Sustainable urban mobility in Istanbul: Challenges and prospects

Fatih Canitez*, Pelin Alpkokin, Sabahat Topuz Kiremitci

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid urban growth and rising mobility demand in megacities having a population of more than 10 million people in emerging economies call for a consistent and comprehensive urban mobility policy framework. Implementing sustainable urban mobility policies in these cities is complicated by fragmented governance structures, conflicting policy priorities and lack of effective financing mechanisms. The city of Istanbul, with a population of nearly 15 million people, has been grappling with rapidly increasing urban mobility problems such as chronic traffic congestion, increasing motorization, overcrowded public transport services, air and noise pollution. Although major infrastructure investments such as new metro and tram lines, a bus rapid transit (BRT) line and capacity increases in public bus network have been undertaken in recent years, the objective of achieving a modal shift from car use to more sustainable transport modes such as public transport, cycling and walking is far from being realized. The focus on megaprojects such as Marmaray, Eurasia Tunnel and Third Bridge further complicate the urban mobility landscape by bringing about conflicting policy priorities. In this paper, a comprehensive review and analysis of Istanbul's urban transport policies and strategies are scrutinized under the framework of sustainable urban mobility paradigm to better understand the mobility predicament which have long stifled the quality of life of Istanbulites. The challenges are identified, recommendations are proposed, and prospects are put forward as to how to achieve sustainable urban mobility in Istanbul.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1148-1157
Number of pages10
JournalCase Studies on Transport Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 World Conference on Transport Research Society


The authors would like to thank Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and IETT for valuable and specific data provided in the article and for helpful insights on an earlier draft of the article. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

FundersFunder number
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality


    • Megaprojects
    • Sustainable urban mobility
    • Transport policies


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