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Ecuadorian city winning against traffic, pollution problems.

Guayaquil, Ecuador, and its mayor, Jaime Nebot, received international recognition in January for the city's successful introduction of the Metrovia bus rapid transit (BRT) system and other improvements to public space. The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) honored Nebot with the annual Sustainable Transport Award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. "Mayor Nebot belongs to a new generation of bold mayors and governors around the world who are tackling seemingly intractable problems like traffic gridlock and air pollution--and winning," said Walter Hook, executive director of ITDP.


To be an award recipient, cities must enhance their livability through reduced transport emissions and accidents, as well as improve spaces for cyclists and pedestrians or increase the mobility of the poor. Until recently, public services for the 2.3 million residents of Guayaquil were at an all-time low, according to ITDP. In 2006, Mayor Nebot officially opened the first 15 kilometers of the Metrovia system, which not only enabled the city to retire 500 of its oldest, most polluting buses, but also reduced travel times for riders while offering high quality, safe service. In addition, Nebot encouraged the revitalization of Guayaquil's waterfront and Santa Ana district and celebrated the city's first car-free day in September.

Seven other cities received honorable mention at the ceremony, including Hangzhou, China, for its development of a near-BRT system; Jakarta, Indonesia, for expanding its TransJakarta BRT system from one to three corridors; and Mexico City, for introducing ultra-low sulfur diesel and the Metrobus BRT corridor. Last year, Mayor Myung-Bak Lee of Seoul, South Korea, received the Sustainable Transport Award for replacing a highway with a riverfront park and introducing exclusive-median bus lanes.
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Title Annotation:EYE ON EARTH
Author:Herro, Alana
Publication:World Watch
Date:May 1, 2007
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