The C40 Cities Finance Facility is supporting a cycling transformation in the city of Bogotá by providing technical assistance to the city administration to help fund new high-quality cycling infrastructure.
The city of Bogotá is a leader in developing and implementing sustainable mobility projects. The 25km long 'Quinto Centenario' project will be the city's first resilient cycle highway, connecting citizens from low, middle, and high-income neighbourhoods with jobs, schools and recreational opportunities. Bogotá is building on previous efforts by undertaking an ambitious plan to build new infrastructure that will deliver a safe and fast cycling avenue and will symbolise how cycyling will look in the near future.
The C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF), in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Resources Institute, is supporting the city of Bogotá in developing the project by providing tailored technical assistance to the city. This includes a dedicated advisor, technical studies, and the analysis of potential financing and funding structures.
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Size and population development
2011: 8,743,000; 1990: 4,740,000; 2025: 11,369,000; 2010-2015: +2.53% / year
Rapid expansion mainly due to rural urban migration
Capital City, economic and cultural centre in Colombia
Main industries / business
Food and textile industries, mechanical engineering and electrical industries
The city is ruled by a mayor and a city council, both elected by popular vote
Bogotá is composed of 56 district entities and 20 localities governed by an administrative board
Background and objectives
Cycling has a strong history in Colombian culture. In 1974 the city of Bogotá organised the first 'Ciclovía', now a popular cycling event that takes place from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. every Sunday and on public holidays; the event involves the closure of a large number of roads to all vehicles and allows people to cycle, run or walk without traffic. The 'Ciclovia' initiative has been replicated in many other cities across the world.
Commencing in the early 1990's and building on the popularity of the Ciclovía, the city of Bogotá has invested heavily in cycling infrastructure, building a world-class network of cycle lanes, known as 'CicloRutas'. During the construction and implementation of the TransMilenio, the city's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, cycle lanes were built alongside the trunk lines, as well as through various city districts, providing a broad socioeconomic cross-section of the population access to many destinations in the city.
At the core of Bogotá's cycling plan is 'Plan Bici', a 4-year plan running from 2016 - 2020 to promote cycling, and forms part of a vision plan to make Bogotá the cycling capital of the world' by 2038 (the 500th anniversary of the city's founding). Plan Bici's main objective is to double the mode share of cycling to 10% of all trips by 2020.
In 2016, the city of Bogotá applied for support from the CFF to implement its cycling infrastructure plans. Following a due diligence process, the CFF committed to support the development of the Quinto Centenario (500th anniversary) project.
The project will reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions and provide a more sustainable, accessible and resilient public transport system. Through the CFF's emphasis on creating replicable, sustainable financing models, the Quinto Centenario will be a model for other cities on how to finance cycling infrastructure.
The city of Bogotá administration aims to double the number of cycling trips in Bogotá by 2020, from 5% to 10% of all trips. The Quinto Centenario is the flagship initiative of the city's strategy to achieve this target, and will provide cyclists access to a direct, safe, connected and comfortable option to travel within the city. The Department of Mobility (Secretaría Distrital de Movilidad, SDM) is leading the project's planning and implementation, while the C40 Cities Finance Facility is currently providing the following support:
- Dedicated technical project advisor based within the city;
- Exploring potential financing and funding structures for construction and operation of the cycle highway;
- Choosing the exact route and designing the infrastructure to maximise development and equity benefits, especially in the southern part of the highway;
- Planning measures to ensure the cycle highway follows climate resilient principles;
- Supporting the development of a communications plan to engage all key stakeholders, especially business owners and women.
The CFF's assistance has helped Bogotá to develop a comprehensive system of governance, scoping the mobilisation of potential financing sources, engaging key local stakeholders such as cycling groups and businesses, and create a detailed work plan for the Quinto Centenario project. Mayoral leadership and support from the national government have proven crucial in ensuring continued focus.
Financing and resources
The city of Bogotá is exploring different revenue models, including a hybrid model with potential varying approaches for different segments of the Quinto Centenario corridor. The use of corporate social responsibility funding, advertising, and parking fees is being explored, as is land value capture (also known as 'tax increment financing') resulting from tax revenues on appreciated property and land values along the Quinto Centenario corridor. The city may need a combination of central government transfers, donor support and tax revenues to fund specific segments of the corridor.
