The principles and approaches of sustainable development beneficial for health and the environment must be encorporated into transport policies, and in particular the following: sustainability; the precautionary principle; prevention; protection and promotion of health and safety; the "polluter pays" principle, including internalization of externalities; multisectoral integration of environment and health requirements and involvement of health authorities in decision-making on transport, land use and infrastructure policies; equity; public participation and public access to information; subsidiarity; efficiency.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.
Paragraph 16 of the 1998 UN/ECE Arhus Declaration acknowledges transport as causing problems of air pollution, climate change, noise, congestion and biodiversity/habitat loss. It promotes a sustainable and environmentally sound pattern of transport and the promotion of public transport, transport by sea, rail, and non-motorized transport. It recommends economic instruments should be used as a way of reducing transport volumes while also reflecting environmental costs in transport prices, especially for freight transport.
Telecommuting is an effective component of travel-demand management which will reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, road casualties and energy consumption. Other advanced telecommunications technologies, such as teleshopping, home-banking and videoconferencing will all have an impact on future travel demand. In the nearer term, telematic applications hold much promise in road pricing and traffic management. Hong Kong and Singapore have pioneered electronic road pricing. Zurich has introduced telematic applications in public transport operation and gives priority to public road services.
In a response to the Twentieth Report of the UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, Transport and the Environment - Developments since 1994,' Transport Minister Dr John Reid acknowledged the similar findings with the government's own White Paper on Integrated Transport, including: (1) recognition that the consequences of future traffic growth are indeed unacceptable; (2) the need to take action to secure more sustainable transport for the future; (3) the need for integration, both within and between transport modes, and of transport policies with other policies; (4) agreement that Government should aim to provide the framework for all those with an interest in transport to play their part; (5) the potential for technology to provide solutions through innovation, amongst other things, in fuel efficiency and emissions; and (6) the need to encourage awareness of transport issues, and to send consistent signals such that we all work to further sustainable development objectives.
The United Kingdom introduced a fuel tax "escalator" that has increased the tax on road fuels by 5% every year since 1993. In the Netherlands, constitutional barriers have been lifted to allow for a national road toll system, which could be operating in a few years. These initiatives could help the economic actors adapt their behaviour and make structural changes that would support a sustainable transport system.