The “People-oriented Cities” series—exclusive to TheCityFix and Insights—is an exploration of how cities can grow to become more sustainable and livable through transit-oriented development (TOD). The nine-part series will address different urban design techniques and trends that reorient cities around people rather than cars.
EMBARQ Mexico discusses three key elements of urban design to support quality public transport, and how it can help cities move towards a transit-oriented development model.
To help city leaders shift to a planning paradigm that creates more compact neighborhoods and sustainable cities, EMBARQ has released a Transit-oriented Development Guide for Urban Communities.
The guide combines best practices from existing communities and design guidelines for creating healthy, sustainable, people-oriented cities.
Improving developing cities’ traffic safety is a critical task for ensuring that these growing urban centers become safe, equitable places to live. A key part of achieving this safety? Sustainable urban design.
The connection between safety and justice is a major theme of the upcoming World Urban Forum (WUF7), organized by UN-HABITAT, which this year focuses on “urban equity in development—cities for life.” At the event, EMBARQ experts will host a Cities Safer by Design for All networking session. The event will convene key experts and explore ways that urban design can improve safety—and in turn, justice—in developing cities around the world.
Government of Mexico Introduces Latin America’s First-Ever Fuel-Efficiency Standard for Light Duty Vehicles
In June 2013, Mexico took a big step toward a low-carbon economy and improved public health by implementing a new fuel-efficiency standard for light vehicles– the first fuel-efficiency standard in Latin America. EMBARQ Mexico played a major role in developing this new standard, writing the draft regulation, proposing mechanisms for economic flexibility, and assisting the government of Mexico during the negotiation process.
National fuel-efficiency standards are critical tools in reducing CO2 emissions and improving public health. Yet, Mexico was the only OECD country without a fuel-efficiency standard, and Mexican car manufacturers were hesitant to support a new fuel-efficiency regulation.
For four years, EMBARQ and our partner, Centro Mario Molina, collaborated with the Mexican government to help develop a new fuel-efficiency standard. Originally, EMBARQ Mexico offered the Mexican government our transport and economic expertise. Then, when negotiations between the government and the car industry broke down, EMBARQ and Centro Mario Molina stepped in and presented Mexico’s National Environmental Ministry (SEMARNAT) with a fully written draft regulation and strong technical support. This draft brought the automotive industry to the negotiation table, and won EMBARQ a voting seat on Mexico’s National Standardization Committee of Environment. Finally, on June 21, 2013, the final fuel-efficiency standard was released, with recognition for EMBARQ’s contributions published in the official journal text.
The new standard mandates a new vehicle fleet average of 14.9 kilometers per liter of gas (or 35 miles per gallon) by 2016. This will reduce CO2 emissions by 170 megatons– the amount of CO2 captured by a forest 10 times the size of Mexico City. It’s a win for people and the environment – consumers will save $2,700 USD each in fuel over the lifetime of a regulated vehicle.
In addition, Mexico patterned their standard on U.S. and Canadian regulations, meaning these three countries now have a harmonized fuel-efficiency standard. Mexico exports 81 percent of its cars to the global market, so this regulation could make the Mexican car industry more competitive globally.
The Mexican experience, tools, and methodology can be replicated in other developing countries that are in the process of implementing fuel-efficiency standards. Furthermore, expanding this regulation to other countries creates incentives for an increasingly homogeneous and more efficient global automotive industry.
EMBARQ Mexico is part of the EMBARQ network. EMBARQ is a program of the World Resources Institute. EMBARQ helps cities make sustainable transport a reality.
Mexico City launched its first Bus Rapid Transit Corridor along Avenida Insurgentes, one of the longest avenues in the world. Eighty low-pollution buses will carry 250,000 passengers per day, replacing 350 dirty and dangerous buses. The Corridor is the centerpiece of an ambitious plan by Mexico City and WRI’s EMBARQ Center for Sustainable Transportation to implement a clean transportation system in one of the world’s most polluted cities. The new bus system reduces CO2 emissions by 35,000 tons annually. New partnerships with Istanbul and Porto Alegre are also under way.
