Bogota has won the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy’s 2022 Sustainable Transport Award (STA) in recognition of its achievements in boosting active travel.
The Colombian capital was one of the first cities in the world to create a network of pop-up bike lanes during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw cycling quadruple on some main roads.
In total, 84 kilometres of cycle paths were installed, with 28 kilometres becoming permanent.
“We’re very happy to receive [this award] as a way to acknowledge the work we’ve done during the pandemic,” said Felipe Ramírez Buitrago, Secretary of Mobility, City of Bogota.
“All our efforts aim to increase the quality of the service as well as the air quality. That’s the vision we will foster in the years to come, towards more sustainable mobility.”
The changes initiated during the pandemic were later incorporated into official policy which elevated biking as a priority means of transport in future city planning efforts.
This built on previous goals formalised in Bogota’s 2020-24 Strategic Plan, which included growing the number of cycle trips by 50 percent by 2024.
The city also reconfigured street space to allow for better social distancing and increased the number of pedestrianised streets.
Over the course of one project, 44,000 square kilometres of street space was repurposed for pedestrian use.
To improve last-mile deliveries and reduce emissions, the city launched an e-cargo bike pilot programme which to date has reduced the cost of deliveries by 31 percent.
The next phase of the project will focus on the implementation of a last-mile distribution operation using e-cargo bikes or trikes that use solar panels as a source of energy.
In a bid to improve public and environmental health, the city is also planning to incorporate a fleet of 1,485 electric buses into its transit system–with 350 buses being deployed so far.
Additionally, Bogota has started a new programme that provides exemptions to vehicles with more than two passengers from the city’s odd-even license restriction programme.
The programme prevents half of the city’s cars from driving in peak times, but by allowing carpooling exemptions, it aims to reduce car travel by 2 million kilometres weekly.
Heather Thompson, ITDP Chief Executive Officer said: “COVID infrastructure has laid the ground for long term systemic change. With programmes like the Sustainable Transport Award, ITDP aims to illuminate transport solutions. By doing so, all kinds of cities can learn from each other and adapt programmes for their own unique circumstances.”
Peshawar, Pakistan, and Tartu, Estonia received ‘honourable mentions’ for their sustainable efforts.
Over the past few years the Estonian city has introduced a carbon-neutral public bus network, an electric bikeshare scheme and pedestrianised more streets.
Peshawar received recognition for its implementation of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) despite facing various setbacks with its rollout.
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