America division was the first to rely heavily on this funding mechanism.
It also reflected the fact that two megacities in Latin America—Mexico City
and Sao Paulo—were included in the hydrogen fuel cell bus demonstration
project. The World Bank’s Africa division, on the other hand, did not origi-
nally feel that urban transportation was a priority, though with rapid motor-
ization in some cities this view has been modified somewhat. The low
prevalence of GEF funds in South Asia is linked to the lack of World Bank
urban transportation lending in the region and complicated and nontrans-
parent procedures for focal point approval.
In conclusion, after a period of institutional learning, the GEF has
reoriented its focus onto projects that are much more likely to lead to pro-
found GHG emission reductions. It has also grounded itself much better in
what the development banks are doing in the transportation sector and thus
has the potential to profoundly influence, not only the use of the GEF
money, but also to leverage multilateral development bank loans toward
more sustainable projects. As such, the potential exists for the GEF trans-
portation portfolio to play a historical role in reorienting global transporta-
tion systems.
The devil, however, is in the details. Setting the basic programmatic
direction of the GEF transportation program on tasks that will truly reduce
GHG emissions has been largely accomplished. However, turning these
programmatic priorities into successful projects is extremely difficult, and
the track record to date is not that impressive. Getting up-to-date informa-
tion on GEF projects is extremely difficult and requires querying the parties
responsible for project implementation. The next three sections in this
chapter discuss projects where the ITDP has had some sort of involvement
or familiarity. They identify the range of difficulties currently being encoun-
tered in implementing GEF transportation projects.
NMT Projects Financed under the GEF
Support for using GEF funds for NMT infrastructure projects has been
strong, although total dollar value of the NMT projects has accounted for
just 12 percent of all GEF transportation project grants. The bigger problem
has been finding governments that want to make significant improvements
in NMT facilities.
The idea behind NMT projects is to promote bicycling and walking to
reduce GHG emissions. If their modal share could be retained or increased,
this would make a significant contribution to reducing GHG emissions at
a very modest cost. There is considerable evidence from cities like Bogota,
Colombia, that a municipal investment in bicycling facilities could result
in a significant increase in NMT. The mode share of cycling in Bogota
increased from less than 0.5 percent of all daily trips to over 4 percent
of daily trips in less than five years with the construction of some 300
kilometers (km) of new bicycle facilities.
174 Driving Climate Change

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