Monday, February 9, 2009

Op-Ed: Carlosfelipe Pardo on The experience of Bogotá

The experience of Bogotá

The experience of Bogotá may be useful for this exercise, from various points of view:

On the infrastructure side:

• The development of a Bus Rapid Transit system which, at the fraction of the cost and ten times faster in construction time than a rail-based system, has the same (and sometimes better) performance than 95% of the metros in the world (currently, TransMilenio is moving 40,000 people per hour per direction, which is something that few rail systems can achieve).

• The design and construction of a network of bikeways of 300+ km along the entire city, which has improved road safety for its users and has increased bike use from 0.58% to 4% of total trips in 4 years, and is still increasing.

• The replacement of automobile parking spaces for (re)development of wide sidewalks, while shifting the responsibility of parking provision to the private sector.
On the education and management side:

• The enforcement of the proper use of all the measures above;
• The development of an enhanced license-plate restriction scheme which effectively shifts 40% of the automobile traffic with an extremely low investment (consisting basically of management, diffusion and enforcement of the measure).
• The development of a full set of strategies to generate greater respect of drivers for stopping at crossings, giving priority to pedestrians.


It must be said that these measures were only developed thanks to the great political will of two great mayors (primarily Enrique Peñalosa and further support from Antanas Mockus), who developed these measures despite the great opposition from automobile lobbyists and other sectors.

Carlosfelipe Pardo,
Coordinador de Proyecto-
GTZ - Sustainable Urban Transport Project,
Bogotá, Colombia

Contribution by the author to the world wide collaborative project “Messages for America: World-wide experience, ideas, counsel, proposals and good wishes for the incoming Obama transportation team”. See for latest version of this report of the New Mobility Agenda.

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