The ancient metropolis of Istanbul is now a sprawling megacity, struggling with congestion, air pollution, and the submergence of its cultural heritage beneath new overpasses and car infrastructure.
EMBARQ – The World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport – introduced Istanbul transportation officials to the concept of bus rapid transit (BRT) five years ago. A first line opened on the European side of the city in 2007, and is now one of the most heavily traveled BRT lines in the world. In March 2009, the city unveiled the world’s first inter-continental BRT corridor across the famous Bosphorus Bridge, a major bottleneck for travelers between Europe and Asia.
EMBARQ developed the plan in coordination with city officials, conducted travel demand studies, and recommended the particular routing and station locations that ultimately were built. At each step, EMBARQ provided critical technical assistance to enable the project to move forward. “Crossing the bridge by car takes as long as 3 hours, but commuters using BRT now cross in about 30 minutes and produce 95% fewer CO2 emissions than drivers,” says Sibel Bulay, director of the EMBARQ Network’s Center for Sustainable Transport in Turkey. “It is a very visible symbol of the city’s commitment to sustainable transit solutions.”