ADB is Accelerating Innovation in Transport

Photo by Trac Vu on Unsplash

On August 27th 2021 ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa approved the Technical Assistance (TA) for Accelerating Innovation in Transport. The TA will deliver assistance to operations departments and developing member countries (DMCs) through knowledge products and project identification that will strengthen innovation in transport and meet the emerging requests from developing member countries.

“Transport is at a crossroad in its development.” Said Jamie Leather, ADB’s Chief of the Transport Sector Group, who will lead the TA. “Not since the mechanical innovations of the steam train or the internal combustion engine has transport been on the cusp of innovations that can revolutionize the sector.”

ADB will administer the TA and will be the executing agency. The Transport Sector Group under the Sector Advisory Service Cluster of ADB’s Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department will implement the TA and be accountable for the outputs.


The information age can transform accessibility and mobility. This TA will ensure ADB remains at the forefront of any sector innovations, and thus able to support DMC and private sector clients with the latest technical, policy, and operational knowledge and solutions.


Since the 1960s, the focus has been on building transport infrastructure networks, which has ensured that transport has been able to largely fulfill its role as an enabler of development. The emerging requirements are for improved accessibility and operations of transport systems to enhance efficiencies. ADB’s client DMCs, through the large number of engineering graduates and increasingly competent contracting entities, are capable of designing and building much of the transport infrastructure. However, DMCs are increasingly seeking help in the policy, planning, operations, management, monitoring, and reporting of more complex multimodal transport systems and services.

Impact & Outcomes

This TA will enable ADB transport operations to achieve greater impact at the scale required by focussing on key areas of road maintenance, road safety, climate change, and urban transport using suitable lending modalities. Information innovations can allow suitable policy and programs to transform the type of support ADB can provide.

The TA will enable ADB to build on other activities such as the Asian Transport Outlook to undertake policy dialogue with DMCs based on improved transport information databases, using data to drive innovation in areas such as road asset management, road safety, urban transport (including non-motorized transport), rail system operations, and water-borne transport.

The TA will also allow ADB to measure the externalities and report back on the sector’s impacts on growth, emissions, and operational efficiencies, many of which are aligned with the SDGs, such as 3.6 on road safety, 3.9 on air quality, 7.3 on energy efficiency and e-mobility, 9.1 on rural accessibility, 11.2 on urban accessibility, and 13 on climate change. For ADB to provide support on SDGs and the Paris Agreement, we need to move beyond infrastructure projects to system transformation and operational reform.

Finally, the use of technical and information innovations has the ability to align future transport operations with ADB Strategy 2030.


For enquiries about this Technical Assistance please contact:

Jamie Leather, Chief of Transport Sector Group



Asian Development Bank - Transport

Supporting the development of low-carbon, safe, accessible and affordable transport systems for Asia and the Pacific. Follow for #sustainabletransport insights