International Award for Sustainable Transport: which cities selected for 2009?

Thanks to their innovative transport strategies, this year, Milan and Istanbul were awarded ‘Honourable Mentions’ in the 2009 International Award for Sustainable Transport competition. This award aims at granting the involvement of a city for the sustainable transport such as the set up of non-motorised travel for bicyclists

EUROCITIES members, Milan and Istanbul, were awarded ‘Honourable Mentions’ in the 2009 International Award for Sustainable Transport competition, for having adopted innovative transportation strategies to confront climate change and decrease air pollution from vehicle emissions. The Award recognises a city or major jurisdiction that has made most significant progress during the year in improving public transportation, non-motorised travel for bicyclists and pedestrians; implementing programmes to reduce private car use; reducing urban sprawl; and reducing transport-related air pollution.

Among this year’s entrants, Milan was awarded for its bike sharing system and the ‘Ecopass’, which it introduced last January 2008 to restrict access to the central area of the city by charging the most heavily polluting vehicles. This is the first urban environmental policy worldwide in the transport sector based on the European Union’s “polluter pays” principle and is an evolution of the London’s congestion charge. Since February 2008, there has been a 19.2% traffic reduction within, and an 8% reduction outside, the enforcement time. As a result, public transport speed increased by 11.3%, passenger ridership increased on public transport by 9.7% and in two months there was a 3.9 million euro financial return. Because of this, carbon dioxide has decreased by 12% during the enforcement period, and particulate matter has decreased by 19%.

Istanbul was recognised for its Metrobus, a BRT system that carries 450,000 passengers a day over 43 kilometers of segregated busway. Metrobus was built on expressways, so its travel speed is uncommonly fast at 40 kilometers per hour. This has reduced travel time by 75%. The system is also integrated with the underground metro and existing bus services. Other cities in Turkey are looking to this low cost, quickly implemented example as a model.

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