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Keeping Your Cool: Crisis Management in Urban Transport Systems

The amount and variety of crises has intensified over the past years, thereby increasing the stress level on urban transport systems. In an international study on behalf of GIZ, civity analysed appropriate concepts for stakeholders in urban transport to increase their resilience against crises.

The accelerated pace of multiple and overlapping crises, such as the climate emergency, the Covid-19 pandemic, and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, are leading to higher volatility of fossil-fuel prices, interrupted supply chains and higher freight costs. This is putting passenger mobility, delivery of essential goods and access to basic services in danger. Price shocks and scarcity of fuel have a significant impact on businesses and the general population, limiting their ability to access markets, workplaces, and education.

This situation poses a growing challenge for local and national governments, enterprises, and society, by making it difficult to sustain essential functions. As a result, economic activities may cease, potentially leading to social unrest and even posing a threat to political stability. At the same time, the climate crisis is demanding urgent action. The transport sector needs to drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, which still make up a quarter of the total energy-related emissions worldwide.

On behalf of GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), civity has prepared a study for stakeholders in the transport sector providing insights on how to navigate these challenges effectively. Based on interviews with representatives of urban transport systems from different countries, including national organisations, municipalities, and public transport operators, we evaluated good practices of crisis management and provided a comprehensive set of case studies.

Recommendations relate to the development of crisis management frameworks, short term response to crises, and long-term prevention measures. Checklists for a maturity self-assessment and decision support trees provide practical guidance to stakeholders when establishing or further developing their approach to crisis management.

The full study will soon be published by GIZ.