Founded in 1985, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) has become a leading organization in the promotion of environmentally sustainable and equitable transportation policies and projects worldwide. ITDP was created by sustainable transport advocates in the U.S. to counteract the export to developing countries of costly and environmentally damaging models of dependence on the private automobile. In its first ten years, ITDP successfully advocated for the redirection of lending activity by the World Bank and other multi-lateral institutions away from an exclusive focus on road projects and toward more multi-modal transport solutions.
In more recent years, we have focused on working with municipalities and non-governmental organizations in developing countries to implement projects that demonstrate how transport emissions and accidents can be reduced, or how the basic mobility of the poor can be improved. ITDP’s primary programs include the development of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems, promoting the use of Transit-oriented Development (TOD), and planning facilities for bicycles and pedestrians. Further programs include traffic demand management (TDM), parking regulations, and the revitalization of city centers. Below is a brief history of ITDP and how our work has developed.
2019 ITDP started work in Los Angeles, California where climate change and air quality are moving front and center in the discussion and perspectives of the constituents. ITDP Brazil launched MobiliCAMPUS, an online educational program for Brazilian city leaders and public servants, it has been hugely successful with long waiting lists and large class sizes. Fortaleza, Brazil hosted MOBILIZE which helped improve sustainable mobility in that city and today traffic related deaths have decreased every year. The Addis Ababa government, with the support of ITDP, announced a bold strategy as a part of Ethiopia’s fight against climate change. Mexico has implemented multiple walk and bike to school days, to improvement pedestrian zones and infrastructure. Transjakarta, Jakarta’s BRT continues to grow and has ridership of over 600,000 daily.
Transjakarta, Jakarta’s BRT, breaks a ridership record to over half a million riders a day. Everett, Massachusetts pilots a BRT with ITDP’s support and guidance. ITDP published an Access for All: Access and Gender paper focusing on women in mobility, a major focus in Brazil where ITDP has emerged as a leading voice among those advocating for policies and projects that explicitly link and address gender, mobility, income, and race. In Tianjin, China ITDP began a transformative, four-year Global Environment Facility and World Bank funded project on transit-oriented development. In Brazil, ITDP added eight new indicators to its MobiliDADOS platform, an online tool with information about mobility in various Brazilian cities, continued to be an influential and important tool for decision makers and planners throughout Brazil. In Pune, India ITDP supported the rollout of 25 electric buses and supported the city in adopting a progressive parking policy, one of the first in India.
ITDP opened a new office in Nairobi, Kenya, to support projects throughout Africa. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, opens East Africa’s first BRT, and becomes the first African city to win the Sustainable Transport Award. The Brazilian ministry of cities adopts ITDP’s recommended “Urban Mobility Indicators” to better monitor urban mobility policies. The city of Nanning, China, opened a BRT system in partnership with ITDP and local partner GMEDRI. An ITDP-led study tour to Mexico City inspired the city of Guangzhou, China, to commit 900 Million USD for cycling, walking and public space projects. As a result of years of advocacy by ITDP and partners, Mexico City passed a groundbreaking parking reform policy, abolishing parking minimums and establishing maximums. The policy, once enacted, is estimated to reduce up to 90 metric tons of CO2 per year, and includes a mandate to support affordable housing and public transport.
The Yichang, China, BRT wins the Asian Development Bank ADB best performing project and the Sustainable Transport Award. In India, Chennai’s NMT policy and pedestrian projects earn the International Sustainia Award. Several cities join India’s Smart Cities Initiative to invest in sustainable infrastructure for rapid growing regions. ITDP opens a new field office in Nairobi, continuing ITDP’s decades of work in Africa.
ITDP celebrates our 30th year advancing sustainable transport and livable cities. ITDP is instrumental in bringing car-free days to Chennai and Coimbatore, India, and Vision Zero to Mexico City. New ITDP-led BRT systems in Yichang, China, and Pune, India, receive regional and international acclaim. In two critical global agreements- the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Conference- advocacy by ITDP and our partners helps cities, transportation, and people achieve unprecedented recognition.
In Brazil, Rio de Janeiro’s Transcarioca is awarded a BRT Standard Gold rating. Two additional gold-standard corridors open in Belo Horizonte. ITDP releases an updated version of the BRT Standard in 2014, refining and improving details on evaluating best practices. Chennai adopts India’s first NMT policy, guaranteeing that 60% of the city’s budget be dedicated to walking and cycling initiatives. Rio de Janeiro saw the delivery of 380 km of cycling and walking infrastructure, and Belo Horizonte made significant progress toward its 100km goal. São Paulo also gained an impressive 400km of pedestrian and cycling. Lanzhou, China launched a new bike share, complementing the city’s recently opened BRT corridor.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, expands its BRT along the world’s widest avenue, 9 de Julio. In Mexico City, Line 5 of the Metrobús BRT is the first corridor in the country to feature a complete street model, integrating green space, pedestrian and cycling-friendly measures.
