The EBRD's donor funds have enabled vital investment in a new rail system for Bursa.
The busy city of Bursa, in north-western Turkey, was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. Inhabitants are proud of their heritage, but Bursa is undoubtedly a city planned for the Middle Ages.
Bursa is also proud to be a green city. It was therefore a very logical step, though by no means easy, for the city to introduce a light railway system, one of the cleanest and fastest modes of urban transport available.
Engineer Eren Kural, Bursa’s Head of Rail, acknowledges that consulting the community, thinking through the 40-kilometre route, redesigning surrounding streets, changing the old pipes and cables along several routes, as well as extending the electronic ticket system (already in existence in Bursa long before it made its way to London) demanded lot of work and plenty of financing. This was obtained from commercial banks, a state bank and several multilateral banks, including the EBRD (a €70 million loan) and the European Investment Bank (€100 million).
Efficiency and reductions in CO2
Technical cooperation (TC) funded by the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund (worth €350,000) also contributed to the project’s success by assisting the municipality in developing a new Strategic Business Plan. In particular it will focus on implementing higher efficiencies and establishing a detailed investment strategy.
A TC study funded by the government of Austria also established a pioneering methodology for measuring how this investment has led to reductions in CO2 emissions. By 2014, this will be one of the first urban rail projects to gain carbon credits worldwide, enabling further integration with carbon credit instruments.