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The Iranian capital city of Tehran has been nominated for the 2011 Sustainable Transport Award due to rapid improvement of its public transportation system.
The Chinese city of Guangzhou, the Spanish city of Leon, the Peruvian capital of Lima, and the French city of Nantes are other finalists for the prestigious award presented by the US-based Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), the Fars news agency reported.
The ITDP, the United Nations, and the International Association of Public Transport will jointly select the winner in a special ceremony on Monday.
Tehran's Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf has been invited to Washington to attend the award giving ceremony.
Executive director of the institute, Walter Hook, said Tehran has witnessed a rapid growth in its subway system and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems.
Hook also praised the urban planners of Nantes, saying that the city a model of efficient BRT system for other cities around the globe.
Special routes for bicycles, creating BRT systems and building subways were among the decisive factors behind the decision to nominate the five cities for the award.
The ITDP is a non-governmental non-profit organization providing technical assistance to cities and local advocacy groups on sustainable transportation development throughout Asia, Africa, and the Americas
The population in Tehran province is estimated at more than 12 million. Eight million live in the over-crowded capital that has long been suffering from air and sound pollution, monstrous traffic and poor environmental health.
According to the head of Tehran Municipality's Environment and Sustainable Development Office, Tehran has a capacity for 700,000 cars, but currently more than 3 million cars are in the streets of the capital.
Some two million Iranians use the Tehran Metro every day, and it is expected that the number of metro users will rise to 2.5 million in the next two months due to the increase in gasoline prices.
The Tehran Metro consists of four operational lines crisscrossing Tehran, with construction underway on two other lines. It is one of the biggest metros in the Middle East and is one of the cleanest in the world.