Metrobus in Mexico City Wins Harvard University Award for Sustainable Transit Project.

3053226323aa3240a9ffMexico City’s Metrobus project received the 2009 Roy Family Award for Environmental Partnership from Harvard University. Metrobus is a sustainable transit project in one of the world’s most populated and congested cities.

“Metrobus, which focuses on massive transport systems and better vehicle fuel efficiency, has shown to be a viable and economically efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Gloria Grandolini, World Bank Director for Mexico. “Mexico is at the forefront when it comes to implementing this type of projects and once again demonstrates its willingness to improve the environment,” she added.

By introducing cleaner, more efficient buses, and convincing many commuters to leave their cars at home, Metrobus has reduced carbon dioxide emissions from Mexico City traffic by an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 tons a year. In addition, the project removed 800 polluting minibuses from the road and encouraged greater use of sidewalks and bicycles throughout the city.Metrob%C3%BAs_Set_Dominguez
The World Bank has supported Mexico’s efforts to attain a sustainable environment with loans totaling US$2.7 billion for the 2008-2009 period. The projects seek to integrate environmental considerations into public policies, in order to increase competitiveness and economic and social development while simultaneously protecting the environment. 

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A City’s Quest for a “Green Boulevard”

flying bus

Just yesterday I was looking through the Green American Fall newsletter, and read an article about Hasselt, Belgium (4th largest city in Belgium) reclaiming its streets from traffic nightmare roads.  In the mid-1990s this city was very similar to many US cities, with a massive suburban sprawl and urban businesses experiencing great deterioration.  There was an increase in traffic congestion, thus a plan to ease this by building another road around the city (already two known as “ring roads”).  By the advice of a green consulting group, the then mayor of Hasselt—Steve Stevaert—halted construction of the new road (saving billions of dollars) and decided to turn half of the inner ring road into a pedestrian friendly thoroughfare by being car-free.  This is now known as the Green Boulevard.  Additionally, he created a more accessible bus system by increasing the number of busses (40 total) and letting residents ride them for free. Continue reading

NAS report on “Hidden Costs”

Coal smoke

The National Academy of Sciences released an extensive report today that estimates some of the externalities of energy production and consumption.  The report is limited to public health expenses incurred, leaving out costs related to ecosystem damages or climate change.  The unpaid costs for health related to energy were $120 billion.   The breakdown of sources is enlightening.  Coal powered electricity accounted for the biggest share followed by vehicles at $62 billion and $56 billion respectively.  The report also assigns 43% of coals $62 billion to about 40 of the dirtiest emitters.  The health costsfor coal equate to an unpaid cost of 3.2 cents/kwh.