How Good Public Transport Can Encourage Sustainable Cities


Urban sprawl has strong impacts on sustainable mobility in cities. It is a phenomenon that not only encourages car use, but it also makes it more costly for local governments to provide public transport services. For individuals, sprawl makes it very difficult to walk or ride a bike to daily activities.

Urban sprawl is usually associated with countries like the United States, but it also happens in developing countries, like Mexico. There, the effects of urban sprawl are more damaging, especially because of the lack of infrastructure and public funds to provide services. Sprawl also raises equity issues, as few people in developing countries can afford a car.

However, it is possible, even in resource-poor countries, to implement strategies that link public transport with urban and economic development in order to generate sustainable cities. An example is Curitiba, Brazil with its strategy of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) around their Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

ITDP Mexico has made an infographic animation to explain the mobility problems caused by cities’ rapid expansion, and to introduce the strategy of TOD to the country’s urban development officials, so they can implement it. The video is part of a larger project sponsored by the British Embassy in Mexico to foster low carbon growth for Mexican cities.

Jimena Veloz is a consultant for ITDP Mexico on the topics of mobility planning, car use reduction and transit oriented development. She is interested in how we use and shape public space, and how that helps or hinders community.  

Image via Augusto Janiski Junior

  • Ben

    Not a very appealing photo, the areas appears barren and empty of people which does not do a lot to further the cause for public transport. Why would anyone want to be the only passenger?