Istanbul, Mexico City, Beijing and Milan receive honorable mentions
New York City became the first U.S. city to win the 2009 Sustainable Transport Award, as part of the Transportation Research Board Annual Conference held in Washington, D.C. this month. Other finalists, including Beijing, Milan, Istanbul and Mexico City received honorable mention.
The annual award honors a city that uses innovative transportation strategies to enhance the sustainability and livability of its communities, while also reducing greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions.
This past year, New York City demonstrated significant transport reforms, as a continuation of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2030, a long-term vision to improve the city's land use, air and water quality, energy infrastructure and transportation systems. The city received accolades for transforming 49 acres of road space, traffic lanes and parking spaces into 255 kilometers of protected on-street bike lanes, as well as pedestrian areas and public plazas. Other notable accomplishments included planting 98,000 trees, implementing a select bus service and introducing car-free Sundays, similar to what can be seen in cities like Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Bogota.
Istanbul and Mexico City, home to two of EMBARQ's Centers for Sustainable Transport, were also recognized for their sustainable transportation efforts.
Istanbul unveiled Metrobus, a bus rapid transit system that now carries 450,000 passengers per day on 43 kilometers of designated bus lanes. The high-speed buses, running at 40 kilometers per hour, have reduced travel times by 75 percent.
Istanbul's Metrobus serves as an example of low-cost, quickly implemented public transit for other cities in Turkey. Photo by EMBARQ.
Mexico City also received honors for its Metrobus BRT system, which has improved mobility by 50 percent along the heavily congested Avenida de los Insurgentes ("Insurgents' Avenue"). The system carries 320,000 passengers a day and has reduced accidents by 30 percent. As more commuters make the shift from private vehicles to public transport, Mexico City has initiatied construction on three additional BRT lines, as well as more bike paths.
Mexico City's Metrobus is estimated to reduce 47,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the air each year. Photo by CTS-Mexico.
Outside of its expanding BRT system, Mexico City has also revitalized about 1,000 public spaces, as part of its El Plan Verde (“Green Plan”) for sustainable transport and urban development.
Though Istanbul and Mexico City didn't beat out New York City this time around, "both cities are determined to win next year," says EMBARQ Director Nancy Kete.
Previous winners of the award include Paris; London; Guayquil, Ecuador; Seoul, Korea; and Bogotà, Colombia.
For an official press release, click here.
The award selection is organized by the following organizations:
- Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP)
- Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
- U.S. Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Transportation in Developing Countries
- Clean Air Initiatives (CAIs) for Asia, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa
- Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ)
- EMBARQ - The WRI Center for Sustainable Transport
- ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
- International Association of Public Transport (UITP)
- United Nations’ Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD)