Istanbul Municipality launches sustainable transportation program

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has launched Turkey’s first sustainable transportation plan aimed at reducing heavy traffic, air pollution, and automobile dependency in the megacity.

Duvar English

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality on Dec. 12 introduced the “Istanbul Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan,” aimed to combat the city’s infamous traffic congestion and air pollution.   

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, European Union Ambassador to Turkey Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, and a Turkish Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry representative were present at the launch meeting. 

The Istanbul Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan defines itself as “an inclusive and innovative transport system, focusing on people and the environment, providing the right mix of safe, integrated, accessible and affordable, mobility alternatives, compatible with the unique geography and historical values of Istanbul for a sustainable and resilient future.” 

The Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan has been implemented in many cities in Europe since 2013. It is however a first in Turkey, as Mayor İmamoğlu stated during the meeting.  

The study for the plan began two years ago as part of the "Green Solution" plan of the Municipality, which aims to transform Istanbul into a carbon-neutral city by 2050.

The plan introduced measures such as “low emission zones,” improvements in ferry usage, and bus-priority lanes in Istanbul to reduce traffic in the city by 10% by 2030.

The “low emission zones” are part of the transition to the low carbon goal outlined in the plan. In these zones, noncompliant vehicles will be subject to a certain charge in line with the “polluter pays” principle, or not be allowed within the area at all to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Istanbul.   

Another measure, “congestion pricing” will be applied to private vehicles in certain areas. The first trial of the application is planned to be implemented initially in a six-kilometer square area in Istanbul’s historic peninsula, the Eminönü district. The second area of pilot application is on the Asian side, the touristic Moda neighborhood in Kadıköy. 

from the

The plan also introduced measures to discourage private vehicle usage in the city. The urban parking plan will charge cars from other neighborhoods more than locals. 

The website of the sustainable transportation plan is available here