Rabat, September 30th, 2013 - A five-day public transport training program wrapped up on Friday in the Moroccan capital, Rabat. Sponsored by the World Bank and the French Agency for Development (AFD), in partnership with the Moroccan Ministry of Interior (General Directorate of Local Collectivities/Directorate of Training of the Technical and Administrative Staff), the International University of Rabat (UIR) and other specialized organizations, the program included a diverse range of the country’s leading practioners and decision-makers in transport management.
“The program was designed to help decision makers understand and take into consideration the complexities of urban transport,” said Thierry Desclos, World Bank Senior Urban Transport Specialist.
“A key objective of the training was to communicate the necessity of taking a long term view of urban development. “
Developing cities throughout the world face the growing challenge of urban transport and planning. Morocco has experienced a significant urban expansion over the past decades, putting immense pressure on public transport systems. It is has become one of the most pressing urban challenges, as public transport provides large segments of the population with access to jobs, education and welfare.
The one-week training is part of the Leaders in Urban Transport Planning (LUTP) program, a global World Bank initiative to provide decision-makers and practitioners with the keys to understanding and acting on the specific challenges of urban transport. The program offers a comprehensive package of tools for understanding the various facets of the challenge; including coordinating urban development with transport planning, managing transport systems, strategies for financing them, and ensuring they are inclusive by focusing on gender and people with limited mobility. The session in Rabat also featured a variety of successful experiences from around the world.
“A successful urban transport strategy requires the combination of several elements,” said Vickram Cuttaree, World Bank Regional Transport Coordinator for the Maghreb and leader of the team behind the Morocco Urban Transport Project. ”Beyond public transport, it involves land development, road safety, regulation and financing. The program is not designed to train specialists but to give decision- makers an overview of the issues to help them orient and streamline their approach.”
More than ten offerings of this program have already been organized around the world for more than 400 participants. They have proved to be a valuable platform for sharing experiences and building capacities among urban decision-makers.
Prior to the training, the World Bank and the Moroccan Ministry of Interior had collaborated with the Local Governments Administration to develop a national strategy for urban transport. The strategy is built on four pillars, namely developing the system’s institutional and legislative framework, enhancing public transports’ performance, improving traffic and roads management and ensuring a sustainable financial management of the sector. The training in Rabat integrated the recommendations of the new strategy, with particular focus on the policies that aim to improve the governance of the sector at the local level.
The World Bank has also implemented a number of programs in support of the urban transport sector in Morocco. In addition to technical assistance, the Urban Transport Sector Development Policy Loan contributed to improving governance of urban transport sector, enhancing efficiency and supply of urban transport services and infrastructure, and reinforcing environmental and social sustainability of urban transport. The project was completed in December 2011 and a follow-up project is currently under preparation.
“Moroccan cities are growing fast and face considerable difficulties in providing transport systems that are efficient and affordable, and give marginalized neighborhoods better access to centers of economic activity. Based on the National Strategy implemented with the support of the World Bank and other partners, training, capacity building, development of skills, benchmark on the best practices all over the world, and networking, could contribute to face such challenges“ said Najat Zarrouk, Governor, Director of Training for administrative and technical staff at the Ministry of Interior. “The program offered us comprehensive and practical training and tools that will inform our decisions and help us better integrate urban planning in the design of efficient transport systems.”