- See also: Watch: Portland, a Global Model of Transit-Oriented Development
- Can transport speak to development?
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles: How to Make Public Transit More Effective
ITDP Mexico’s “Mejores Calles, Mejores Ciudades” (Better Streets, Better Cities) video advocates the implementation of TOD strategies across the country. This impetus is greater given it responds to the demographic trends of the country: 77% of Mexico’s citizens live in cities. In the face of rapid expansion its cities have failed to plan and regulate the changing urban landscape. The spread of citizens across expanding cities has also made it difficult and expensive to implement a sufficient public transportation infrastructure. Citizens respond to this challenge by replying on cars. Therefore the government is forced to invest money into an infrastructure that prioritizes car-use. There are greater costs for society; 24 000 annual road deaths, pollution and high energy use. Therefore cities are becoming less sustainable places to live with a lower quality of life.
TOD is a tool for combating urban sprawl. This would mean concentrating development of housing, businesses, and services around public transit stations. TOD also takes priority away from the personal automobile and allows us to walk and cycle in a connected city. A denser, more compact city allows for people to swap their cars for public transportation options. In Latin America the TOD model is already working in Curibita, Brazil. The economy and quality of life of citizens in the Brazilian city have increased as a result of TOD implementation.
In Mexico, we need to start by changing housing policy. Banks need to grant more loans to housing that is located near to quality public transportation infrastructure. Next, Mexico needs to change it’s taxation policy by redistributing federal taxes and investing them into infrastructure projects that support public transport, pedestrians and cyclists. At the time of writing, 75% of federal tax is invested in infrastructure that supports car use. This is unjust given that most Mexicans do not use cars. Mexico also needs to think about the redistribution of space. Car-parking space should be reduced and instead offered to housing, businesses or public spaces.
This video was originally published by ITDP Mexico on 23 October, 2013