Results and impacts
The proposed Quinto Centenario cycle avenue runs 25 kilometers in length. It builds on Bogotá's existing but inconsistent mix of cycling infrastructure, and is designated as a 'cycling avenue'. Based on a preliminary forecast of 34,000 users per day, it is projected to save at least 67,000 tons of CO2 between 2018 and 2030, while also improving air quality along the route.
The Quinto Centenario promotes a modal shift from cars and public transport to bicycles, particularly for trips between two and ten kilometers in length (roughly 10 to 40 minutes), by positioning cycling above motorised transportation modes. Along the Quinto Centenario route, cycling will compete with public transport and cars in terms of cost, convenience, and travel time. The project will connect with the existing CicloRutas network in several places, bringing together disconnected segments, and will link to the Transmilenio BRT network at one terminus and nine other stations. It will include bicycle parking facilities, measures to enhance the security of cyclists such as adequate street lighting, and promote economic development through improvement of public spaces along the route.
Barriers and challenges
Despite the efforts outlined above to ensure the project moves forward at the required pace, the Quinto Centenario project still faces several challenges. These include competition with private and public transport for limited road space, inadequate safety and limited security, and encroachment by small businesses upon public space. With respect to the latter challenge, the city is working to secure the support of local residents, business, drivers and pedestrians who may face disruptions and negative impacts from road closures and construction works.
A key issue that the project must address is the perceived and real lack of security of cyclists in Bogotá. Cycling infrastructure generally only focuses on road safety, however, cyclists are not only vulnerable to other vehicles, they are also at risk of muggings, thefts and personal harm, as they are often seen as an easy target. Many residents, particularly women and those who can afford public and private transportation, cite security concerns as one of the reasons for why they do not cycle. The city has responded with enhanced policing and improved lighting along cycling routes and is studying international best practices in search of effective solutions.
Finally, the durability of political support for cycling infrastructure beyond the end of the current Mayor's term remains unknown. The hope is that the creation of high-quality infrastructure and the continued increase of cycling in Bogotá will encourage the development of further projects. The strength of support for cycling in Bogota suggests that ensuring citizens' ownership of cycling infrastructure will facilitate the development of this and further projects.
Lessons learned and transferability
One of the key objectives of the CFF is to facilitate knowledge sharing. The CFF is ensuring that all present and future lessons learnt will be shared with and beyond other CFF partner cities as well as with any relevant stakeholders, through project briefings, webinars and workshops.
Bogotá is positioning itself as a knowledge hub and disseminating its achievements and objectives with other cities in Colombia, Latin America and beyond. A workshop held in October 2017 discussed ways to plan and finance sustainable mobility projects, especially cycling ones, and related transit-oriented development (TOD) projects. The event, organised by the C40 Cities Finance Facility in partnership with the Alcaldía de Cali, FDI Pacífico, GIZ , Connective Cities, and the World Resources Institute, was attended by representatives from cities, including Medellín, Cali, Pereira, Ibagué, Armenia, Yumbo, Palmira, Quito (Ecuador) and Trujillo (Peru). The workshop included presentations of best practices in sustainable mobility, peer-to-peer exchanges between attendees to address common issues, and structured participatory sessions about how to develop and implement business models for public bike-sharing systems and TOD projects
Lessons learned include:
- Citizens' ownership of a cycling infrastructure project and a supportive culture for cycling are integral to the success of such projects, and to ensuring their legacy across different city administrations.
- To be successful, projects of this importance should be included in and supported by broader urban development and mobility strategies.
- Support by high-level local government officials, particularly the mayor or mayors of involved cities, is key to the success of ambitious infrastructure projects such as the Quinto Centenario.
- The creation and maintenance of an overarching document outlining a project's progress is a crucial project management tool.
- C40 Cities Finance Facility: "Cycling Infrastructure in Cities: Bogotá's Quinto Centenario Cycle Avenue - Creating the Enabling Environment": https://www.c40cff.org/knowledge-library/cycling-infrastructure-in-cities-bogotas-quinto-centenario-cycle-avenue
- Quinto Centenario Cycle Highway: https://www.c40cff.org/projects/bogota-quinto-centenario