January 24, 2007

Ecuadorian City Winning Against Traffic, Pollution Problems

“Mayor Nebot belongs to a new generation of bold mayors and governors around the world who are tackling seemingly intractable problems like traffic gridlock and air pollution—and winning,” said Walter Hook, executive director of ITDP and contributor to Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2007: Our Urban Future.

To be an award recipient, cities must enhance their livability through reduced transport emissions and accidents as well as improve space for bicyclists and pedestrians or increase the mobility of the poor. According to ITDP, until recently public services for the 2.3 million residents of Guayaquil were at an all-time low. In 2006, Mayor Nebot officially opened the first 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) of the Metrovia system, which not only allowed for the retirement of 500 of the city’s oldest, most polluting buses, but has reduced travel time for riders while offering high quality, safe service. Additionally, Nebot encouraged the revitalization of Guayaquil’s waterfront and Santa Ana district and celebrated the city’s first car-free day in September.

Seven other cities received honorable mention at the ceremony, including Hangzhou, China, for its development of a near-BRT system; Jakarta, Indonesia, for expanding its TransJakarta BRT system from one to three corridors; and Mexico City for introducing ultra-low sulfur diesel and the Metrobus BRT corridor. Last year, Mayor Myung-Bak Lee of Seoul, South Korea, received the Sustainable Transport Award for replacing a highway with a riverfront park and introducing exclusive median bus lanes.

This story was produced by Eye on Earth, a joint project of the Worldwatch Institute and the blue moon fund. View the complete archive of Eye on Earth stories, or contact Staff Writer Alana Herro at aherro [AT] worldwatch [DOT] org with your questions, comments, and story ideas.

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