With Sub-Saharan Africa’s first renewable energy-powered light-rail train network, Addis Ababa is leading a modal shift for urban public transport on the continent.

The Challenge

Transportation accounts for 47% of the CO₂ emissions in Addis Ababa. The renewable energy-powered LRT reduces greenhouse gas emissions while bringing clean and efficient transportation to city dwellers.

The Solution

In September 2015, Addis Ababa inaugurated Sub-Saharan Africa’s first lightrail train (LRT). The LRT, an inner-city tram, can carry up to 60,000 people per hour, and after 10 months of operation, ridership has reached 15,000 passengers per hour in each direction. The train is powered by Ethiopia’s power grid, which is fueled almost exclusively by hydropower, geothermal, and wind power. Emissions reductions from the project are estimated to grow from 55,000 tons of CO₂ per year in 2015 to 170,000 tons CO₂ per year by 2030. The more efficient mode of transportation is expected to stimulate the local economy and attract new investments and will become a blueprint for local expansion and regional replication. The project is the fruit of an international multi-stakeholder collaboration that involved different levels of the Ethiopian government, foreign banks, and the Chinese government. It is also an important tenet of the Addis Ababa Climate Resilient Growth Economy plan to drive the transition to a green economy.

Environmental Benefits – The LRT is less land-intensive than conventional roads, which will decrease the burden on ecosystems.

Social Benefits – The city’s average transport speed is improved from 10 km/hour by road traffic to 22 km/hour with LRT, which significantly reduces the commuting time of workers in the city.

Economic Benefits – More than 1,100 jobs were created to operate the LRT after its opening. The Ethiopian government also expects to spend less money on purchasing foreign oil.

Health Benefits – The city expects a decrease in particulate emission that will reduce the incidence of heart and respiratory diseases.

About Cities100

In its second year, Cities100 – presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation. For the first time, this year’s publication features solutions that address the nexus of climate change and social equity.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2016 publication online here and read more about how may­ors will de­liver the aims of the Paris Agree­ment in a fore­ward by Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair and Mayor of Paris, here.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Health
  • Social
Key Impact
1.8 million tons of CO₂ expected to be reduced by 2030 through the LRT
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