Urban public transport policy in Dushanbe is facing increasing challenges. On the one hand, transport demand is rapidly increasing, mainly due to an impressive population growth over 2% annually (the population grew from 679,400 inhabitants in 2008 to 779,000 inhabitants in 2014). An additional factor is the increasing number of trips made by many citizens in Dushanbe, as the economic conditions improve and trips for leisure, shopping and other purposes become more frequent. A second major transport challenge is the steady decline and deterioration of regular public transport modes (trolleybuses and large buses).
In accordance with the 2011 survey conducted by this UNDP-supported and GEF-financed project, trolleybuses and large buses are of relatively minor importance in the city: only 9.6% of trips are made by large buses, and only 1.9% by trolleybuses, whereas minibuses account for 58.4% of trips (or 64% of all the public transport passengers) and 85% of all the kilometers traveled by public transport modes. Although minibuses and taxis offer convenient transport, with high frequencies and a variety of routes, they tend to congest public transport stops and contribute to emissions and poor air quality in the city. Furthermore, safety and quality conditions in the provision of minibus services are difficult – if not impossible – to enforce. A third source of concern is the relatively low share of non-motorized transport modes in the city: in 2011, only 7.5% of the trips surveyed were made walking, and 0.5% with a bicycle. Poor safety conditions and road design focusing on motorized transport contribute to the negative environment for walking and cycling. Finally, it is estimated that around 87% of GHG emissions in the city of Dushanbe derives from vehicles and more than 200,000 tons of CO2 is released into the atmosphere in the city of Dushanbe affecting the environment and the health of the citizens. The harmful impact toward health and environment affects not only the vehicle drivers. The most affected group is children as the harmful substances are mostly concentrated just above the ground at the level of respiratory tracts of children.
This project aims at promoting sustainable mobility practices in Dushanbe, as a means for achieving significant reductions in GHG emissions from the transport sector. The strategy is based on the improvement of the quality of public transport services and the promotion of soft mobility modes (walking and cycling). To achieve this, a combination of technical measures, regulatory reforms, capacity building and awareness raising activities among decision makers and the public at large are envisaged. The project strategy largely relies upon the involvement of local and national stakeholders. The project should be instrumental for mainstreaming environmental issues within transport policies in Tajikistan (in connection with the 2010 National Transport Master Plan), for meeting the country’s commitments with UNFCCC and for replicating results in other cities in Tajikistan and in Central Asia. The project is expected to launch mobility policies that will provide citizens in Dushanbe with affordable, reliable and efficient public transport services, better air quality and reduced GHG emissions.
UNDP, with financing from the GEF, is supporting the Government of Tajikistan with promoting sustainable mobility practices in Dushanbe, as a means for achieving significant reductions in GHG emissions in the transport sector. This involves improvement of the quality of public transport services and the promotion of soft mobility modes (walking and cycling). In the past year, dedicated bus lanes for public transport have been put in place covering 15km and the Government adopted fuel efficiency standards.
In May 2014, a city-wide awareness campaign under the slogan “I’m for safety on the roads, and what about you?” was launched by the project, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office, the State Automobile Inspectorate of Dushanbe, the Public Organization ‘The 21st Century Youth’, and UN Volunteers. The purpose of this event was to promote: the prevention of road traffic accidents, efficient operation of public transport, and improving driver and pedestrian traffic literacy. Therefore, this project not only aims to reduce the amount of pollutants and greenhouse gases emissions into the atmosphere, but also improves the availability and the quality of public transport services to all residents of Dushanbe.
Recently, the implementation of the Single Dispatch Control Center (SDCC) has begun. The GPS-based SDCC will control public transport routes along the central Rudaki Avenue in Dushanbe with 25 information boards installed at the bus stops and 60 GPS trackers installed on buses/trolleys. The project is also supporting the installation of the Automated Parking Enforcement System. This, together with the SDCC, are highly innovative and technically complex, but are essential to sustainable transport solutions for the city. It is worth noting that due to short timeframe of the project, it would not be possible to fully monitor and support both systems in the first years of operation, which definitely poses a risk for their sustainability. Additional challenges that could be resolved if more time were available include: include low technical capacity of the stakeholders and lack of commitment from the city municipality to reorganize the transport authority in order to provide an efficient basis for SDCC operation.
New technical regulations regarding fuel standards were adopted by the government, as well as a number of other critical provisions regarding mandatory design of public transport/bicycles lanes. However, new parking and fare policies (and related regulatory changes) are still under discussion with local stakeholders.
In many aspects, the project has gone beyond its targets or initial plans, in particular with regard to facilitation of large-scale investment via partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), as well as mobilization of private sector and citizens’ initiatives in support of sustainable transport in Dushanbe.
The project supported capacity building interventions by training transport sector officials on best practice designs for bus lanes, traffic management issues, fare collection, parking, among other issues, and is heralded as being a leading sustainable transport project in Central Asia. As such, much of the already implemented and proposed work will provide important lessons that can be extended, first and foremost, to areas where sustainable transport measures are required both within and outside Tajikistan.
Project’s facebook page
ongoing (closing at end-2015
Link to project video
Tajikistan, Mitigation, Passenger, Technology, Policy, Partnerships, Awareness
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Dushanbe city Administration (Khukumat) of the Republic of Tajikistan Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Mr. Suhrob Raupov Project Manager firstname.lastname@example.org, Ms. Marina Olshanskaya UNDP Technical Adviser email@example.com
A Dushanbe city citizen, Mr. Ismoil Rajabov, is very excited about the capital’s innovations. “Due to my workload I have to travel throughout the city a lot and I mostly use public transportation modes. Installed information boards at the bus stops help me effectively manage my time” explained Mr. Rajabov.