A rendering of the future system. Image credit: Amman BRT.
Having already begun to reclaim its sidewalks for pedestrians, the city of Amman, Jordan is setting out to reclaim its streets from traffic chaos.
The Jordan Times reported this month that construction is underway on a new Bus Rapid Transit system in central Amman. Planners believe that the $170 million project, which is expected to be completed within a year, will radically change the way people get around the city. In the first stage of the project, three BRT line are slated to be built through the center of the city, with a combined length of 32 kilometers. High-capacity buses, carrying over 120 passengers, will run along these routes through segregated lanes, arriving every three minutes.
While Bus Rapid Transit has spread throughout the world in recent years, it has been slow to reach the Middle East. When completed, Amman will join Istanbul and Tehran, where successful BRT systems are already up and running, and several Israeli cities, where BRT projects are currently being developed.
Here's Amman BRT's animated PR video (in Arabic):
The Amman Municipality is also planning a major overhaul of the public spaces along the BRT corridors, which will receive new sidewalks, crosswalks, landscaping and parking areas. According to The Jordan Times, King Faisal Circle, a major plaza in the city center, is slated for rehabilitation as well, with a focus on preserving its historical character and developing the area for tourism.
Taken together, all of these moves represent a serious facelift for the ancient city and its 2.5 million or so inhabitants, and a move toward the fulfillment of the city's new master plan, whose slogan is: "A livable city is an organized city, with a soul."