Guadalajara Gets Greener with Macrobus
Photo courtesy of the Center for Sustainable Transport Mexico (CTS-México).

Photo courtesy of the Center for Sustainable Transport Mexico (CTS-México).

There’s much talk in the U.S. about the economic stimulus and investing in building “green infrastructure” to achieve three goals – create jobs, upgrade our infrastructure, and save the planet. It seems that Mexico is doing exactly this with the launch of Macrobús, funded by the Jalisco government. The entire Macrobús system, scheduled for completion by 2012, is expected to reduce 330,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the next three years, equivalent to taking about 55,000 cars off the road.

Unfortunately, most transportation projects under consideration for funds from the U.S. stimulus bill will be plain old car-lovin’ highway projects (read TheCityFix blogger Erica Schlaikjer’s recent post about this.) Perhaps the U.S. could learn a thing or two from Mexico.

From EMBARQ:

Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Jalisco Governor Emilio Gonzalez Marquez will unveil the first line of a new bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Guadalajara on Wednesday, as part of the state government’s effort to provide a high-quality solution to congestion and air pollution.

The new Macrobús corridor spans 16 kilometers along Calzada Independencia, one of the city’s most iconic but congested avenues. The system’s fleet of 41 articulated buses will operate on exclusive car-free lanes with frequent pick-ups from the 27 stations that integrate with the city’s existing bus routes and light rail lines. It is expected to serve 130,000 passengers per day.

Unlike a conventional bus system, BRT features accordion-style buses with multiple doorways and pre-paid electronic ticketing, as well as permanent bus stations with elevated platforms, similar to a subway or rail system. (To learn more, visit EMBARQ’s website.)

Transport experts expect Macrobús to reduce travel times and prevent traffic accidents, two of the main concerns for Guadalajara residents. In addition, the system will help to fight global warming.

The new corridor is the first of three planned lines, scheduled for completion by 2012. CTS-México estimates that the entire 81-kilometer network will reduce 330,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the next three years, equivalent to taking about 55,000 cars off the road.

The BRT system is the first of its kind in Jalisco, where Gov. Marquez has made it a priority to improve the quality of life for his constituents by building a better mass transit network. The governor tapped Diego Monraz Villaseñor, director of Mexico’s urban rail operator, SITEUR, with the ambitious task of planning and implementing the Macrobús system in just two years.

Macrobús is expected to inspire similar projects in the region, especially during the highly anticipated 2011 Pan-American Games, which Guadalajara is hosting.

Macrobús was made possible through technical and financial support from EMBARQ and CTS-México. CTS-México staff provided technical expertise during the planning and implementation stages, and will continue to support the start-up operations.

Previously, CTS-México helped launch Mexico City’s Metrobús, a BRT system that now carries 320,000 passengers per day.

To read a full press release about Guadalajara’s new BRT system, click here.

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