2014 Sustainable Transport Award Finalist: Buenos Aires, Argentina

9 de Julio Corridor

Buenos Aires, the capital and largest city in Argentina with a population of three million, implemented several impressive sustainable transport projects in 2013. For its success promoting urban mobility, reducing emissions, and improving safety, Buenos Aires is a finalist for the 2014 Sustainable Transport Award.

In 2013, the city launched two new corridors of their BRT system, Metrobus: the 23 km corridor of Metrobus Sur and the 3.5 km corridor of 9 de Julio. In addition, the city has transformed dozens of blocks in city center into a pedestrian-friendly environment, encouraging walking and cycling, and plans to continue this process in the next year. These changes are bringing big changes to Buenos Aires and promoting a culture that prioritizes people over cars.

Buenos Aires' pedestrian plazas make the city safer and more attractive for citizens.

Buenos Aires’ pedestrian plazas make the city safer and more attractive for citizens.

Avenue 9 de Julio, known as the “widest avenue in the world” with more than 20 lanes of car traffic, has undergone an impressive “transit makeover” in the last year. The city replaced car lanes with bus-only lanes and created a high-quality, median-aligned bus corridor with 17 stations, accommodating 11 bus lines and improving travel for 200,000 passengers per day. Although the project was often politically difficult, the results are speaking for themselves: across the board, passengers have reduced their travel time by an average of 30 minutes per bus ride. It used to take more than 40 minutes to cross the city. Now it takes an average of 14.

The 9 de Julio Avenue corridor project is part of a citywide Sustainable Mobility Plan initiated in 2009. The plan includes the pedestrianization of more than 100 blocks of the Microcentro area, an extension of the public bicycle share system, a 300 km bicycle-lane network, interventions prioritizing pedestrian activity and public transport, traffic calming and road safety infrastructure, and a sweeping on-street parking-reform project planned for 2014 that will incorporate best practices from around the world to combat illegal parking and improve traffic flow.

In addition to the 9 de Julio corridor, Buenos Aires opened the Metrobus Sur BRT corridor in September 2013. Metrobus Sur runs in two branches, General Roca and Fernandez de la Cruz, with an interchange Puente La Noria with Constitution transport hub. The BRT has 32 stations, and carries 250,000 passengers per day.

Metrobus Sur’s designated lane will benefit 21 other bus lines. Residents of the eight neighborhoods along the corridor have already seen a 20 percent commute time reduction, a reduction in traffic noise and pollution, and the project is expected to have a development impact on these neighborhoods for years to come. 

###

Since 2005, the STA has been given annually to a city that has implemented innovative and sustainable transportation projects in the past year. These strategies must improve mobility for all residents, reduce transportation greenhouse and air pollution emissions, as well as improve safety and access for cyclists and pedestrians.

The 2014 finalists will be honored at a reception at the Washington Hilton International Ballroom on January 14, 2014, during the Transport Research Board annual conference in Washington, DC. If you would like to attend the STA ceremony, click here to RSVP.

Past winners of the Sustainable Transport Award include:  Mexico City, Mexico (2013); Medellin, Colombia and San Francisco, United States (2012); Guangzhou, China (2011); Ahmedabad, India (2010); New York City, USA (2009); London, UK (2008); Paris, France (2008); Guayaquil, Ecuador (2007); Seoul, South Korea (2006), and Bogotá, Colombia (2005).