Transport and Covid-19: responses and resources

Informal Transport Roundtable

Informal transport services, sometimes also referred to as "popular transport", provide benefits but can also generate negative externalities including traffic congestion, air and noise pollution, and crashes. This Roundtable explores how the societal benefits of informal transport can best be maximised while managing these negative externalities.

Informal transport provides esential mobility for millions of people. The benefits of informal transport include on-demand service, access to employment opportunities, and service coverage in areas devoid of formal public transport supply, especially for lower-income users. 

However, it can have negative impactson congestion, emissions and safety. Users' experiences of the quality of informal transport services may also be lower than adequate in some cases. Despite its importance, the role of informal transport has historically received less research attention than other transport domains. This is especially the case in mid-sized and less-dense areas, as most informal transport research focuses on experiences of larger, often capital, cities.

The Roundtable will focus on how authorities assess the externalities linked to paratransit services, the results of such assessments, and how they lead to decisions on paratransit reform in various contexts. The expected outcome of the Roundtable is a set of principles to help authorities better assess, select and implement reforms that can maximise societal benefits and minimise negative externalities.

This Roundtable is part of the ITF’s 2024-25 Programme of Work. A report summarising the issues discussed during the Roundtable will be published in 2024.

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