Youth on Board/Boston Student Advisory Council

What If We Focus on Moving People, Not Vehicles?

Recently a group from Boston took a learning tour to Mexico City to get a firsthand look at its world-class transportation network. A new video offers highlights from the trip and inspiration for Boston and other modern cities looking for better ways to get more people where they want to go more quickly, efficiently, and safely.

In December I joined a group of transportation, development, and community leaders from Boston for a learning tour to Mexico City. This was a subset of a larger group that has been studying the feasibility of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) for Greater Boston, with support from Barr and the Rockefeller Foundation.

We went to Mexico City to get a firsthand look at what it has done to become a global leader in urban mobility. What an inspiring and eye-opening experience! We brought a local filmmaker with us to help document what we saw and learned. I am excited to share “When the Goal is Moving People, Not Vehicles. Lessons from Mexico”

When the Goal is Moving People, Not Vehicles. Lessons from Mexico

A few highlights from the video and about Mexico City’s MetroBus Bus Rapid Transit system:

  • It carries more than 850,000 passengers every day (compared to 1.3 million per day for Boston’s entire MBTA system of commuter rail, subways, trolleys, and buses)
  • It has reduced the number of daily car trips in Mexico City by 122,000
  • On average, riders experienced a forty-percent cut in travel times

One of my favorite takeaways from the trip (captured in this video in a quote by Clinton Bench of the Massachusetts Department of transportation) is how inspiring it is to see a city shift from focusing on how to move vehicles to how to move people as quickly efficiently and safely as possible through key corridors. The focus on people has improved the transit system in Mexico and has other positive ripple effects, such as increased pedestrian activity along shopping districts and greater use of public spaces.

What would happen if Boston and other U.S. cities used that frame?

Other participants on the trip have started sharing their reflections as well. Check out:

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Mary Skelton Roberts

Mary Skelton Roberts

Co-Director of Climate