Bus Rapid Transit news from Europe and the MENA region

Newsletter 15, June 2022

Riyadh bus rapid transit, opening soon

Dear ,

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Electric Bus Rapid Transit is becoming the new normal in Europe

Zero-emission buses are becoming the norm in Europe. According to the Global EV Outlook 2022 (published by the International Energy Agency last month), the global electric bus stock in 2021 was 670,000. This represents about 4% of the worldwide fleet of buses (public transport buses plus coaches). According to the Outlook, the increase in electric bus sales in countries such as France, Germany, and Spain is due to the EU Clean Vehicles Directive for member states.

eBRT (electric Bus Rapid Transit) systems are also rising in Europe and beyond. Conventional BRT systems with diesel buses are converted to electric BRT systems in the case of fleet renewal and network extensions (as is the case in Nantes and Brisbane, as this video shows). In 2019, I devoted a LinkedIn article to the subject titled How to implement electric Bus Rapid Transit (eBRT)? with a description of four eBRT cases in the Netherlands and France.

Since 2020, (e)BRT has been deserving new attention in the Netherlands with the publication of a report by the Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis (KiM). Several regional governments have commissioned studies for specific BRT corridors as a spin-off. In one of them, Modasti Consulting (i.e. Arjen Jaarsma) was working for Movares as the Technical Manager, and the final report for this 64-kilometre-long bus corridor was published on the client's website on May 12th (to be downloaded here).

Zero-emission transport and decarbonisation in the MENA region

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is well-known for its oil-producing countries, and this has led to a relatively late start of decarbonisation initiatives in the region. MENA is, however, catching up with the rest of the world and the following five developments reflect this:

  • With the next annual UN climate conference (the COP27) taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh (Egypt) in November 2022, there has been growing attention to solar and wind energy projects.
  • Major national railway schemes are underway in several countries (with Egypt having a very holistic one, as this video shows).
  • Zero-emission public buses can be found in Marrakesh (with a modest eBRT system since 2017), Doha (741 electric buses at the end of this year), and in several cities with smaller fleets of e-buses (like Tunis, Alexandria, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai).
  • All over the region, urban rail systems are being upgraded, or new ones are being built (like the slightly delayed Riyadh Metro, which is starting to operate its first line soon, alongside a brand-new BRT system).
  • Bahrain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Türkiye and the UAE have announced net-zero CO2 goals for 2050-2060, contributing to the decarbonisation objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Transport decarbonisation, clean buses and eBRT

The global challenge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is reflected in one of Modasti’s four fields of expertise: the Decarbonization of Transport. This includes holistic concepts to decarbonise transport, electrification of railways (the phase-out of diesel trains), electrification of bus systems and the conversion of conventional Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems to electric BRT (eBRT).

In line with this service, I:

Regarding projects on this theme, I was involved in an assignment for the European Commission about eBRT in May-June 2022.

See you in Brussels!?

Modasti Consulting is a member of the UITP, the International Association of Public Transport. Last February, I partly attended their MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition in Dubai. Later in June, I will be fully present at the organisation’s General Assembly. That will be in Brussels on June 29th (members only) and will also comprise an inspirational session and the organisation’s annual reception (the first post-covid).

Maybe I’ll meet you there, and please drop me a message if you would like to give a reaction to this newsletter!

Arjen Jaarsma, Public Transport Expert at Modasti Consulting
Arjen Jaarsma Public Transport Expert
+31 6 235 88 096
Modasti Consulting

Modasti Consulting B.V.

Hofvijver 177, 5223 MC ’s-Hertogenbosch

the Netherlands