Cleaner buses (Colombia)
Colombia has built a novel public transportation system in Bogotá, the bus rapid transit or B.R.T, called TransMilenio, in an attempt to reduce congestion and combat climate change. It is used for about 1.6 million trips per day and has allowed the capital to remove 7,000 small private buses from its roads, reducing the use of bus fuel and associated emissions by more than 59% since it first opened in 2001. The buses run on diesel but have high-efficiency engines and emit less than half the pollution of the older minibuses.
The city built seven intersecting bus routes by isolating existing traffic lanes with low walls, creating enclosed stations, and proving free shuttle buses to carry residents from outlying districts to terminals. It has made bus transport accessible to low-income users, while at the same time profitable for private operators and fundable by the state. It has reduced commuting times by 32%, and moves more passengers per mile every hour than almost any of the world’s subways. Subways cost more than thirty times as much per mile than a B.R.T system.
TransMilenio was the only large scale transportation project approved by the United Nations to generate and sell carbon credits. Developed countries that exceed their emissions can buy credits from TransMilenio to balance their emissions budgets, bringing Bogotá an estimated US $100-300 million so far. It has inspired the planning of similar schemes in other rapidly expanding cities in India, China, Mexico, Indonesia.
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