As Buenos Aires Traffic Directorate's mission is to think and implement plans to improve vehicular and pedestrian circulation, the Audit of the City (AGCBA, for its acronym in Spanish) wanted to find out how that goal was met. The first response was obtained from a list of the corners where there are traffic lights and pedestrian pockets. Given this, the watchdog had to specify their inquiry: they requested information on scheduled planning for 2010 and 2011, and finally the agency answered with a confession: "There is no game plan."

According to AGCBA’s report approved in November of last year, instead of projecting their work, the Transit performs works according to "the demand of the residents" that "ask for implementation or maintenance" of jobs of horizontal and vertical signaling in the City streets.

The unit, which operates under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Urban Development, also said it applied that standard, to act at the request of the locals, plus the “the effects of time to decide the placement of new road signs. Thus, the watchdog concludes, "there isn’t a survey of the needs" that the city has on the installation of equipment to streamline vehicular and pedestrian circulation.

The objective of the City Audit was to analyze two budget programs of the Directorate. On the one hand, number 42, "Traffic Order Actions" which should propose a rational use of public roads by engineering studies, modeling, and road flares so the road network remains operational, and on the other hand, number 45, "Installing signaling Vertically and Horizontally", i.e., the signs for the correct and safe way to move, that allow accurate information of the obstacles and conditions of streets, avenues, and highways.

On these two initiatives, the watchdog found "underspending of targets" during the reporting period (2010). In the case of the first program, the agency had planned from the standpoint of installing 128 crossings, of which only eight are constructed. And for the second, "the forecast indicated 11,700 signs, however 4,584 were made."

However, AGCBA made it clear that in 2010 the two programs suffered budget cuts: the Actions for the Traffic Order "recorded a decrease of 22%, while the decline of Installation of Vertical and Horizontal Signaling reached 67%. The problem also was that this adjustment of money available was not accompanied by the development of more modest physical goals. Thus, for the Audit, the differences between the objectives within these initiatives, and what is in the budget of the Department, prevents them from "fully assessing their effectiveness."


The auditors evaluate "in situ" the transit system and for that, toured some areas of the city that were considered critical. In principle, they made two journeys on bicycle paths, one of Puan and Bonifacio to Perón and Carlos Pellegrini, and the other from Gorriti and Dorrego to Billinghurst. The report indicates that, of the 40 surveyed traffic lights, "12 included only the signal for cyclists", although there is a standard signaling Uniform Traffic System which provides that the lights should be placed facing towards all directions of traffic to which are intended (Article 33 of Annex L, Article 22 of Regulatory Decree No. 779/95).

Also, the idea was to check the exclusive lanes for public transport that some avenues have such as Entre Rios, Callao, Jujuy, Pueyrredón, Santa Fe, Cordoba, and Las Heras. On these trips, we observed that the streets crossing these avenues "have not been equipped with informative signage" to avoid, on the one hand, the entry of unauthorized vehicles may impede the movement of buses and on the other, that these boulders receive a fine for committing an error that is not warned beforehand.

But they also walked on Juan B. Justo Avenue, where the Metrobus circulates. The Audit states that along that road, "some spots have been created for entering and exiting the exclusive lanes, two of which are located at intersections Lisbon and Argerich. There you can find two traffic lights together pointing in the same direction, one of them is for the particular traffic and the other for the buses, (that) for some differentiation has a black sign with an inscription that says "only buses ". The characteristics of size and color do not allow easy viewing, which is very poor in closeness as well as distance."

Another issue highlighted by the watchdog is the "lack of a readjustment of the flow direction of the adjacent streets" to Juan B. Justo. "Please note, continues the report, that the creation of Metrobus and its implementation meant reducing by more than 50% of the traffic for that particular road, and the elimination of most of the traffic lights allowing left turns."

Given these findings, the Buenos Aires Audit concluded that "the lack of planning for transit system is a critical issue that should be taken into account so solutions can be generated so to fix the complex traffic situation in the city of Buenos Aires" and adds: "it is essential that management studies and plans developed for the purposes of implementing a policy that does not consist of isolated measures that are unrelated to each other, but are implemented as part of a unit."