Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, has won the 2018 Sustainable Transport Award, becoming the first African city to win the award in its 13-year history.
The city, one of the fastest growing in the world, was recognised for a series of transformative improvements to transit, cycling and walking, the most important of which is the Dar es Salaam Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, or DART.
“African cities are at a tipping point with growth right now, Dar es Salaam is expected to more than double in size by 2030, and how that will change the quality of life for its citizens depends on how successful these cities are in building the infrastructure they need for people, not just for cars,” Jemilah Magnusson, Global Communications Director at ITDP, told Cities Today. “DART is the first in a series of new transport systems in African cities, and the award recognition offers a much-needed reference for design, capacity, and features that other cities can follow.”
DART, a high-capacity BRT system incorporating best practice design and features, is the first true BRT system in East Africa. The first phase of the network was supported by the World Bank, and opened in May 2016. It spans 21 kilometres of trunk route, and serves 160,000 passengers per day on average with a fleet of 140 buses.
By mid-2018, the first phase will becomes fully operational with over 300 buses and the system is projected to carry an estimated 400,000 passengers per day. 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 BRT is already proving to be transformational for Dar es Salaam, both socially and economically,” added Bella Bird, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi and Somalia. “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.”
Serving the key axis of Morogoro Road and running through the city centre, DART has brought improvements for pedestrians and cyclists as well including cycle paths, pavements, and improved pedestrian safety with well-designed pedestrian crossings.