Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is experiencing one of the fastest rates of urban growth in the world. Sprawling growth and car-centric transport infrastructure have contributed to the growing use of personal motor vehicles, leading to increased pollution, congestion and road safety challenges. Addis Ababa’s urban area has expanded at least four times faster than the rate of growth in the population since the early 1970s. Meanwhile, Addis Ababa has an estimated 70 per cent of the country’s vehicles. As a result, vehicles pump nearly 1.4 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year—nearly half of the city’s emissions.

Going forward, Addis Ababa will need to shift to a model oriented around efficient public transport and high-quality facilities for walking and cycling. Increased investment in sustainable transport modes is critical to expanding commuting options for Addis Ababa residents while mitigating negative externalities of the transport system. ITDP estimate that Addis Ababa will require at least 70 km of new, high-quality mass rapid transit (MRT) corridors by 2030 in order to stabilise and eventually reduce the number of trips by personal motor vehicles. Inclusive development and transport will in turn increase access to basic services and opportunities for marginalised communities.

Walking and public transport are the dominant forms of mobility in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, making up an estimated 85 percent of trips. To improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, the Addis Ababa Road and Transport Bureau (AARTB), with support from ITDP and with funding from UN-Habitat and UN Environment developed an NMT Strategy for the city. The NMT strategy aims to lay the foundations for a more equitable, sustainable and inclusive approach to street design, building design, and network planning. ITDP is also working with the Ministry of Transport to develop a national-level NMT Strategy to guide the provision of high-quality infrastructure and enforcement practices for pedestrians, cyclists, and disabled road users across Ethiopia. AARTB also plans to introduce bicycle sharing to provide a low-cost, environmentally friendly mobility option to the city residents.

The Addis Ababa Road and Transport Bureau (AARTB) is currently embarking on a rapid expansion of the city’s public transport system. The city has an existing light rail transit (LRT) network and is currently planning multiple bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors. Implementation has commenced on the B2 BRT corridor, the first of several planned lines. ITDP, in partnership with AFD and UN-Habitat, has been providing technical support in the implementation of the BRT.


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