ITDP releases updated BRT and TOD Standards, as well as a Bike-Share Planning Guide. The BRT and TOD Standards define and refine best practices, and provide metrics for evaluation of specific projects. The Bike-Share Planning Guide tracks the growing bike-share trend and evaluates key aspects for creating successful systems moving forward.
ITDP releases the BRT Standard, the first tool of its kind to clearly define the essential features of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Rio de Janeiro opens its first true BRT corridor, TransOeste, which scores a gold ranking on the BRT Standard. The Lanzhou BRT opens in December, and is Asia’s second-highest capacity BRT system, after Guangzhou. Mexico City’s Metrobus opens its forth corridor this year, notable for its path through the historic center.
At the Rio+ 20 Summit, ITDP and our partners are instrumental in winning a commitment from the eight largest multilateral development banks to direct $175 billion to sustainable transport over the next decade.
ITDP launches Our Cities Ourselves, a visioning, exhibition, and design program to help cities plan more sustainable transportation. 2011 sees OCO programs in cities around the world, including New York City, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Ahmedabad, Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro and Guangzhou.
Buenos Aires opens its first line of BRT in May, with 12 km of dedicated lanes. The city also constructs more than 40 kilometers of bike lanes and opens a bike share system. In India, the Ahmedabad BRT grows to 50 kilometers with over 130,000 passengers per day.
In our 25th year, ITDP realizes a major goal in establishing a world class Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in each region where we work. On February 21, Guangzhou, China opens a 22.5km (14-mile) BRT. It is the first BRT to directly connect to a metro system, the first BRT system in China to include bike parking, and has the world’s highest number of passengers, highest bus frequency, and the longest BRT stations. ITDP serves as the lead technical advisor to the city.
In non-motorized transit, Mexico City’s Ecobici bike-share system opens as the largest in Latin America, initially attracting 10,000 users and more than 2,000 trips daily.
Ahmedabad’s Janmarg (‘The People’s Way’ in Hindi), BRT system opens. ITDP serves as a lead technical advisor to the city in developing the system. It is the first BRT integrated system in India. Rea Vaya BRT opens in Johannesburg, South Africa after a two-year planning and construction process. This innovative BRT connects the township of Soweto to the central business district, becoming the first real public transit system implemented since the end of apartheid. ITDP, together with local authorities, begins working with taxi operators to help transform the industry and launch BRT operating companies.
Amidst global financial concerns, investment in public transportation holds steady. Cities around the world commit to building BRT, bike lanes, and affordable, efficient housing. Plans to add bike lanes on major roads are advanced in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Harbin, Delhi, São Paulo, and Bogotá.
Ridership on TransJakarta increases to over 120,00 riders per day, and approximately 97 kilometers (60.3 miles).
ITDP releases the BRT Guide, providing detailed support and guidance on the creation of high quality BRTs. The guide is translated into Portuguese, Spanish, and Chinese for international use. TransJakarta opens five new lines, dramatically increasing access and ridership through the city. Ahmedabad begins construction on the eagerly anticipated Janmarg BRT system.
With a renewed focus on city center revitalization, ITDP begins work with Sao Paulo and Mexico city to protect their Historic Centers through pedestrianization and traffic control.
ITDP co-sponsors a conference with the National Urban Development Ministry in India, which leads to a new urban transport policy and qualifies BRT projects for government funding. This results in the approval of new BRT systems in Pune, Indore, Jaipur, and Bhopal.
Bogotá, Colombia win the first ever Sustainable Transport Award, recognizing leadership and vision in sustainable transportation and urban livability. Bogotá continues to serve as a model for BRT implementation, bike path integration, and the establishment of public space. As TransJakarta expands, it more than triples its ridership, from an average of 30,000 passengers in its first year to nearly 100,000 by the end of 2005. ITDP research examines the link between transportation and healthcare in rural Africa.
In January, Jakarta, Indonesia unveils Asia’s first Bogotá-inspired BRT system built outside of Latin America, TransJakarta. ITDP is a key technical advisor on the project. Implemented in an unprecedented 9 months, TransJakarta has new, enclosed stations, pre-paid ticketing, high levels of security, and comfortable, air-conditioned buses, revolutionizing perceptions of bus-based travel in the country.
As ITDP continues to grow and diversify program areas, progress is achieved on multiple issues around the world. BRT work begins in Cape Town; a pilot Traffic Demand Management project is implemented in Sao Paulo; Yogyakarta, Indonesia pedestrianizes the important commercial and cultural street, Malioboro Avenue; thousands of low-cost ‘California Bikes’ are brought to Senegal, Ghana, and South Africa; and brownfield cleanup and redevelopment continues in the Czech cities of Plzen, Sternberk, Olomouc and Brno.
