Why DART has scooped coveted transport award

04Jul 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Why DART has scooped coveted transport award

CYCLE paths, sidewalks and improved pedestrian safety with well-designed, at-grade pedestrian crossings which comply with universal accessibility principles are among the features that helped the Dar es Salaam Bus Rapid Transit (DART) win the prestigious Sustainable Transport Award.

 

The award, which comes to Tanzania for the first time in its 13-year history, was announced by the New York–based Institute for Transportation and Development Policy over the weekend.

The institute said in a statement: “DART is a high-quality, high-capacity BRT system incorporating best practice design and features…it is the first true BRT system in East Africa.”

“DART has reduced commute times by more than half for residents, who previously faced upwards of four hours stuck in traffic every day. At stations with passing lanes, some of the existing bus fleet can provide express service to key destinations, saving even more time.”

The first phase of the network was supported by the World Bank and opened on May 16 last year. It spans 21 kilometres of trunk route, and serves160, 000 passengers per day on average with the current fleet of 140 buses. By mid-next year (2018), when the first phase becomes fully operational with over 300 buses, the system is projected to carry an estimated 400,000 passengers per day.

Award committee chairman Michael Kodransky said the award “has always been about transformation”.He said the committee is looking to call attention to political courage and regional best practices, especially in places that are often overlooked.

“This project is transformative for Dar, and it offers a source of inspiration for other African cities, where new transport systems are being planned. We’re thrilled to promote over the next year the great work that Dar has done, and convene experts from all over the world to see first-hand what they’ve accomplished.”

Dar es Salaam has beaten many world cities including the closest, Moscow in Russia which according to award organizers will receive an honorable mention.

“DART is a great example of the progress being made in the East Africa region, and the success of this system will hopefully inspire replication,” said award committee member Arturo Ardila-Gomez, a lead transport economist at the World Bank. 

“The first phase of the BRT is already proving to be transformational for Dar, both socially and economically,” added Bella Bird, World Bank country director for Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi and Somalia. 

She added: “Increased transit speeds, improved pedestrian access, safe, reliable transit has the potential to significantly enhance urban life here. It is wonderful to see the travel time savings given back to commuters of about 16 days of their life per year, which were previously lost in traffic jams. We look forward to celebrating the achievement of this award with the city”.

Award organizers noted that “serving the key axis of Morogoro Road and running through the city center, DART is more than a public transit system… it has brought improvements for pedestrians and cyclists as well.”The project is being implemented in six phases, which will cover the entire city with high quality BRT service, and the accompanying cycling and walking infrastructure. DART’s second phase, to be completed over the next year, is supported by the African Development Bank, and the planned third and fourth phases will be supported by the World Bank.

Other STA winning cities in the past have included Seoul, South Korea; Paris, France; Guangzhou, China; San Francisco, USA; Mexico City, Mexico; and Yichang, China. 

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