The DART project has come up against political obstacles during the implementation process, particularly around general elections which happen every 5 years. The turnover in leadership sometimes comes with corresponding turnover in support for the project. As a result, the project team has been in the position of working with incoming politicians with new or conflicting ideas relating to rapid transit in Dar es Salaam.
The Dar Rapid Transit Project is a 6-phase initiative to be completed by 2025. Thus far, the project has completed its first phase by implementing Bus Rapid Transit systems across 20.9 kilometers (Km). The following two phases are out of the designing process and the construction of 19.3 Km (phase II) and then an additional 23.6 Km of infrastructure will commence soon. As of right now, 200,000 passengers use the system every day.
The project has entailed the construction of new infrastructure, the procurement of buses, and the implementation of an updated e-ticketing system. Beyond streamlining public transport for riders, the e-ticketing system has a positive environmental impact by reducing paper usage. The DART project has also begun to convert bus engines to EURO-3 engines, which reduce the carbon emissions associated with the vehicles. The replacement of older vehicles traveling along Dar es Salaam’s truck roads has already reduced carbon emissions. In the longer term, the initiative plans to use compressed natural gas.
By developing a reliable and accessible system of transportation, DART has given residents of Dar es Salaam better access to their city. The transit infrastructure design has also included green walkways which encourages different kinds of transport within the city, particularly walking and cycling. In the spirit of encouraging alternative modes of transport, the DART project made sure to construct their platforms at a low level which is accessible to differently-abled people. In the long term, these changes have significantly benefitted the local environment and public health, resulting in a shift in the culture surrounding transportation in the city. The success of this project is a testament to the roles urban design and the transportation sector can play in improving quality of life. By developing clearly demarcated phases, the DART initiative could be easily adapted to other cities –– this possibility for expansion means that the project will continue to have a positive impact in the long term.