The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to conduct field studies of Asian cities to develop blueprints for sustainable urban transport systems.
The ADB's China office told Xinhua that an ADB technical assistance grant of 1 million U.S. dollars would fund the studies to identify effective investment programs to support efficient transport systems and innovative financing options that can meet future needs.
Eunkyung Kwon, an ADB principal transport specialist,said the project was being conducted as Asian cities came under increasing strain from the fast pace of urbanization.
The studies would be undertaken by a team of international specialists from Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, she added.
Among the biggest issues were poor traffic management, unregulated operation of private buses, unplanned road networks, weak coordination, and inefficient institutional frameworks.
"Efficient transport systems contribute to urban economic growth, boosting incomes and decreasing urban poverty," said Kwon.
Several international and bilateral institutions and donor countries are already involved in improving urban transport infrastructure and services in the region.
The studies and activities undertaken by these institutions and countries were expected to promote a good grasp of best practices, issues, and constraints regarding urban transport.
She said the team would conduct extensive consultations with national and municipal governments, local stakeholders, and other donors.
Key social and environmental concerns had to be integrated into transport planning to ensure that the benefits were felt by the poor.
Asian cities needed to urgently establish a development framework to link effective environmental management, social development, and poverty reduction.
The study is due for completion around April 2008, with the results to be distributed through publications, workshops and seminars.