Tijuana readies for first bus rapid transit (BRT) system with the help of EMBARQ Mexico
Tijuana, capital and largest city in the state of Baja California, is the sixth largest metropolitan area in Mexico and holds an important location on the United States-Mexico border. Located just miles from San Diego in the United States, the two cities form what is considered one of the busiest borders in the world. This transnational metropolitan area is extremely large geographically, and ties together a vast array of cultures, histories, and economies. Yet at the same time, this urban area has underdeveloped transport systems and infrastructure, limiting access to opportunities both within Tijuana and throughout the metropolitan region.
Tijuana itself is projected to reach over three million inhabitants by 2020, adding over one million residents in just a decade. Along with the city of Rosarito, this makes Tijuana the fastest growing metropolitan region in Mexico. Without intervention, this growth will only exacerbate the city’s existing mobility challenges. To accommodate a rising urban population and provide sustainable mobility for residents, the city is preparing to implement its first bus rapid transit (BRT) system. To ensure the success of the project, EMBARQ Mexico is helping city officials spearhead new interagency collaborations and cross-government cooperation to build management capacity and bring the city’s BRT goals to fruition.
Uniting government agencies for a sustainable, mobile future
Tijuana’s BRT project is a high priority for Mayor Jorge Astiazaran, who voiced his support for BRT as far back as his 2013 mayoral campaign. Since entering office, Astiazaran continued his commitment to developing more robust transport infrastructure and improving access to jobs and opportunities for Tjuana’s residents. The new BRT system will serve the city center, with initial coverage set to meet demand for 30% of the 250,000 daily trips taken throughout the city.
EMBARQ Mexico is collaborating with both the local and federal governments to provide the services the city needs to bring the BRT system to reality, providing technical assistance, convening key government actors, and helping to move the project from assessment to implementation. Additionally, EMBARQ Mexico is working with local and state level authorities to satisfy the specific requirements for PROTRAM funding, the National Infrastructure Fund’s program to finance transport infrastructure and invest in urban transport development. These efforts, which cut across different levels of government and unite fields of expertise, will build institutional capacity in planning, regulation, and operations for sustainable mass transport systems in Tijuana and across Mexico.
“Framing the BRT opportunity for Tijuana” workshop
The first phase of Tijuana’s BRT project is the “Door to Mexico – El Florido” trunk corridor, which will be complemented by feeder routes from the city’s existing bus system. To move forward the implementation of this phase of the project, EMBARQ Mexico coordinated the “Framing the BRT opportunity for Tijuana” workshop, held April 9 – 10, 2014.
In preparation for this workshop, EMBARQ Mexico reviewed the full scope of the city’s proposed BRT and conducted a series of stakeholder interviews to identify potential challenges in launching and operating the system. Participants interviewed reached across different levels of government, and included the Secretary General; the Secretary of Urban Development, Public Works, and Services; the Secretary of Social Development; and the Director of Social Communications. Arturo Martínez of the Office of the President, and Hernán Villarreal, Secretary of Communications and Transport at the federal level also attended the workshop.
The workshop was an exercise in planning and management, with the mission to clarify roles and responsibilities for ensuring the successful launch of the new BRT system. The participants examined technical aspects like route design as well as how to surmount management and governance challenges related to implementation, which is slated for 2015.
EMBARQ Mexico will continue to work with the city of Tijuana to refine the timeline for implementation. Through this workshop and continuing collaboration, city leaders are developing a new landscape for urban mobility to the millions of users that rely on Tijuana’s transport systems every day.