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10 Jul 2009: New Bus Systems Reduce
Traffic, Pollution in Developing Cities

Large, low-emission buses being introduced in developing cities from Mexico City to Ahmedabad, India are reducing congestion on crowded roadways and cutting pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, all at a much lower cost than constructing subways. In Bogota, Colombia, city leaders took control of two to four center lanes of major boulevards for the TransMilenio rapid transit system. Small walls isolate the “tracks” of the bus lines from other traffic, and passengers are able to board the long, segmented buses from the center platforms of modern stations. Since 2001, the TransMilenio bus system has allowed the city to remove 7,000 small private buses from roadways and has slashed fuel use by more than 59 percent, according to a New York Times report. As a result, TransMilenio last year became the only large transportation system allowed by the United Nations to generate and sell carbon credits. Climate researchers say that emissions reductions related to transportation will become increasingly urgent in coming decades, particularly in the developing world. According to a recent report by the Asian Development Bank and the Clean Air Institute, carbon emissions related to transportation are expected to increase more than 50 percent by 2030. And 80 percent of that increase will happen in developing cities. Projects similar to Bogota’s TransMilenio are planned in Cape Town, Mexico City, and Jakarta, Indonesia.

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