Tel Aviv Yafo is the economic and cultural centre of Israel. The city is situated on the Mediterranean coastline. Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Yafo (Jaffa). Tel Aviv and Yafo were merged into a single municipality in 1950. Tel Aviv’s 'White City', the world’s largest concentration of Bauhaus - International style buildings, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. Tel Aviv Yafo is the country’s financial capital and is home to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, corporate offices and research and development centres. Tel Aviv-Yafo is also important culturally, home to theatres, the opera and performing arts centre, philharmonic orchestra, museums, galleries, etc. It is also known as 'The City That Never Sleeps'. Its beaches, parks, bars, cafés, restaurants, festivals, shopping, cosmopolitan lifestyle and 24-hour culture have made it a popular destination with over 1.5 million tourists annually.
The city comprises 840 km of roads, with 420 traffic-lighted intersections and over 130 km of bicycle paths. Each day 500,000 cars and 1 million people enter the city. During the morning peak period the number of cars entering the city is 96,000 making it a major transportation hub. As with the rest of Israel, bus transportation is the most common form of public transport. The city is also served by local and inter-city share taxis (sherut), which can take up to 10 people, as well as by suburban railway lines with stations located along the Ayalon Highway – the main highway route that transverses the city. Extension of the bicycle path network is already underway in response to the growing demand for bicycles. Moreover, in the coming decade, the mass transit system will get underway. The system will mainly include light rail lines that will run underground in some areas.
In order to preserve its predominant role as a major city, Tel Aviv Yafo strives to improve the quality of all transportation modes and to reduce congestion and the negative environmental impacts of traffic. Tel Aviv is a member of the global network of Cities for Mobility as well as a member of ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability), and is committed to reduce air pollution carbon emissions.
The Outline Plan for Tel Aviv Yafo, approved in 2016, is a statutory plan which retains the mission statement set-out in the Strategic Plan of 2005: development of a sustainable multi-modal efficient transport system, which provides accessibility and a high standard of service for residents, commuters and visitors. A system that takes into consideration protection of the environment and the urban ecology, as well as, the city’s cultural heritage for the benefit of present and future generations. In short emphasis is on achieving and maintaining a more sustainable modal split.
In realising the main objectives within the CIVITAS project at the local level, Tel Aviv-Yafo strives to:
- Introduce innovative intermodal transport modes,
- Further develop efficient and reliable public transport (including PT prioritisation),
- Reduce congestion,
- Enhance the use of non-motorised transport modes in the city,
- Raise public awareness of the green arteries incorporated throughout the city,
- Develop efficient good logistics,
- Enhance the availability of travel information for both the individual traveller and travel operator.