• Transport network efficiency is becoming increasingly important as countries strive to integrate further into global value chains.

  • Total freight transport demand is expected to triple within 35 years.

  • Compared with developed countries, developing countries have higher trade costs and lower levels of trade integration.

  • High-income OECD countries have more efficient regulations for truck licenses and domestic operations, a more comprehensive system for ensuring the quality of truck operations and a higher degree of openness to foreign competition.

  • Contracting Parties to United Nations Conventions in general have in place more efficient systems to facilitate border crossings for international transit, or have established coherent systems of international road, rail or waterways networks.

  • While globally the average fuel economy has consistently improved from 2005 to 2015, the rate of improvement has slowed down recently.

Objective and Target

The efficiency policy goal captures the ambition “for transport systems to be predictable, reliable, timely and cost-effective.” Specifically, the efficiency policy goal embodies the movement of transport vehicles of all types, their passengers, and cargo, through terminals and transport infrastructure worldwide, along various trajectories and routes, either under one mode of transport or a combination of modes, in a timely and least-costly manner to transport providers and users, and without undue constraints arising from unreliable and unpredictable operating, administrative, documentary, legal, regulatory, and institutional frameworks.1

  • SDG 7.3 SDG 7.3 By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.

  • SDG 9.1 SDG 9.1 Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.

  • SDG 9.4 SDG 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.

  • SDG 12.c SDG 12.c Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities.

  • SDG 12.3 SDG 12.3 By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including postharvest losses.

  • SDG 17.14 SDG 17.14 Enhance policy coherence for sustainable development.

Relationship to SDG’s

The concept of Efficiency features directly and indirectly in several SDG targets. There are no internationally agreed upon global targets for efficiency, but qualitative direction is given in some of the SDGs (e.g., SDG7.3).