Mexico City’s Air Quality Changed by Green Transportation

Mexico CityMexico City is attempting to change its image from poster child for congestion and urban pollution to a city that embraces green ideas.

A population of 18 million people and 6 million cars make public transit a necessity for many Mexico City residents. In the past, public transit was a necessary evil and involved crowds, noise, and air pollution. Geography has only made Mexico City’s issues worse since it’s in a trapped high-altitude valley that traps pollution.

1992 saw Mexico City have only 8 “good air days.” Much of the population didn’t even want to venture outside because the air quality was so bad and could exacerbate health issues. The problem appeared far beyond a solution and seemed beyond the point of no return.

In recent years, however, Mexico City has embraced ecofriendly concepts involving bus rapid transit. Metrobus, Mexico City’s $49 million World Bank grant, launched in 2005. Metrobus has grown at an incredible rate and 315,000 passengers a day use the service. In fact, now the only way to get to the downtown district is to walk or ride the Metrobus. People are using Metrobus, because it can shorten a two-hour trolley ride to 55 minutes.

Annually, Metrobus cuts nitrogen oxide emissions by 690 tons, particulate by 2.8 tons, and hydrocarbons by 144 tons by using a fleet of hybrids and Euro V clean diesels. The Metrobus vehicles generate 95% less particulate emissions than earlier buses.

According to EMBARQ, the bus rapid transit (BRT) system has improved mobility by 50%, cut accidents by 30%, and moved 6 %of travelers to public transportation.

In addition to Metrobus, Ecobici, a bike-sharing service has taken root and even has a wait list.

Mexico City created the “Hoy No Circula” program, limiting the number of pre-2005 cars and trucks on the road. Tougher emission also led to a cleaner environment.

ecoParq, a pilot parking meter program, was designed to make finding a parking spot downtown more efficient.

A nine-mile “Golden Line” was created to cut the overcrowding on the subway system.

Gone are the days Mexico City was notorious for its massive amounts of pollution. In fact, the city is at the forefront of embracing “green” concepts and making major changes to its existing infrastructure to create a more ecofriendly environment for its citizens.

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