"Unlocking life-changing opportunities"
Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Asian Development Bank , Agence Française de Développement
Residents in rapidly urbanizing cities across the world struggle with high travel burdens and exclusion from opportunities from polluting and unregulated mobility systems. In Peshawar, women, children, the elderly, disabled and transgender people in particular faced safety and harassment issues using the city’s existing transport options.
The Big Idea
Restructure the local bus industry to build a state-of-the-art rapid transit bus system that is safe, inclusive and revolutionizes connectivity across the city.
Life Changing Impact
Provides a safe mobility solution for vulnerable groups, while almost halving passenger travel times to education, jobs and care facilities for all residents, even operating under difficult conditions.
Initiated major institutional reforms in Peshawar and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while sparking citywide expansion plans and inspiring similar systems in other cities in Pakistan.
Peshawar, a rapidly growing city in northwest Pakistan plagued by a chaotic, inaccessible transport system, adapted international practices to deliver a world-class mobility solution through restructuring the local bus industry, scrapping old vehicles and building a state-of-the-art bus rapid transit system. Implemented by TransPeshawar, the city’s transit company, Zu Peshawar has helped unlocked life-changing opportunities for previously marginalized groups, particularly women, children and transgender people.
In a city of 2 million people that has faced violent terrorist attacks, Peshawar’s aging transport infrastructure and unregulated vehicles were creating congestion and pollution, and not providing reliable, safe and affordable access to jobs, education, care and other amenities for residents.
In 2013, a pre-feasibility study to improve Peshawar’s urban transport system was initiated by the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which unlocked a $1.5-million feasibility study grant by the Asian Development Bank.
Designed with international best practices in mind, a new bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Zu Peshawar, was launched in August 2020 on an accelerated timeline to aid with COVID-19 response. It transported over 50 million passengers in its first year of operation.
In February 2022, the BRT system won an Honorable Mention Award in ITDP’s Sustainable Transport Award and was awarded the BRT Gold Standard ranking by the Technical Committee of the BRT Standard.
The implementation of the system has significantly increased female ridership on public transport, opening up new education and professional opportunities for women through access to safe, quality mobility.
Peshawar’s experience shows that international practices can be successfully localized to deliver a world-class mobility solution and that unlocking opportunities for previously marginalized groups creates a city that is safer and healthier for everyone.
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By The Numbers
70% of the city area covered
10x increase in female ridership
1,330,000 benefited from direct access to public transport
265,000 daily peak passengers, 80-95% user satisfaction
27km bus corridors, 30 stations, 59km of connecting routes, 220 diesel-electric buses, 360 bikeshare bicycles, 120km of footpaths, ITDP Gold Standard
81% of city educational institutes now accessible by public transport, 80% of hospitals beds, 75% of commercial hubs, 75% of industrial areas