The TransMilenio Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the city of Bogota, Colombia provides residents with efficient and safe mass transit that encourages high ridership.
- improve the public transport system with respect to accessibility, efficiency, safety, speed, convenience and comfort ensuring high ridership
- restrict private automobile use
- expand and improve bicycle paths
- enhance public space
- reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
TransMilenio was developed via a public-private partnership. Representatives from the national and local business sector, public agencies, government officials and bus operators from the previous public transportation system were involved in the planning and implementation of the new BRT system. The public sector is responsible for the implementation of the infrastructure and also for the planning, control and monitoring of the system operation, while the private sector is in charge of operating and maintaining the buses.
The implementation of TransMilenio has four phases. The first phase of 42km was completed in 2000. Phase 2 provides additional busways of 131.4 km: 42 km more was completed in 2006, 22 km was completed in 2012, and 7 km in 2015. Phase 3 and 4 are currently under feasability studies. The system consists of dedicated bus routes, large-capacity buses and elevated bus stations. By 2024, it is planned to include a metro train system that will expand the network by 388 km.
The City of Bogota has also implemented car-free days, peak hour car restrictions, bicycle schemes and pedestrian and public space improvements.
- improved fuel efficiency per passenger due to new and larger buses. The reduced transport times, along with increased safety, reliability and comfort attract many car and taxi drivers to the new system, which in turn leads to an improved traffic flow in the city.
- environmental benefits in the form of reduced GHG and other air pollutant emissions (CO₂, PM and NOx). From 2013 to 2019, the annual average estimated reduction of CO₂ emissions amounts to 578,918 tCO₂eq which is equivalent to the emissions of around 123,174 cars per year. Furthermore, a reduced number of vehicles in the city leads to less noise pollution.
- the social well-being of residents has increased as a result of less time spent in congestion, less respiratory diseases, less noise pollution and fewer accidents per passenger transported.
- in the areas where TransMilenio operates, there has been a reduction of 92% in road related deaths, 75% in injuries and 79% in collisions. Robberies at bus stops have been reduced by 83%.
- approximately 1,500 temporary jobs are created during the construction period.
When the TransMilenio was launched, 90% of bogotanos supported the new system, more recently that support has declined, as a number of problems remain unresolved. Recurrent problems include crowded buses, low frequency of service and high fares. During rush hour, it can take up to 20 minutes to board at some stations. Furthermore, pollution is generated by the old system buses operating with low maintenance and with bad emissions index.
The remaining challenges include:
- Improving the quality of the public transport system;
- Integrating the BRT system within the cable car and metro systems;
- Modifying some bad conception contract aspects in the Integrated Public Transport System (the operator of public transportation in Bogotá), especially concerning urban buses;
- Implementing more ecofriendly buses. All the developments regarding the improvement of the quality of the diesel fuel in Colombia were a result of the successful tests made in the TransMilenio System with biodiesel mix of 5%, hybrid buses and electric buses.
- ensuring equity within the system and establishing coordination mechanisms and adequate institutional arrangements.
- allocating sufficient technical and financial resources for the preparation and execution of the project and including stakeholders in the process to secure their on-going support.
- assuring financial sustainability by using measures, even if unpopular with residents such as, gas tax, general revenue funds and private vehicle restrictions.
- provision of adequate incentives for private sector operation such as performance based contracts for defined periods of time and competitive tendering.
- connection with existing road transport systems.
- marketing campaigns promoting the system to gain public buy-in.
Center for public impact: TransMilenio: renewing Bogota’s transport system https://www.centreforpublicimpact.org/case-study/transmilenio/(accessed on 25th August 2017)
Pocacito: Transport and mobility - Bus Rapid Transit: TransMilenio http://pocacito.eu/sites/default/files/TransMilenio_Bogota.pdf (accessed on 25th August 2017)
Index mundi: Colombia Demographics Profile 2017
http://www.indexmundi.com/colombia/demographics_profile.html (accessed on 25th August 2017)
Colombia Reports: Bogota socio-economic statistics
https://colombiareports.com/bogota-economy-statistics/ (accessed on 25th August 2017)
PPP IRC: Transmilenio Phase I PPP Contract for Bus Transport System
https://ppp.worldbank.org/public-private-partnership/library/transmilenio-phase-i-ppp-contract-bus-transport-system (accessed on 25th August 2017)
Good Practices in City Energy Efficiency - Bogota, Colombia – Bus Rapid Transit for Urban
https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/17533/521260ESMAP0Bo10Box345553B01PUBLIC1.pdf?sequence=1 (accessed on 25th August 2017)
Bogota, Colombia Bus Rapid Transit Project - Transmilenio
Quality public transport: A model BRT? Transmilenio in Bogotá
http://qualitypublictransport.org/qpt/wp-content/uploads/qpt-briefing-8.pdf (accessed on 25th August 2017)
Jan Marco Müller in Megacities: Our Global Urban Future (2014), page 179 to 184
https://books.google.de/books?id=TwHFBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA183&lpg=PA183&dq=costs+phases+transmilenio&source=bl&ots=m23sCSQMjr&sig=pnvS3t6VMMS468EiasgAZ_alrJY&hl=de&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjPr6r79vHVAhVLOhQKHRUxCTcQ6AEITTAE#v=onepage&q=costs%20phases%20transmilenio&f=false (accessed on 25th August 2017)
PRI: 8 million people. No subway. Can this city thrive without one?
https://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-21/can-modern-megacity-bogot-get-without-subway (accessed on 25th August 2017)
Citylab: Why Are People Rioting Over Bogota's Public Transit System?
https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2012/03/why-are-people-rioting-over-bogotas-public-transit-system/1537/ (accessed on 25th August 2017)
Transmilenio Busway – Based Mass Transit, Bogota, Colombia
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