Mexico currently ranks twelfth in the world in terms of GHG emissions. Although not bound by Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limits, the country is committed to fighting global warming. Mexico’s new climate change strategy proposes a graduated process that begins with GHG accounting and reporting, progresses to energy sector GHG caps, and culminates in a national cap-and-trade system linked to international GHG markets. WRI provided the GHG Protocol accounting tools that undergird the policy and provided technical consultation to the Mexican government. WRI also helped launch a Mexican industry-led voluntary GHG accounting program in 2004. WRI is working with partner organizations to replicate the model in Brazil, China, India, and the Philippines.
In March 2009, Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara, unveiled a new bus rapid transit (BRT) system. The 27-station, 16-km system services 130,000 passengers per day and feeds into light rail and other bus services, with fully integrated fares. The project has reduced travel time by 30 percent and is expected to cut the city’s (CO2) emissions by 36,000 metric tons per year, equivalent to removing about 7,000 cars from the roads.
“It’s the first phase of an ambitious plan to transform the entire transit system in this city of four million,” says EMBARQ’s Adriana Lobo. EMBARQ – The World Resources Institute Center for Sustainable Transport – and its allied Center for Sustainable Transport in Mexico conceived the project, delivered financing, and helped restructure the entire feeder bus system. “EMBARQ,” explains Lobo, “in effect, served as an extension of city staff to lead the design and implementation of the project.”
By working with cities around the world to improve their transportation, EMBARQ seeks to make cities clean, livable, and prosperous. Since 2002, the EMBARQ Network has expanded into seven countries and employs more than 60 experts in fields ranging from urban planning to air quality management, and from geography and sociology to civil and transport engineering.
Federal government of Mexico (PROTRAM) leads improvements in urban mobility by providing funds to public transit projects
On the heels of successful sustainable transport implementation in several key Mexican cities, the federal government’s creation of PROTRAM in 2009 signaled an important shift toward strong institutional support for nationwide sustainable mobility. PROTRAM offers grants to subnational governments for up to 50% of the infrastructure cost of public transportation projects. As the first program that provides federal funding for urban public transit, PROTRAM is a critical component of the mainstreaming and replication of sustainable transit systems across Mexico.
CTS-Mexico has served as the government’s main advisor in implementing PROTRAM effectively and improving the quality of its projects. The Secretary of the Treasury and Public Credit appointed CTS-Mexico to evaluate the technical and financial feasibility of public transportation projects seeking funding from PROTRAM. In this role, CTS-Mexico developed project evaluation guidelines that allow for rapid analysis of each project, and is responsible for continuous high-quality operational and financial reviews. CTS-Mexico is uniquely positioned to reconcile competing interests and offer objective, forthright advice.
CTS-Mexico has reviewed a total of 21 projects and positively influenced the design quality of eight projects now in the investment phase -— in Guadalajara, Mexico City, Chihuahua, Mexicali, Tijuana, Culiacán, Monterrey, and Veracruz. One of these projects, the second line of Guadalajara’s BRT, has been funded by PROTRAM and is now under construction. The other seven projects are confirmed in PROTRAM’s financing pipeline and are moving forward toward implementation. By providing project evaluation guidelines and assistance, CTS-Mexico has not only improved the efficacy of each project proposal submitted, but also strengthened PROTRAM’s institutional capacity to provide funds in the future.
Specifically, INFONAVIT connected CTS-México to the mid-sized city of Aguascalientes to transform a new low-income housing development, encompassing 10,000 houses for 40,000 people. CTS-México recommended solutions for mixed land use, public transportation, green spaces, and walking and bicycling.
In March 2010, the municipal government revised its development plans to include about 70 percent of CTS-México’s recommendations. The new design is expected to increase the neighborhood’s demand for public transportation, biking and walking. And the level of social interaction is expected to quadruple through the addition of four community centers and a 1.5-kilometer pedestrian-cyclist road. Dense development connected to mass transit can help reduce carbon emissions and lower urban infrastructure costs.
The redesigned development plan is estimated to reduce traffic speeds by 34% and also increase the demand for public transport by 30% to 60%, bike trips by 4% to 50%, walking trips by 24% to 40%, and green space by 5% to 30%.