The challenge facing municipal leaders in Juárez City was how to handle the strain placed on local transportation and road capacity by an ever-increasing city population. The transport system had long been insufficient, with high levels of congestion and low enforcement of traffic regulations. As the infrastructure dealing with transportation continued to deteriorate, municipal leaders were unable to handle the maintenance and rehabilitation of the overburdened system.
The implementation of the System of Integrated Urban Transportation of Juárez City constitutes one of the main strategies defined in the Plan for Urban Development (PDU) for this locality, established in 1995, updated in 2002 by the Municipal Institute of Investigation and Planning, and approved by the City Council of Juárez City. This transportation initiative takes a holistic look at the issue of infrastructure creation, examining not only urban vehicular traffic patterns, but also non-motorized and pedestrian mobility. The goals of the System are to reduce the costs, increase the efficiency, and lessen the environmental impact of the city’s public transportation.
The System organizes questions of mobility into three very general categories: 1) a coordinated public transport system between Juárez and other urban centers, and between major areas within the municipality; 2) a primary network of high capacity collective transport, including a tram system and new facilities for pedestrian and cycling traffic; and 3) a subsystem of multiple local routes for public transportation.
Several aspects of the System have been extremely successful. In terms of fundraising, Juárez City has received financial aid for its transportation revamping from the three levels of the Mexican government (municipal, state, and federal), as well as from international institutions including the World Bank through its Global Environmental Foundation and the neighboring El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization. In terms of improvements to quality of life in the municipality, local development agencies including the Municipal Institute for Research in Juárez City (IMIP) have been able to extend their reach into neighborhoods previously inaccessible to their services due to lack of regular local transportation service or well-maintained roads. Also, by integrating service provision across multiple levels of government, program innovators have been able to develop projects with high levels of local and regional impact.