May 14, 2003

A Brighter Future for Dar es Salaam is Within Reach


Contact: Lisa Peterson, 212-629-8001,

Dar Es Salaam Lord Mayor Sykes, together with City Director Wilson Mukama, today announced that the city will commence planning for the adoption of a new city-wide mobility blueprint for Dar Es Salaam. The blueprint will serve as the basis for a new world-class Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system to be planned, constructed, and operational in its first phase by late 2005.

The new Bus Rapid Transit system will serve the major corridors and arterial roads in the city. The final details of the new system will be determined during a one-year long participatory planning process beginning next fall.

Prior to that, a small team will work for one to two months to articulate an overall vision for the city and its development, and the city government will determine the series of steps to be taken, which aspects of the planning process can be conducted locally, and which aspects require outside assistance.

Phased implementation

“We must commence in the major corridors with Phase I so the people of the city can see a tangible result, and over several subsequent years expand the system to cover other major corridors, said Mayor Sykes, participating in a three-day planning workshop with a team of international consultants led by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).

Sykes said that the planning for the new system will take around a year, with construction likely to take a further year.

The implementation of the new system will address not only issues of mass transit, but also improving conditions for non-motorized transport and walking, better modal integration such as bicycle parking at stations and park and ride facilities for drivers, quality public space provision, cleaner fuels and vehicle technologies to reduce pollution emissions from motor vehicles, measures to restrict the demand for cars; in short, measures to improve the productivity of the city, and the quality of life of its people.

Based on international experience, construction of the new BRT mass transit system will cost between US$1 million and US$5 million per kilometer, subject to the details of the system which are elaborated during the the planning process. This is a fraction of the cost of rail metros, which typically cost more than US$100 million per km. Funds for construction may come from city, national, and international sources.

ITDP, an international non-government organization based in New York focused on promoting sustainable and equitable transportation, will through the development of a Global Environment Facility (GEF) funding package offer financial support for the new system, with matching funds provided at the local level.

A final decision on the availability of the GEF funding for Dar Es Salaam, which may amount to more than US$500,000, depending on how much local funding can be raised, will be made later in 2003. The GEF funding will primarily cover the planning phase, which will cost up to US$1 million, as well as some demonstration activities.

Learning from Bogotá

The delegation of international consultants visiting Dar Es Salaam to help the city establish the initial planning process includes the system manager of Bogotá’s TransMilenio BRT system and a consultant from McKinsey, who was one of the architects of TransMilenio. Mayor Sykes himself, along with a delegation of nine other Tanzanians, visited Bogotá in February 2003 and was greatly impressed with what had been achieved there.

The former Mayor of Bogotá led the city’s transformation from a congested and dangerous mess into the world’s leading model for developing cities. Since 1998, Bogotá has:

  • Built Latin America’s largest network of bicycle ways, 250 kilometres long
  • Built a world class Bus Rapid Transit system of dedicated bus lanes and metro-like quality of service called TransMilenio
  • Established a city model giving priority to children and public spaces, restricting private car use
  • Built hundreds of kilometers of sidewalks
  • Built pedestrian streets (one of which is more than 17 km long and 15 metres wide, through some of the poorest areas of the city) and greenways along creeks
  • Built or totally reconstructed more than 1,200 parks
  • Carried out an annual car free day which receives massive popular support and during which no private vehicles can circulate in the entire city of 6 million people
  • Through a referendum, decided that from the year 2015 onwards, there would be no cars during rush hours, from 6 AM to 9 AM and from 4:30 PM to 7:30
  • PM

  • Implemented a 40% private car restriction during peak hours, recovering public space for the city’s people.

All of this has had an impressive impact on living standards and the pride Bogotá‘s residents have in their city.

Features of the new system: Dar Es Salaam’s metro

Developing a blueprint of a system suitable to Dar Es Salaam’s unique culture, needs and circumstances is an essential step in the planning process for the new city development model. It was acknowledged that the new system cannot be simply copied from Bogotá, but must be developed according to a vision of the local people.

However, while the specific details of the new system will be developed during a year-long detailed planning process, in broad outline it can be confirmed that the new system will include:

  • Segregated busways along major city corridors
  • Rapid boarding and alighting
  • Clean, secure and comfortable stations and terminals
  • Efficient pre-board fare collection
  • Effective licensing and regulatory regimes for bus operators
  • Clear and prominent signage
  • Transit prioritisation at intersections
  • Modal integration at stations and terminals, especially to facilitate non-motorised and walking access, but also to enhance integration for car users
  • Sophisticated marketing identity
  • Excellence in customer service
  • Large, clean, comfortable and high frequency buses
  • A high level of private sector investment and operation

These features are leading transport planners increasingly to refer to Bus Rapid Transit as a form of ‘surface metro’. Dar Es Salaam is currently competing with Cape Town to see which city can provide Africa’s first world class mobility solution based around a Bus Rapid Transit metro.


Sign up for updates on our projects, events and publications.

Send this to a friend