Take the green route for shorter journeys

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Kryvyi Rih is the longest city in Europe, at 126 kilometers. This fun fact can be less fun when it comes to driving through town, which can take hours. Ukraine’s eighth most populous city would benefit enormously from improvements to its public transport system.

The country’s largest industrial hub relies heavily on its tram network, a key mode of public transport for the city, which has a population of nearly 630,000. However, streetcars are often over 30 years old, well beyond their standard lifespan. In addition, inefficient traffic management practices and an outdated fleet of buses, minibuses and trolleybuses hamper the city’s growth potential.


Tram station on the outskirts of Kryvyi Rih. Photo: Courtesy of Kryvyi Rih City Council

It’s about to change.

IFC’s € 13.7 million loan to Kryvyi Rih will help modernize its public transport system, improving people’s access to high-quality, energy-efficient transport services. It will allow the city to purchase 15 modern electric trams, reducing the average journey time by up to eight percent. While the new fleet will already save huge amounts of electricity through regenerated energy, the municipality is developing an energy-efficient master plan to rejuvenate an outdated transit system.

“We are actively working to modernize the tram infrastructure system, as trams are the key mode of transport for over 600,000 residents. Our partnership with IFC will help us mobilize financial resources as well as implement best practices in adopting modern transportation technologies, improving safety and comfort, ”said the city’s acting mayor. by Kryvyi Rih, Yuri Vilkul.

With the country’s transport emissions increasing at an alarming rate – accounting for 12% of its total carbon dioxide emissions – greener urban transport alternatives can make Ukrainian cities more resilient. The 13-year loan, which finances streetcars that will more efficiently serve 300,000 passengers at Kryvyi Rih, will also help rehabilitate an approximately one-kilometer section of the tram line, a critical east-west transport artery in the city center. city. In addition, the city’s new trams will be fitted with modern equipment, improving access for passengers with low mobility.

“We are seeing tangible changes in Ukrainian cities thanks to IFC’s engagement,” says Jason Pellmar, IFC’s regional director for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. He adds, “At Kryvyi Rih, we aim to help the city improve its capacity and mobilize investments for robust public transport infrastructure. We hope that the project will encourage many more Ukrainian cities to switch to greener technologies.

Previously, IFC had forged strategic partnerships with the cities of Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia under the Cities Initiative – implemented in partnership with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO and the Austrian Ministry of Finance – which helped municipal authorities to adopt greener urban transport alternatives and improve the quality of municipal services in Ukraine.

Congestion challenge

Although almost 70 percent of the Ukrainian population live in urban areas, public transport, waste management and other municipal services have suffered from years of underinvestment. In Zaporizhzhia, one of the country’s largest industrial centers and most densely populated cities, an outdated electric transport network and air pollution remain major problems. Smaller towns like Mariupol are also reviewing programs to modernize their fleets and make transport more accessible to people on limited incomes, while tackling new financial challenges triggered by the pandemic.

To achieve key changes in all cities, Ukraine needs infrastructure investment of at least $ 30 billion by 2030.

Clearly, public sector resources alone cannot bear this burden, which is why private sector engagement is essential to stimulate investment. The quality and access to urban infrastructure services are among the main challenges hampering the economic development of cities.

That is why, for the past two years, IFC has worked in Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia, two cities that are renewing and expanding their public transport infrastructure for a more sustainable and reliable public transport system. IFC has helped cities improve their financial and operational sustainability, opening up opportunities for private sector investment.

IFC’s € 12.8 million loan to Mariupol helped the city purchase 64 environmentally friendly public buses, doubling its fleet to 53 buses, increasing passenger capacity and making public transport more affordable for the more than 430,000 inhabitants of the city. Compliant with European standards, the new buses are expected to increase the number of passenger trips from nearly 9 million in 2018 to more than 26 million by 2022.

In Zaporizhzhia, IFC’s € 35 million loan is helping the city introduce battery-powered electric trolleybuses and buses. IFC is helping the city to develop a smart city platform alongside the funding, which will also support the rehabilitation of streets and the purchase of de-icing and other equipment, thereby reducing traffic delays and creating jobs.

Beyond investments, IFC helped Zaporizhzhia and Kryvyi Rih achieve their first international credit ratings, improving their access to long-term capital and reducing their dependence on central government funding.

Road ahead

As forest fires, droughts, heat waves and more frequent floods make Ukraine increasingly vulnerable to climate change, IFC’s support is all the more essential given the global push to accelerate a green recovery. . This is also relevant with the Ukrainian government’s updated climate commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 65% ​​from 1990 levels by 2030.

Other Ukrainian cities have considerable leeway to improve their urban infrastructure. For example, strong public transportation, water supply, and waste disposal systems can help the capital city of Kiev become more efficient. A range of green solutions can help Lviv, Ukraine’s cultural center, strengthen its electric public transport network to tackle congestion and air pollution issues. In this context, IFC, through its Cities initiative, is committed to working with Ukrainian cities to help them achieve their goals.

Globally, IFC’s Cities initiative has invested more than $ 2.3 billion to date in climate-smart city projects. In Ukraine, IFC hopes to serve as a bridge between government and municipalities to help the nation meet its ambitious climate goals through strong climate-smart infrastructure in fast-growing Ukrainian urban centers such as Kryvyi Rih, Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia.

Published in December 2021


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