Image credits: SEMOVI
News Article

Mexico City Determined to Transform Public Transportation

By Alejandro Enríquez | Tue, 04/28/2020 - 16:02

Mexico City started in 2019 a venture to integrate the complex public transportation system into an integrated solution that empowers users and shifts mobility toward the user rather than the vehicle. The integration initiative was launched in early 2020 and while several stages are yet to be completed, it is one of the city's most ambitious policies.

Mexico City's Governor Claudia Sheinbaum took office in December 2019 after a landslide election that saw MORENA become the official party in the country. One of Sheinbaum's proposals was to transform public transportation in the 20-million-people metropolitan area. An evaluation of the past administration mobility strategy was found to be wanting as it failed to take into account the local Mobility Law, while just fulfilling 46 percent of its self-set performance indicators.

The public office in charge of addressing mobility strategies in the city is Mexico City's Ministry of Mobility (SEMOVI), led by MIT postgraduate and Princeton PhD candidate, Andrés Lajous. Expectations were high regarding the approach Sheinbaum's administration, through Lajous, would take regarding a public transportation system that makes 8.62 million daily trips in Mexico City and 15.5 million in the metropolitan area, which includes neighboring municipalities in the State of Mexico.

The public transportation system operated by the city's government is composed not only by the popular Metro system but also Metrobús, Trolebús, light trains and RTP, a passenger's transportation network composed by common passenger busses. According to SEMOVI, the system can be currently described as "fragmented, inefficient and unequal."

In early 2019, SEMOVI presented the mobility strategy for Mexico City. To integrate, to improve and to protect are the pillars behind a more integrated, efficient and secure transportation system. "Mexico City's Mobility Strategy has the primary objective to set the people at the center of urban mobility policies," says the SEMOVI 2019 Annual Report.

The first step was to integrate the image of the different public transportation options under a single visual identity. To get the image right, SEMOVI paid Lance Wyman US$20,450 to redesign it. Wyman was in charge of designing Mexico Olympic Games' logo in 1968 as well as the lines 1, 2 and 3 of the metro system. "The objective of the image is not linked to a government administration, but an image to public transportation; just like the Metro or Metrobús logo, we expect to last regardless of government changes," said Lajaus in statement.

The new image came along with an "integrated mobility map" where all the public transportation options are displayed to the user, including Mexibus and the Suburban Train, which are State of Mexico's transportation systems most frequently used in the metropolitan area. The name, the map and the available information were constructed through an active citizen participation system with focus groups included. The following step was to make the users aware not only of the different public transportation options, but to integrate payment systems into a single pre-paid card system that can be used in any of them. The implementation of the "integrated mobility card" started in early 2020.

Upcoming stages for the integrated mobility strategy include GPS in public buses, making crosswalks safer and a cableway to be developed in the short term.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Photo by:   SEMOVI
Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst