ADB Greenlights Mongolia's Sustainable Urban Transport Program

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – A more sustainable and efficient bus rapid transit system funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help decongest the crowded streets of Ulaanbaatar, one of Asia’s fastest growing cities.

“Ulaanbaatar is a boom town bursting with people and vehicles. For the long-term livability of the city, its growth needs to be managed to ensure it’s sustainable, and to allow greater access to the wide array of economic opportunities and social services available to its residents,” said Raushan Mamatkulov, Senior Urban Development Specialist at ADB.

Using a multi-tranche loan of up to $217.4 million, the first phase of the program will upgrade 7.7 kilometers of road and expand a bridge for a bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor installation, and also upgrade 14-km of electric trolleybus infrastructure, including electric wires, feeder cables and substations. The second phase will build three additional bus depots and upgrade 11.1-km of trolleybus infrastructure. The final phase, which will be completed by 2020, includes the further expansion of the BRT system.

The project will also help Ulaanbaatar implement its city master plan, which includes investments in new infrastructure, combined with modern traffic management technologies, policy reforms, and institutional development. By 2020, public transport use is expected to increase substantially, with a significant reduction in bus travel time and traffic delay during peak hours compared to 2011.

Ulaanbaatar’s population doubled from about 600,000 in 1989 to more than 1.2 million in 2010. With internal migration expected to continue, the city’s population is forecast to reach 1.4 million in 2020 and 1.7 million in 2030. At the same time, the number of registered vehicles has increased 4.4 times over since 1998.

To accommodate increased population and number of vehicles, the city’s transport infrastructure needs to be expanded. The majority of buses are outdated and in poor condition. The increasing number of vehicles, unplanned urbanization, overburdened transport system, and poor traffic management are contributing to congestion, reduced traffic safety, and deteriorating air quality.

The multitranche loan is a combination of financing from ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund and the LIBOR-based ordinary capital resources. The Global Environment Facility will provide grant funding to help finance part of the program.