Dario Hidalgo, Director of Integrated Transport at WRI and Senior Researcher at our center, visited Chile and had the opportunity to give a lecture in the course Public Transport at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. The subject of the talk was the role of Bus Rapid Transit for mobility in latin-americans cities.
He discussed the case of Transmilenio (Bogotá, Colombia), as a part of the mayor’s plan to promote alternatives to the use of car. With this goal in mind, the town hall improved urban spaces and introduced vehicle restriction (known locally as “Pico y Plata”). These measures, among others, reduced travel times within the city and travel-related fatalities by 15%.
Later, Hidalgo explained that the objective was to build a metro-like alternative, but with lower implementation costs. This early adopter city helped the massification of BRTs providing evidence to analyze its attractiveness in other cities, especially in developing countries. Before its launch there were only 23 similar systems worldwide and then its growth accelerated, reaching up about 200 systems in the world.
Towards the end of his presentation, the researcher described some guidelines to have quality and well operated transportation systems, particularly BRTs, and provide a real alternative for use of cars. In order to do so, he highlighted the important support from policy makers and politicians to see transport planning as an integrated public policy.