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Sustainable Transport Expands in Mexico

EMBARQ, WRI's Center for Sustainable Transport, commends the introduction of new Bus Rapid Transit lines in Mexico City and Guadalajara.

(This story was originally published on EMBARQ.org here and here.)

Mexico City's Metrobús system unveiled its second bus rapid transit corridor, "Eje 4 Xola," on December 16. The inauguration of the new 20-kilometer route signified an important milestone for Embarq partner the Center for Sustainable Transport Mexico (CTS-México) and the Mexico City Government. Together, they have been working together for many years to develop a sustainable mass transit system.

The new 36-station line runs through the city's eastern district of Iztapalapa, serving about 106,000 passengers per day. Average travel time has been reduced to 55 minutes, a nearly 60 percent decrease from before.

Currently, the entire Metrobús network carries 320,000 passengers per day. With planning and implementation guidance from EMBARQ and CTS-México, Metrobús has improved mobility by 50 percent along the city's heavily congested Avenida de los Insurgentes ("Insurgents' Avenue"), reduced accidents by 30 percent, and encouraged a five percent shift from trips taken in private vehicles to public transport.

"The challenge is to continue with the promotion of this transport system all over Mexico's cities," says CTS-México Media Coordinator Jonathan Vázquez Betancourt, "as well as to spread the importance of its social benefits and ecological impact."

It is estimated that Metrobús reduces about 47,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the air each year. The city has initiated construction on three additional BRT lines, as well as more bike paths, as part of Mayor Marcelo Ebrard's sustainable transport and development agenda, El Plan Verde ("Green Plan").

Earlier this month, Mexico City received honorable mention at the 2009 Sustainable Transport Awards for its efforts to improve public transit, revitalize public spaces, and create a better quality of life for its residents.

Guadalajara

Meanwhile, Guadalajara, Mexico is expected to open the first line of its brand new bus rapid transit system, known as Macrobus, along the bustling Calzada Independencia avenue in February.

The state of Jalisco's unprecedented transit network includes three planned corridors, with a 16-kilometer trunk line, 13 feeder routes and a light rail route. It also features a sophisticated fare integration system never before seen in Mexico. Macrobus is the first BRT system in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

The accomplishment was made possible through technical and financial support from EMBARQ – The WRI Center for Sustainable Transport and the Center for Sustainable Transport Mexico (CTS-México), which have been working with city officials since 2006 to ease traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, and improve public transportation in the city of four million people. A formal relationship between CTS-México and the Governor of Jalisco was established in September last year.

Funding for the Macrobus project was provided by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Andean Development Corporation (CAF), which contributed $250,000 to help with the implementation stage. Consulting was provided by transport advisors from Steer Davies Gleave and GSD PLUS, as well as logistics experts from Logitrans.

Guadalajara's new BRT line comes just four years after CTS-México helped Mexico City launch Metrobus, a BRT system that now carries 320,000 passengers per day. The transit system’s success is expected to inspire similar projects in the region, especially if it receives more attention during the 2011 Pan-American Games, which Guadalajara is hosting.

"The opening of Macrobus represents the beginning of an important effort from the local government to enhance quality of life for its citizens, offer better public transport services, reduce car trips, and reduce air pollution," says CTS-México Media Coordinator Jonathan Vázquez Betancourt. "The project is considered to be the most important investment in sustainable transport and urban mobility in Jalisco."

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