Bhutan’s National Transport Policy: Inclusive planning for a low carbon future

Case Summary: 

Bhutan has a population of approximately 784,000 and a per capita GDP of $2,569 in 2014. Bhutan has seen an explosion of personal vehicle ownership and demand for transportation in the past two decades. In 2006 Bhutan released its first “National Transport Policy” document. In 2017, in response to the United Nations Development Program, Bhutan released an updated version meant to address several gaps in the previous policy. These gaps include:

  • Inadequacy in the coverage of sub-sector policies and diverse transport modes
  • Failure to integrate with Bhutan’s international climate and development goals

The 2017 document, described in this case study, goes further in its policy scope and outlines the organizations responsible. It stipulates each organization’s role and outlines new organizations that should be formed to meet the country’s national transport policy. It provides a list of policies that could be implemented and connects them to Bhutan’s development goals and other national policies. The best practices and future actions identified in this plan include:

  • Increasing electric vehicle (EV) adoption by offering tax credits and excluding EVs from import tariffs.
  • Collaborating with EV infrastructure manufacturers to build EV charging stations.
  • Improve regional connectivity through a stable and well-connected road network. In June of 2016 only 30% of Bhutan’s road network was paved. Bhutan’s transport plan seeks to increase this percentage among the 5 road categories.
  • Established a memorandum of understanding with India to develop a trade and public transport rail network.
  • Expanding its air transport service between Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. This begins by enlarging and modernizing Paro International Airport.

South Asia
Action Area 
Planning and Implementation Activity 
Developing Strategies and Plans, Developing and Implementing Policies and Measures, Long-Term Strategies
Sectors and Themes 
Poverty, Transport
LEDS Global Partnership
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