Korea, Guatemala partner on mass transit plan

Bnamericas Published: Friday, February 12, 2021
Korea, Guatemala partner on mass transit plan

Guatemala and Korea are set to join forces to produce a US$9mn report seeking solutions to the Central American country’s traffic congestion.

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica) and Guatemala’s public-private partnership promotion agency Anadie have agreed to collaborate on a “master plan for urban mobility in the metropolitan area of Guatemala City”. The plan is being promoted as a 20-year vision of the future of transport in the nation’s capital. 

Koica will provide technical cooperation in three stages over the next four years. Stage one will involve the initial formulation of the master plan. Stage two will entail a feasibility study on a new axis for the mass transport system and the final stage will involve a feasibility study for a new perimeter road around the metropolitan area of Guatemala City.

A Koica delegation met with Anadie in 2019 with the aim of providing technical assistance for mass transit projects in Guatemala City, preparing the ground for the creation of the master plan for urban mobility.

"It’s important to establish a comprehensive and long-term plan that allows projects to develop with the characteristics and needs of the inhabitants,” Koica’s representative in Guatemala, Seoung Hun Kang, said in a release.

On its website, Anadie promotes two mass transit projects: The mass public transport system for the east-west axis of the metropolitan area of Guatemala City and the road interconnection and urban passenger rail transportation for the north-south axis of Guatemala City. Also known as MetroRiel, this latter project involves an estimated investment of US$770mn.

Other infrastructure projects expected to be completed under the current government include the US$670mn Franja Transversal del Norte (FTN) beltway, which is aimed at taking heavy goods vehicles off the capital’s roads. 

A US$181mn cable car system called Aerometro is also being developed to link Guatemala City with satellite city Mixco. Aerometro is projected to transport 374,000 passengers a day when it comes into service. The Guatemalan City council awarded the project and 25-year concession to Cable Vía de Guatemala, Desarrollos Residenciales Victoria, Desarrollos Torino and Dopplemayr Guatemala In November 2020.

Guatemalan officials have repeatedly stated that building more roads in the capital is impossible and instead focus must turn to managing the current level of traffic and exploring mass transit options. 

In 2020, the amount of traffic on Guatemala’s roads increased by 8.4% to 4.11mn vehicles according to tax authority SAT. Some 50% of these are private vehicles, 42.2% are motorcycles and the remaining 7.8% are commercial vehicles.

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