Daar es Salaam, winner of the 2018 Sustainable Transport Award

The 2018 prize went to Dar es Salaam, a major city in Tanzania that won for major improvements in its public transit system namely its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, or DART. The city has also launched a series of transformative improvements to transit, cycling and walking. The high quality and transformative scale of this projects which is the first true BRT system in East Africa made Dar es Salaam the clear winner.

The project consists of six phases supported by different developing Banks to extend through the city and will also include supporting walking and cycling infrastructure. Its first phase has already shown great results including increased transit speeds, improved pedestrian access, safety improvements along with economic and social transformation. Results highlight the savings in commuting time of up to 16 days of time in a year.

“DART is a great example of the progress being made in the East Africa region, and the success of this system will hopefully inspire replication,” – Arturo Ardila-Gomez, a member of the Sustainable Transport Award Committee, and Global Lead for Urban Mobility & Lead Transport Economist at the World Bank.

Next year, Dar es Salaam will host ITDP’s next MOBILIZE Summit, to be held each year in the winning city. MOBILIZE will bring together 200 international urban transport and development planners, practitioners, and officials, world-class researchers, and NGO representatives to share opportunities, challenges, and study the example of Dar es Salaam as an international best practice in public transit and policy.

Since 2005, the Sustainable Transport Award has recognized profound leadership and vision in sustainable transportation and urban livability. These strategies should improve mobility for all residents, reduce transportation greenhouse and air pollution emissions, and enhance safety and access for bicyclists and pedestrians. The award is presented to a city each January for achievements in the preceding year. Nominations are accepted from any interested parties, including government, civil society organizations, and academic institutions. Nominations must include verifiable project data and contact information for the city.

Read more about the winning project >

More about Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Dar es Salaam is a large city faced with the challenge of accommodating the needs of a rapidly growing population. Its current population is nearly equivalent to that of Boston, USA. With climate change and other drivers, masses are migrating from rural Tanzania to the economic capital. The population growth is similar to adding more than the population of Bonn, Germany each year.

Building and maintaining infrastructure fast enough to keep up with the population growth is a serious challenge. Currently, 70% of the population lives in unplanned regions. Over 5,000 families in these settlements need to relocate because they settled in areas with high climate risks, such as flooding.

Mussa Natty, Dar es Salaam’s Municipal Director, described the city’s infrastructure development projects. Installations of toilets, roads, utilities, storm water management systems, solid waste collection, and other public features in the city have demonstrated proven benefits. They have increased the monetary value of homes, reduced poverty, reduced medical expenses, and increased girls’ attendance in schools.

The city is facing a huge challenge, yet their enthusiasm and optimism is contagious. The city is currently developing its Master Plan for 2012-2032 and see this as an opportunity to have risk-based land use plans guide local infrastructure projects. The city recognizes that additional financing could expedite developments and would like to include the private sector in infrastructure development.

The 2018 winner was announced at MOBILIZE Santiago on June 30. The winner and honorable mentions will be honored at an awards ceremony and reception in Washington, DC during the Transport Research Board conference.


Cities of all sizes from all over the world have been recognized by the committee for best practices in sustainable transport. Past winners include

Santiago de Chile; Yichang, China; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Mexico City, México; Medellín, Colombia; San Francisco, United States; Ahmedabad, India; Seoul, South Korea; and Bogotá, Colombia. A complete list of winning cities with details on their win is available at staward.org.

The Sustainable Transport Committee includes the most respected experts and organizations working internationally on sustainable transportation:

For more information about MOBILIZE, visit mobilizesummit.org.


Credit for images to ITDP