Bogotá, Colombia, stands as a beacon of sustainable transport, earning the prestigious Sustainable Transport Award not once but twice—first in 2005 and again in 2022. The city’s remarkable commitment to active mobility and resilient planning led to its selection as the host city for MOBILIZE Learning Lab.
ITDP’s MOBILIZE program originated as an annual Summit to celebrate the winners of the Sustainable Transport Award and expanded to include the MOBILIZE Learning Lab—focused on cultivating knowledge exchange between these cities and relevant stakeholders. MOBILIZE aims to showcase cities that have implemented successful mobility projects so that others can learn from these experiences and utilise technical acumen that qualifies as best practices in regional contexts.
In June 2023, the first in-person session of the MOBILIZE Learning Lab brought together practitioners and academics in Bogotá, Colombia, to see and experience first-hand the potential of resilient and equitable public transport and to discuss a collective vision for the future. Here are some transformative initiatives the ITDP India team witnessed in Bogotá that can inspire us all.
Paradise for Pedestrians and Cyclists
Bogotá is every pedestrian’s and cyclist’s dream. It has transformed its streets with 593 km of cycle lanes and 44,000+ sqkm of repurposed pedestrian-friendly areas. Daily bike trips reach a staggering 900,000, and the famous Ciclovía event—which sees major thoroughfares closed to vehicular traffic to make way for pedestrians and cyclists—draws over 1.5 million participants each week. People experience hassle-free walking and cycling on well-shaded pathways, ensuring comfort for all.
Bogotá’s neighbourhoods are walkable with continuous good-quality footpaths and green, landscaped linkages. These charming shortcuts across urban blocks provide delightful walking experiences and make every stroll through Bogotá’s walkable neighbourhoods memorable.
Public Transport is Popular!
Nearly half of Bogotá’s population takes the bus. Why?
TransMilenio, the Integrated Public Transport System, offers a seamless and popular travel experience. With an impressive fleet of 1,485 electric buses, Bogotá boasts the largest e-bus fleet in Latin America. This system, with 12 lines totalling 114.4 km throughout the city, is efficient, sustainable, and affordable for commuting, reducing CO2 emissions by 155,000 tons annually.
Safe and Vibrant Public Spaces
Bogotá prioritises safety and community well-being. Vision Zero and kids’ safety programs have reduced traffic fatalities; initiatives like “Bogotá, Open Sky” have transformed sidewalks, parks, and roads into vibrant public spaces while reviving businesses and contributing to holistic economic growth. One can experience thriving favelas filled with art and culture, ensuring safe and inclusive environments for all.
Inclusive and Resilient Planning
Bogotá’s visionary administration aims to make the city greener, healthier, and more inclusive. The “Bogotá Turns Green” initiative revitalises spaces through the “Blocks of Care” program. Gender equality is a key focus, with specific attention to care infrastructure, recognizing the vital role of women as caregivers.
Bogotá’s urban initiatives inspire us with their innovative approaches to walking, cycling, public transport, vibrant public spaces, and inclusive planning. Here we find a city prioritising well-being, sustainability, and community engagement. Check out these resources that dive deep into the efforts of Bogota.
Check out ITDP’s blog to discover how Bogotá transformed its streets, prioritised safety, and embraced sustainable mobility during and after the pandemic.
This publication dives deeper into the evolution of sustainable urban mobility in Bogotá, Colombia, captures how a strong vision for equitable and sustainable urban mobility can transcend through different political terms, and how mobility systems can withstand and bounce back from disruptions such as the CoVID-19 pandemic while also addressing climate change.
Written by Varsha Jeyapandi
Edited by Keshav Suryanarayanan
Photos by Venugopal AV