Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Ecuador country profile

by Alvaro Guzman MSc Sustainability in Transport 2010

To date central government has made the largest investment in the history of Ecuador on highways infrastructure. Almost all projects that were initiated many years ago have been built and finished. BRT lines have been built in recent years in both Quito and Guayaquil with new lines being built. There is also a Metro line and a tram system being studied for Quito and Cuenca respectively.

Alvaro Guzman

I am currently working at Impobus whose main business is selling buses. However, the company also participates in many transport related projects. My main duties are exploring new opportunities for businesses as well as evaluating Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects.

I think that the main challenge transport has in Ecuador at the moment is the fact that there is a lack of transport professionals; transport schools are almost inexistent there is only a transport program in one university. This has led to a lot of improvisation in the sector with many disarticulated projects based on good intentions. Urban transport needs a profound revision because there is a huge rise in car ownership and usage, and very little investment has been made to support this trend.

I have been in Ecuador less than 8 months since finishing my studies at ITS, and whilst I couldnĀ“t mention any specific achievements so far however I have been called from the Municipalities Association to work on a transport planning guide for small cities, as the new constitution gives them the responsibility of transport and transit. I am thinking of working on a Sustainable Transport Planning guide, in order to stimulate the implementation of sustainable measures to maintain low levels of car use, high levels of walking and cycling, while creating accessibility by these modes.

As mentioned, there is just one transport school in Ecuador and transport has a history of being associated with road construction in Ecuador. However, "I believe that my experience and skills I gained at ITS have given me a much broader view of transport issues. The existence of many programs at ITS is a big advantage giving a holistic view to transport related problems".

If I were to give any advice to people considering working in Ecuador I would say that it can be very challenging because of the lack of institutions, transport works have been centralised by the government and there are very few opportunities in the private sector.

Professionally speaking, as with every developing country, working in Ecuador has its own challenges and opportunities that need to be explored. People are generally very open-minded to try new things. Ecuador is a great country with excellent food, beautiful nature and extremely nice weather all year round. Three different regions allow you to explore beautiful beaches, snow topped mountains, and tropical rain forests without much travelling.