Buenos Aires, or La reina del Plata, capital of Argentina, is widely known for being a beautiful cosmopolitan city. Divided into 48 different neighbourhoods, the metropolitan area is home to more than 13.5 million inhabitants. To move around the city, people can count on extensive mix networks of tram, buses, metro, bikes and others.
In the context of the Mobility Champions Community, a high-level platform for local and regional leaders collaborating to build more liveable cities, the Head of Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Mr Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, kindly accepted to answer some of our questions to have a better understanding of the urban mobility context in his city and to discuss the upcoming projects. We will share this iimportant nterview in two parts: part one of the interview below!
Can you please briefly present the public transport projects that have been made in Buenos Aires in the past years and those planned for the years to come?
In Buenos Aires, eight out of ten neighbours choose public transportation as their way to move around the city every day. Therefore, in the last few years and in the years yet to come, most of the mobility projects have been and will be oriented to enhancing public transportation.
In addition, since our current president Mauricio Macri took office in 2015, all the projects regarding this issue are being coordinated with the National Government and the Government of the Buenos Aires Province, led by Maria Eugenia Vidal, allowing us to develop and plan bigger and better ideas, solutions and projects.
Some of the projects we have made in the past years are:
• The extension of the MetroBus network in the city. With the new “MetroBus del Bajo”, we have now 80km of fast and exclusive lanes for buses.
• We have built four transfer centres: Pacífico, Flores, Chacarita and Constitución. And we are currently building another one in Liniers. These centres allow citizens to transfer faster, safer and easier between two or more means of transport (such as train, subway, bus or bicycle).
• Córdoba and Santa Fe avenues have new exclusive lanes for buses that are saving a lot of travel time to our neighbours.
• We are currently installing in all the buses that drive along the metropolitan area, a predictive system that will allow passengers to know when the next unit will arrive to the bus stop they are waiting at.
• And more security cameras are being installed in buses. Today we have 1,000 units equipped with cameras and we plan to have 2,183 this December and 4,183 next June. The final goal is to have 10,000 units fully equipped in the near future.
Thanks to the teamwork with the national government, in 2019 Buenos Aires will have 50 train barriers less, since we have currently under construction:
• Mitre Train´s Viaduct
• San Martin Train´s Viaduct
• Belgrano Sur Train´s Viaduct
• Burial of the Sarmiento Train
And we are projecting for the near future:
• RER – Red de Expresos Regionales (Regional Express Network), a giant station under the Obelisco that will connect all the train lines, all the subway lines, many bus lines, our underground minivan station and the bicycle network.
What are the three main urban mobility challenges in Buenos Aires? Which measures and policies are you implementing to meet these challenges?
Buenos Aires City receives each day as many visitors as we have as residents, and in a city with three million inhabitants and three million visitors each day for work, education, healthcare and tourism, needless to say is that our main challenge is to make public transportation the best option to move around Buenos Aires.
As I said before, eight out of ten neighbours choose public transportation, making eight million trips a day, so improving it is definitely our main challenge.
Facing the future, we share this challenge with the Buenos Aires Province. Of the three million citizens that visit us every day, 55% arrive to the city using public transportation, whereas the remaining 45% drives to get here. Hence, we are working together with Maria Eugenia Vidal´s administration to increase the use of public transportation in the trips that people make between the city and the province.
Our main challenge is to make public transportation the best option to move around Buenos Aires.
The second challenge is to reduce the deaths caused by road accidents. We are committed to decreasing at least 30% of the fatal victims by 2019. Therefore, we are constantly working in Road Security Plans, constructing better roads and eliminating train barriers with new viaducts and underground passages.
As for the third challenge, the use of technology in real-time traffic control appears to be more than necessary. In addition, having technology within the reach of our neighbours will let them plan efficiently their trip, regardless the mean of transport they prefer. Consequently, this year we inaugurated the Urban Mobility Control Center, equipped with brand new technology that is helping us to have a better picture related to how traffic is flowing every day.
How are you dealing with the emergence of new mobility players such as bike-sharing/car-sharing/ride-hailing platforms?
In a city as dynamic as Buenos Aires, we understand the need of new technologies.
However, we will never accept technology being used illegally. CABIFY does fill all the requirements local and national law demand to everyone who intends to transport passengers. It is a company that is currently operating under our law.
As a government we are constantly encouraging the development of new technologies and innovations to improve our city. We have created a few apps that help citizens move around our streets and we signed agreements with other private companies such as Waze, Google and Moovit, in order to face together the challenge of providing real-time information regarding traffic and road status to our citizens.
Stay tuned for part two of our interview with Mr Horacio Rodriquez Larreta!
Find out more about our Mobility Champions Community, where city leaders are coming together to promote sustainable mobility and better quality of life for citizens!