The number of vehicles in 12 densely populated México state municipalities that form part of the greater Mexico City metropolitan area has increased on average by 600% since the year 2000, statistics show.
The surge in numbers far outpaces population growth, according to census results, which show that the number of people living in the same 12 municipalities increased from 7.23 million in 2000 to 8.37 million in 2015, a much more modest increase of 15.5%.
The municipalities where the 600% increase occurred are, in order of population, Ecatepec, Nezahualcóyotl, Naucalpan, Chimalhuacán, Tlalnepantla, Tultitlán, Cuatitlán Izcalli, Atizapán de Zaragoza, Ixtapaluca, Chalco, Coacalco and Huixquilucan.
Data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) showed that in 2017 there were 4.6 million cars in those 12 Valley of Mexico municipalities, the most populous in the Mexico City/México state conurbation, compared to just 663,000 in the year 2000.
Added to those in the 16 boroughs of Mexico City proper — where the number of vehicles has increased by a more moderate 100% from 2.5 million in 2000 to 5 million in 2017 — there are at least 9.6 million cars in the immense sprawl of the megalopolis, whose total population is estimated at around 21 million.
It’s no wonder that the TomTom Traffic Index ranks the Mexican capital as the world’s most traffic congested city, one in which motorists can expect to spend an additional 227 hours a year — nine and a half full days — in traffic on top of their regular travel time.
In terms of sheer numbers, the municipality that recorded the biggest increase in vehicles was Ecatepec, where the number went from 147,000 in 2000 to just over one million in 2017, or 600% more.
However, in Chimalhuacán — voted the worst city in Mexico in which to live in a recent survey — the number of cars multiplied by a factor of 17, while in Nezahualcóyotl, located to the immediate east of Mexico City, the number climbed 11-fold from 70,000 at the start of the century to 776,000 in the most recent count.
Ixtapaluca and Huixquilucan also recorded increases of above 1,000%.
There are now more cars in the 12 crowded México state municipalities than in all of the state’s 113 other municipalities combined, Inegi data shows.
Bernardo Baranda, Latin America director at the global nonprofit The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), says the exponential increase in the number of vehicles in greater Mexico City is the result of federal and state government policies that have favored road building over investment in public transit infrastructure.
Another factor has been the construction of large-scale residential developments in outlying metropolitan areas.
“This motorization is the result of a development model from the last century. The use of cars has to be discouraged by promoting public transit and improving [infrastructure] for journeys on foot or by bicycle . . . Traffic congestion brings about high economic and health costs,” he said.
Source: Milenio (sp)