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Urban Transport System Redesign for Talca, Chile

October 11, 2013

Following the earthquake that hit Chile in 2010, the World Bank assisted the Government of Chile through a Spanish Trust Fund for Latin America and Caribbean (SFLAC) to redesign the transport system in the historical city of Talca.


The 2010 earthquake destroyed the majority of the constructions in the Maule region, including the historical regional capital of Talca (about 200,000 inhabitants). In Talca, schools, commercial, administrative and other buildings had to be reconstructed, which meant that there was also a need and an opportunity to redesign the urban transport system to serve the new city better. The Government chose Talca as a model city for reconstruction with the objective to learn from the experience and to extend useful concepts and features to other cities in the region.


The World Bank’s supported the Government through a grant, which included the following activities:

  • review of international experiences, 
  • diagnostic of Talca's transport system before the earthquake, 
  • growth forecasts and the definition of future scenarios for the city, 
  • the preparation of recommendations on urban transport system improvements at the conceptual-strategic level and the organization of the public transport system, 
  • a detailed analysis of different public transport organization alternatives, 
  • the preparation of recommendations on urban transport infrastructure, including bus stops, bikeways, pedestrian infrastructure, intelligent traffic lights and more, and 
  • the preparation of recommendations for similar developments in other Chilean cities. 


Through this grant, Talca established the foundation for a better urban transport system. The main results based on the study recommendations are the following:

  • Construction or rehabilitation of 82 bus stops, which were also provide with information on bus services (2012); 
  •  Preparation of a bicycle master plan for a network of 45 km (the preparation of the final engineering designs to construct 15 km of bikeways is ongoing);
  •  Three ongoing studies pre-feasibility studies to implement segregated bus corridors or lanes to improve access on the road interconnection East-West, City Center-South and City Center-North in Talca are ongoing; 
  •  A more detailed study to optimize the bus network and introduce service changes (2012); and
  •  The definition of an exclusion boundary (perimetro de exclusión), which consists of the central area of Talca, where only public transport vehicles complying with certain requirements may enter (this exclusion boundary is expected to be introduced in 2013). 


The Government of Chile is expected to implement additional physical measures to improve Talca’s urban transport system.


The primary target groups include some thousands users of public transportation, who typically are people with lower incomes;  about 8,000 cyclist, and public transport authorities and technician in Talca and at the national level, who gained experience and expertise to redesign urban transport systems.

cyclist benefitted by the new system