand shared mobility, there are now promising pilots in European and US cities licenced by metropolitan transport authorities to complement transit services and larger scale operations in cities in South East Asia. Experience here and in Mexico has demonstrated that in cities dependent on informal mass transit, demand-responsive shared mobility services have great potential because of the increase in service quality at reasonable cost that they deliver. Regulatory obstacles have been formidable for all of these services and a permissive regulatory approach is advisable given the potential of these services to substitute for solo car and motorcycle traffic.

Key facts:

  • Los Angeles has opened 100 miles of light rail since 1990, with four extensions under construction and many more planned.
  • China’s cities opened 2 000 kilometres of metro line in the last five years.
  • The Metro de Grand Paris will comprise 200 kilometres of automated regional metro, doubling the length of the capital’s metro lines by 2030 at a cost of EUR 38 billion.
  • London’s new Elizabeth Line regional railway, is expanding overall metro capacity in Britain’s capital by 10%. The Greater Manchester Area, the UK’s second conurbation, has the country’s most over-crowded commuter rail system, with only half of the trains between Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds arriving on schedule. 
  • Public transport carries 66% of weekday passenger trips in Mexico City. But only 5 million use the metro and 1 million Bus Rapid Transit, while informal microbuses carry 12 million passengers a day.  

Lead questions:

  • What are the elements ingredients for sustainable, cost-effective solutions to improving connectivity in cities and their surrounding regions? Can consensus be built on priorities across the region?
  • How can better spatial and physical accessibility contribute to social and economic inclusion?
  • Capital cities invest in metros, but what should be the focus for regional centres?
  • Funds for mass transit are scarce; can pooled shared mobility fill the gap?

Background reading:


Gloria Hutt Hesse

Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Chile

Burkhard Jung

Lord Mayor

City of Leipzig

Keechoo Choi


Metropolitan Transport Commission, Republic of Korea

Seleta Reynolds

General Manager

Los Angeles Department of Transportation

Ali Aslan

TV host and journalist

Florent Menegaux


Michelin Group

Fredrick K. Schroeder


World Blind Union

Mohamed Mezghani

Secretary General

International Association of Public Transport (UITP)