Over the past 20 years, Santiago, the capital of Chile, has grown into one of Latin America's most important economic hubs, experiencing rapid suburban development and advancements in modern transportation infrastructure.
Typical of fast-growing urban areas, Santiago became notorious for stop-and-go traffic and air pollution. The city attempted to relieve the problems through projects like the expansion of the 40-year-old Santiago Metro subway system and the new Costanera Norte, an electronic tollway that integrates other major highways into a seamless east-west artery.
One controversial transport reform project - a system known as Transantiago, established in 2006 - involved the creation of 200 kilometers of dedicated bus lanes, a sweeping reorganization of the city’s bus schedules and routes, and the introduction of a citywide integrated fare collection system. Though the reforms sparked controversy, they also resulted in more buses, better supervision of services, less congestion and speedier trips. However, as EMBARQ's transport expert Dario Hidalgo found, there is still much room for improvement.