December 26, 2012

Sustainable Transport Award Finalist: Mexico City, Mexico

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The largest city in North America, with an urban population of nine million, has implemented many projects in 2012 that have improved livability, mobility, and quality of life for its citizens, making the Mexican capital a best practice for Latin America. They city expanded its metro system with a new line, as well as its BRT system, Metrobus, with Lines 3 and 4, piloted a comprehensive on-street parking reform program (ecoParq), expanded their successful public bike system (Ecobici) and revitalized public spaces such as Alameda Central and Plaza Tlaxcoaque.

Advancements in Public Transport

In 2012, Mexico City expanded its Metrobus BRT system with two new corridors: Line 3, which added 17 km to the system, and Line 4, which added 28 km, making Metrobus the largest BRT in Latin America by corridor length. Line 4 is fully integrated with the other three lines, generating greater demand for the entire system and a better network of mass transit for the city overall. This line also runs to the historic city center from the airport, providing a crucial corridor to two areas that were previously lacking in public transport options. The Metrobus lines incorporate several components of a world-class BRT system: dedicated lanes, enclosed stations, at-level boarding, large buses with multiple doors, advanced fare collection, and increased passenger comfort. The city’s metro system also expanded in 2012, with the opening of line 12, which includes 20 stations covering 25.6 km.

Improvements to Bike Sharing

Mexico City implemented a major expansion to its bike share program, Ecobici, in 2012. The expansion added 87 new stations and 1200 new bicycles, growing the system by more than one-third. It is estimated that this will result in 7500 new trips daily by bicycle. A significant portion of this expansion took place in the Polanco neighborhood, a residential area that has high vehicle prevalence.

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Parking Reform

In 2012, Mexico City implemented ecoParq, an off-street parking program to create a formal parking system has already had positive impacts on car use and public space in the two pilot neighborhoods: Polanco and Lomas. A total of 481 parking meters are serving various spots in these neighborhoods regulating nearly 7000 parking spots. EcoParq is not only intended to generate revenue for the city, but also to fully integrate the communications strategy to improve mobility and public space.

Improvements to Public Space

The rehabilitation of Plaza Tlaxcoaque and recovery of Alameda Central were key to the city’s revival of their historic center. Plaza Tlaxcoaque, the “gateway to the historic center”, has a new illumination system, improved installations and renovations, as well as new pedestrian spaces. Alameda Central, the first public park in Mexico City and the oldest park in the Americas, has improved sidewalks and renovated monuments. The city is also installing traffic reduction measures to reduce the speed and quantity of cars in the areas.

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