As part of the Metrobus 9 de Julio, Buenos Aires implemented a new Metrobus corridor along the broad Avenida 9 de Julio, providing a rapid transit public transportation system that covers three kilometers at the heart of downtown Buenos Aires. This project was one part of a comprehensive integrated urban renewal plan that also widened sidewalks, developed infrastructure to encourage cycling and revitalized public space at the center of the city.
A Member of ICLEI and of ICLEI’s EcoMobility Alliance, Buenos Aires is designing and implementing urban development centered on mobility, sustainability and quality of life for its residents. The goals of the project were to improve access and mobility within the city center, promote the use of public transportation and thereby lower emissions and improve the environment of the city for all residents.
As a result, car traffic has dropped in the city center by 85 percent and annual CO2 emissions are down by 5.612 tons. The new bus system transports over 250,000 people every day and decreases their travel time by around 50 percent. Cycling as a mode of transportation has also increased from almost zero to nearly 5 percent.
Guillermo Dietrich, the Minister of Transport of Argentina, former Head of Transport of Buenos Aires, who helped initiate the project, shared at a press conference that “the main goal was to get people out of the car and riding public transport” but the end effect was so much more than that. The city can now boast cleaner air and a healthier environment for residents. The city center is safer and more vibrant with new businesses and reclaimed public spaces. “I am sure that Buenos Aires is now more livable than nine years ago,” he added.
With all of these successes, the project is still moving forward. In the second stage of the project, two tunnels were opened to improve the capacity and connectivity of the system. Additionally, pilot projects to use electric buses will be implemented this year to accelerate the decarbonization of the public transport fleet.
Buenos Aires is now leading the way as a model city within Argentina and among city leaders around the world. One of the elements highlighted by the jury of the Transport Achievement Award is the potential for replication. In fact, three more Metrobus corridors have already been implemented and seven more are in the planning stages throughout Argentina. However, the city also shared how they learned from partners, adapting measures that had worked effectively in other cities. The success of the project was also dependent on multi-stakeholder engagement as well as collaboration amongst experts on infrastructure and urban planning. Most of all, political will was crucial in the development of the project and Buenos Aires is committed to creating a safe and sustainable city for its residents.