Think twice when planning and financing mass public transport projects

Think twice when planning and financing mass public transport projects

IsDB and GIZ SUTP jointly organized their eighth workshop. More than 25 transport experts from Islamic Development Bank member countries in MENA, Central Asia and Africa regions engaged in finding approaches how to plan and finance mass public transport projects for their cities in a workshop in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 09-10 May.

Dubai is one of the most futuristic places of the world. The city has not only breathtaking buildings. The United Arab Emirates invested a lot of money into the Dubai metro system. The mass public transport project was initiated in 2005 during the city’s construction boom. The system length is 74.6 km and has two lines. A third line is under construction. The costs of the Dubai Metro project estimates to be more than US$4.2 billion. This is a huge number and its shows how expensive mass public transport projects can become and how important sustainable project planning and meticulous finance are. The eight Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH workshop focused on the need to develop and implement an integrated transport planning and finance process, with systems such as MRT and BRT as a possible solution for ever-growing cities overwhelmed by cars.

The workshop aimed at rethinking about actual project plans and discuss specific challenges regarding finance. After short introductory words from Saaed Mohamed from IsDB and Levent Toprak from GIZ, participants took over the lead and started with questions and expectations. During this first session, it was evident, that the benefits of sustainable mobility solutions for cities are understood and acknowledged. However, knowledge regarding partnerships, planning and financing of suitable sustainable transport projects were required.

After expert inputs on financing and PPP structuring of mass public transport projects from our trainer Manfred Breithaupt (senior sustainable mobility expert) and IsDB PPP specialist Umer Yaqob, in the first group work participants could report from their experiences working on transport projects. The organizing team was pleased to hear about success stories. However, this session was a great opportunity to talk about how to improve partnerships and step forward for projects.

On the second day, we were pleased to discuss the private sector perspective on planning and financing mass public transport projects: a good relationship between public and private sector is one the most important keys for successfully implementing mass public transport projects. The discussion on MRT or BRT showed that highest technological and visible transport innovation such as the Dubai Metro is not the only way. BRT systems could cost less money and are easier to realize. However, cities need to understand mobility and cultural behavior first and think twice about planning and finance.

In the following group work, all groups applied the knowledge and results of the discussions during the workshop and have planned sample transport projects with a big meticulousness. SUMP processes with public participation and partnerships, walking, cycling and BRTs were the main driver for sustainable urban transport in their cases.

The training in Dubai on 09-10 May was the eighth workshop on Sustainable Mobility that IsDB and GIZ SUTP have organized. It was a step forward to talk about project preparation and finance based on the principles of sustainable mobility. IsDB and GIZ will continue to bring transport experts together and to support them in their efforts in making their transport systems more sustainable.

This article was written by Levent Toprak, GIZ.

Copyright of all pictures: Levent Toprak, GIZ.

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