Sustainable urban mobility

Project Description

Title: Sustainable Urban Mobility
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Columbia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Transport of Colombia (Ministerio de Transporte, MdT)
Overall term: 2020 to 2022


Colombia is the fifth largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Latin America, 11 per cent of which can be attributed to transport. Colombian towns and cities suffer from frequent traffic jams, which lead to economic losses as a result of unproductive time spent waiting. In addition, the high level of air pollution resulting from transport caused respiratory disorders among around 10 per cent of the urban population in 2018 in Bogotá alone. On top of this, nearly 7,000 people died in road accidents in Colombia in 2017, a large proportion of whom were cyclists. Women account for only 20 per cent of cyclists. This is due to the lack of safety in public areas, a lack of lighting and a lack of governmental and private security services.

Aiming to reduce congestion and traffic related air pollution, bus rapid transit (BRT) systems have been introduced in many Colombian cities. Despite public subsidies, the operators (most of which are private companies) have not been able to run BRT profitably in medium sized Colombian cities, as the ridership is too low.  BRT is not an attractive option primarily because of poor connections to other means of transport such as buses, bicycles, electric scooters or taxis. Many people avoid using local public transport due to long waiting times and the distances involved when changing means of transport. Convenient options for covering even short distances are also lacking. 


Conditions for promoting non-motorised transportation (NMT) and transportation demand management (TDM) have improved in the medium sized Colombian cities of Barranquilla, Bucaramanga and Pasto.


On behalf of the German Climate Technology Initiative (DKTI), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is working together with the Ministry of Transport of Colombia to make BRT and thus local public transport more attractive. The aim is to improve the framework conditions for two strategies, the first being to promote NMT. This includes, above all, bicycles as a feeder mode to BRT. Secondly, TDM is to be supported, which will include measures such as tolls on vehicles entering the city centre, parking fees or benefits for using environmentally friendly modes of transport, which aim to make individual motorised transport less attractive. 

The project is implementing these strategies by way of example in three pilot cities, which it has se-lected in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport. 

In the pilot cities, the various seminars and training courses offered on NMT and TDM are primarily aimed at urban and transportation planners in municipalities. In this way, the project aims to integrate the strategies into mobility and development plans. The materials are being mainstreamed at the rele-vant authorities, the National Road Safety Agency and the National Training Service (SENA). 

To supplement this, the project is directing campaigns and media reports at the population at large, journalists and retailers with a view to disseminating the measures and establishing acceptance. 


  • In the three cities of Barranquilla, Bucaramanga and Pasto, 2.2 million citizens benefit from improved local public transport, less congestion and improved air quality.
  • 100 employees of city administrations and transport companies in the project cities (of which 50 per cent are women) are more aware of the benefits of NMT and TDM.
  • In one of the three project cities, NMT as a proportion of the overall traffic volume has doubled along a main route to local public transport.
  • The proportion of women who use the bicycle as a means of transport has increased.
  • Lighting in public areas and in the NMT infrastructure (stations, vehicles) has improved, thus increasing safety for road users.

Last update: March 2021

Additional information