From BRT to tram lines: how Morocco is boosting public transport

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Climate change negotiations open today in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh for the United Nations Framework on Climate Change’s 22nd Conference of the Parties, otherwise known as COP22.

UITP and the sustainable mobility sector will be present in Marrakesh to put forward the message that an increased role for sustainable transport is absolutely essential to reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement: without a greater shift to sustainable mobility, this will be increasingly unlikely.

COP22 will offer a spotlight on Morocco’s own climate initiatives, an important part of which involve sustainable transport. Visitors to Marrakesh during the COP will have the opportunity to test out the city’s freshly inaugurated bus rapid transit (BRT) system. Using a fleet of 30 fully-electric buses, the BRT consists of four lines with their own dedicated lanes, linking the city’s surrounding areas to two points in the city centre with interchanges at Douar Al Askar, Bab Doukkala and Jamaâ el Fna.  

The BRT will continue to run after the COP, with the objective being to expand the project to the surrounding region from 2017. Uniquely, the project also includes a solar-powered charging station to keep buses topped up.

Meanwhile, the city of Casablanca has also put in place an ambitious strategy for sustainable mobility via a series of projects. The plans, due to be put in place between 2015 and 2022, are part of a wider package of measures to improve transport in the city. After the completion of the city’s first 31-kilometre tram line in 2012, work is now underway to create a further 76km of mass transit operating on its own dedicated infrastructure. Consisting of both tram and BRT lines, the plans also include measures to promote sustainable mobility thanks to improvements to public roads and spaces. By 2022, dedicated infrastructure for public transport will be 110km long (four tram lines and three BRT lines), the objective being to increase the use of public transport from 13% in 2005 to 21% in 2019.

Casablanca is not the only Moroccan city looking to build upon the success of its tram system. The capital, Rabat, has also announced plans to extend line 2 of its own tram network to serve the main routes into the city and its surrounding areas, such as Hay Riyad, Temara and Salé El Jadida.

The climate plans are not limited to urban transport. The Moroccan national railway company, ONCF, which will play a key role in bringing COP participants to Marrakesh, recently conducted a study to evaluate its own climate impact. It found that the railways account for just 0.47% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and 2.6% of the transport sector’s emissions whilst accounting for 8.5% of modal share. Nevertheless, ONCF has announced plans to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 10% and its energy consumption by 20% by 2020.

Find out more about UITP’s role in the fight against climate change.
 

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