What is Environmentally Sustainable Transport?
Transport is sustainable when it provides for safe, economically viable and socially acceptable access to people, places, goods and services while meeting generally-accepted objectives for health and environmental quality, protecting eco-systems and minimising adverse impacts on global phenomena such as climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion and the spread of persistent organic pollutants.
The need to fully take account of environmental and health issues in transport policy-making is one of the fundamental elements of developing and implementing EST policies and in achieving EST goals. This recognition resulted in the initiation of the 'EST Project', which was led by the OECD, in cooperation with UNEP and national governments in the late 1990s and early 2000s. As part of this project, guidelines on EST were developed, while a range of studies, including in relation to examples of good practice on environmentally sustainable transport, were undertaken. In turn, the 'EST project' led to the implementation of the 'EST goes EAST project', within the framework of the Central European Initiative. This project focused on the promotion of EST in Central and Eastern Europe and included the development and launch of this 'EST goes EAST Clearing House'.
Whilst the 'EST project' itself has now finished, its legacy can be seen in a wide range of international work and cooperation on sustainable transport. Sustainable transport is now core to many pan-European initiatives, not least the transport policy of the European Union as set out in its 2011 Transport White Paper. At a pan-European level, WHO and UNECE's Transport, Health and Environment, Pan-European Programme (THE PEP) focuses on sustainable transport. The Member States' commitment to the goals of sustainable transport was underlined in 2014's Paris Declaration, in which the signatories agreed to intensify their work towards "safe, efficient, accessible, affordable, inclusive, green and healthy mobility and transport" in support of sustainable livelihoods. Within Central and Eastern Europe, regional conventions are also highlighting the need to make transport sustainable, e.g. a 'Protocol on Sustainable Transport' to the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians was agreed in September 2014.