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Harvard award to Mexico City bus system

24 November 2009 2 Comments

Metrobus in Mexico CityThe Metrobus Project, an innovative and first-rate bus system that has considerably reduced traffic congestion and pollution in Mexico City, recently received Harvard University’s Roy Family Award for Environmental Partnerships.

The Metrobus transportation system, which is already being considered a possible model for similar implementations in other countries, was launched in 2005 along a 19 kilometers stretch (12 miles) of one of Mexico City’s busiest avenues. It complements the metropolis’ very busy subway.

More than 30 projects competed for the award. According to Harvard’s statement referring to the announcement of the winner: “Metrobus has reduced carbon dioxide emissions from Mexico City traffic by an estimated 80,000 tons a year. The new buses, which operate on clean-burning ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, make more than 450,000 trips per day.’’

“The Metrobus has proved an efficient and economically viable formula for reducing greenhouse gases and emissions of gases,” said Gloria Grandolini, director of World Bank in Mexico. “Mexico is a forerunner when it comes to implementing projects like this one, and once again has demonstrated its willingness to improve the environment.”

The environmentally friendly buses have managed to permanently remove 839 polluting minibuses, known as “peseros” from the city’s streets, helped reduce traffic accidents by 30% in the area where Metrobus operates and achieved an estimated 6% shift from private vehicles to public transport.

To make this happen, a public-private partnership was set up between Metrobus leaders and the owners of the polluting minibuses, with financial support from the World Bank. Cooperation between the two sectors proved to be a better strategy than competition.

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