May 13, 2014

Sustainable Urban Mobility a Key Theme in Mexico’s New National Urban Development Program

Urban Mobility

Urban mobility achieved new prominence in Mexico last week, as it was featured as a fundamental theme of the National Urban Development Program 2014-2018 (PNDU, for its initials in Spanish.) The document was produced by the Ministry of Rural, Urban and Regional Development (SEDATU, for its initials in Spanish), and is a major report directing national policy on urban growth. PNDU, which had not been updated since 2006, includes new attention to key elements of sustainable urban development such as pedestrians, bicycles, and public transport. ITDP has advocated for the increased attention to these issues at the national level, worked with SEDATU through meetings and workshops, and welcomes their inclusion in PNDU 2014- 2018. 

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The new document outlines a strategy for shaping development in Mexico’s cities. The publication sets six objectives:

1. Control urban sprawl
2. Ensure the social, economic and environmental sustainability of cities
3. Implement new tools for land use management
4. Promote sustainable urban mobility
5. Avoid growth in high risk areas and reduce vulnerability to natural disasters
6. Consolidate a National Policy for Regional Development

The elevation of sustainable urban mobility (objective #4) demonstrates a newfound focus on transport specifically, and signals a shift in how the national government thinks about urban growth.

ITDP has been a consistent voice for the importance of sustainable mobility, and especially the role of public financing in supporting these programs. In September, ITDP Mexico organized a forum between SEDATU and civil society organizations, “Urban Mobility: Urban Development to Move Us Better,” which emphasized the principles that served as the basis for developing PNDU 2014-2018. Additional ITDP Mexico has produced several publications focused on these themes and they have been shared with public officials. These documents include Transport Oriented Development: Regenerating Mexican Cities for Better MobilityTransforming Urban Mobility in Mexico, and a Diagnosis of Federal Funds for Transportation and Accessibility in Urban Mexico (Spanish only).

The adoption of these objectives in PNDU 2014-2018 represents a step forward for Mexico. Until now, sustainable urban mobility has been absent from similar documents at the national level. The document gives new attention to the promotion of non-motorized transit (including pedestrians, bicycles, and public bike share systems), slow traffic zones, public transit, reducing automobile use, creating legislation surrounding cargo transport, and the promotion of transit-oriented development (TOD). These program areas share the goal of reducing the negative externalities inherent in excessive car use, such as carbon emissions, local air pollution and traffic.

With the increased focus on these issues, the government will direct additional resources toward the themes, including funding the research, planning and implementation of programs. While PNDU 2014- 2018 serves as an important catalyst for change, and signals the government’s attention to these issues, it is critical that the recommendations translate into new projects. ITDP looks forward to continuing to work with SEDATU and other government agencies to create cities build around efficient, equitable and sustainable transportation.

Read this article in Spanish and learn more here.

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