ITDP grows presence in Asia, working with the cities of Guangzhou, China, and Jakarta, Indonesia, to develop BRT systems and funded in part by a United States Agency for International Development grant.
ITDP launches the California Bike Coalition, an initiative to bring a high quality and affordable bicycles to rural households in Africa. In global policy, ITDP has achieved significant progress in our goal to shift the World Bank’s Urban Transport Policy toward giving priority to non-motorized transport and improving public transit.
TransMilenio continues to expand and improve, moving approximately 550,000 people per day in its first year, making it the world’s busiest BRT system. Building off TransMilenio’s success, ITDP sponsors and organizes workshops and presentations on Bus Rapid Transit in over 15 cities, winning support for BRT projects in many and laying the groundwork for future projects. ITDP begins work replicating the success of the cycle rickshaw project in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and implementing pedestrian projects in Guangzhou, China.
Bogotá, Colombia opens the progressive TransMilenio BRT system, created and developed by then-Mayor Enrique Peñalosa and influenced by ITDP papers. It inspires the spread of BRT globally and catalyzes ITDP’s work in promoting and providing technical support for BRT projects. ITDP’s Indian Cycle Rickshaw Modernization Project successfully completes its mission, with more than 8000 modern cycle rickshaws improving lives across India. ITDP provides technical support to several institutions in Central and Eastern Europe to guide growth toward denser, mixed land use developments.
In 1998, ITDP coordinates the second General Assembly in Manila for Sustainable Transport Action Network for Asia and Pacific (SUSTRAN), a network of organizations dedicated to transport policies and investments that foster social equity, ecological sustainability, health, and safety. This conference initiates sustainable transport campaigns in Jakarta, Manila, New Delhi, Penang, and Calcutta.
ITDP launches Afribike in South Africa, which helps distribute hundreds of bikes to poor communities and healthcare workers.
ITDP leads efforts to refocus guidelines of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) transport program, opening up millions of dollars for BRT and non-motorized transport projects around the world.
ITDP chairs a transport caucus at UN Habitat II in Istanbul, Turkey in June. Habitat II focus on the dual objectives of adequate shelter for all and sustainable cities. UN Habitat II also marks the first time official dialogue sessions with NGOs, including ITDP, are incorporated into the conference. ITDP Executive Director Walter Hook is the primary dissident to World Bank paper, ‘Sustainable Transport’ which focuses on privatization as solution to poor quality transit and ignores motorization as an issue.
ITDP’s review of a European Investment Bank (EIB) highway in Hungary helps initiate efforts to make EIB more accountable.
The Transportation Alternatives program, which works on multilateral policy reform, is launched. ITDP and allies, including the EPA, Friends of the Earth, and IIEC, convince the US Treasury to call on the World Bank to draft a formal transport policy consistent with environmental and poverty alleviation goals.
ITDP establishes the ‘Laboratwa Esperance’ at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Deschapelles, Haiti. The facility trains local people to assemble, repair, design, and fabricate non-motorized vehicles for use in the hospital and community organizations in the area.
ITDP writes a seminal paper, Non-Motorized Vehicles in Asian Cities, for the World Bank’s Asia Transport Sector Study, identifying strategies to protect and strengthen cycling in modernizing cities.
ITDP helps establish the Campaign for New Transportation Priorities (CNTP). CNTP is a coalition of 37 environmental, labor and citizen groups from across the United States working toward efficiency and environmental priorities in domestic transportation policies. ITDP & CNTP draft four transportation policy papers that play a key role in the creation of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), a bill that passes in 1991.
ITDP reaches its goal of sending over 10,000 bicycles to Nicaragua, which are used to finance a new local bicycle assembly industry there. ITDP wins budget language in the U.S. Congress that helps spur U.S. bicycle programs, including convincing the Peace Corps to put its volunteers on bicycles rather than motorcycles.
ITDP releases a seminal paper by Michael Replogle entitled ‘Sustainable Transport’, which laid out the fundamental principles of ITDP.
ITDP organizes a new task force on non-motorized transportation in developing countries under the sponsorship of the Transportation Research Board of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Organizing annual meetings dedicated to promoting innovation and progress in transportation through research, this new task force soon grows into a full committee with a unique emphasis on integrating the economic, social, and environmental issues of the developing world into transportation planning.
The Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) is founded as an umbrella organization for several worldwide peace and development initiatives and advocacy efforts. ITDP’s largest campaign is Bikes Not Bombs, a movement begun in 1984 to send bicycles to health and education efforts in Nicaragua. The first shipment of several hundred bikes arrives in Nicaragua during the war with the Contra guerillas.