MBIs, Climate Change and Sustainable Transportation Governance in Cities

Report and Case Studies

These two academic research papers look at how market-based instruments could have a significant impact in creating long term sustainable change in transportation, including detailed case studies from London, Paris and New York City.

Key Messages:

  • New York, London and Paris offer interesting instances of policy action at the intersection of urban climate change and sustainable transportation governance. An exploration of the underlying roots of their successes, and the limitations of the efforts, should be of interest to Canadian policy-makers at all levels of government;
  • All three have taken aggressive action intended to drive a shift from automobile to alternative modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, and public transit and have had a measure of success by combining improved and expanded service provision with road re-purposing, infrastructure development, and pricing policies.
  • Each, however, illustrates the challenge of managing metropolitan as opposed to regional transportation. In each city there is a distinct divide in each between the core (high population density, strong modal share for alternative modes) and suburban/exurban (lower population density, much higher reliance on automotive transportation) populations;
  • This suggests that, in addition to a flexible, balanced, and integrated approach, there is a distinct need for more support (financial as well as jurisdictional) from upper levels of government as well as greater efforts to coordinate actions between levels of government;
  • In order to increase policy impact in Canadian cities and address the considerable challenges, as well as the substantial local and global costs, related to intra-urban transportation Provincial and Federal governments need to develop policies and funding packages that enable more effective and innovative municipal policy intervention.

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About the Project

The goal of this project is to shed light on the relationship between economic activity and the environment by exploring the linkages between changes in our natural capital and our measures of productivity generally, and through the construction of an environmentally adjusted measure of productivity specifically.

While it is now commonly accepted that economic activity and the state of our environment are linked, many economic measures still fail to incorporate the environment – both the things we draw from it and the pollution we release into it. By developing and calculating measures of productivity that include natural capital, Canada may be able to better understand these linkages. This, in turn, may lead to the identification of strategies that can help Canada become more efficient and innovative in the use and protection of natural capital, and thus more productive and more prosperous.

Using the forestry sector as a case study, this project aims to construct an environmentally adjusted measure of multifactor productivity. In doing so, we aim to add another layer of understanding to the environmental and economic performance of this sector. The proposed measure will have relevance to the Canadian economy as a whole.