New book promotes dialogue on a proposed Metro system for Bogotá

The Bogotá-based nonprofit organisation Fundación Ciudad Humana (Human Cities Foundation) recently launched a new book that aims to promote dialogue on a proposed Metro system for the Colombian capital.

Más que un Metro para Bogotá (More than a Metro for Bogotá) is co-authored by Ricardo Montezuma, Director of the Fundación Ciudad Humana, and Alex Ricardo Jimenez, a Research Analyst at the Cities Alliance Secretariat in Washington D.C..
The book seeks to promote a dialogue within the community on the type of Metro system that would be most beneficial for the city: elevated, surface, or underground.
The subject of a Metro system for Bogotá has been under discussion for more than 20 years. Traffic congestion in the city is severe, and with automobile ownership on the rise, the situation is likely to worsen.
 
The city has already taken steps towards easing congestion by implementing Transmilenio, an innovative bus rapid transit system, and by enacting alternate-day driving restrictions determined by license plate number. However, Transmilenio routes still do not extend throughout the city as a result of changes in its planning and implementation, and residents continue to rely heavily on a large network of unregulated, informal buses and taxis.
In 2007, Bogotá Mayor Samuel Moreno campaigned on a pledge to establish a rapid transit system in the city. Since assuming office he has approved the construction of an integrated transport system, and various alternatives are currently under consideration.
Montezuma and Jimenez suggest that if Bogotá is going to build a Metro, then it should be the best possible system: a 21st century system that is integrated in the city and adapted to its particular needs. 
They advise that the new system should be adaptive, innovative, and give value to the “surface” (ground floor)—an important part of the urban lifestyle. They also recommend that the system complement what has already been built and achieved by Transmilenio.
Furthermore, the authors make the case that the construction of such a major transport system is a significant opportunity for integrated urban development. A well designed, carefully chosen Metro can improve residents’ quality of life by offering benefits such as economic opportunities, social inclusion and access to public and recreational spaces.
It can also promote compact development—which uses less land than conventional development—as well as new ways of living that are environmentally friendly and depend less on automobiles.
The authors argue strongly that the process of making such a complex decision should be participatory. Choosing a new Metro system is a major investment that will impact the city for generations; as such, it should involve all stakeholders—businesses, residents, and local authorities.
Mas que un Metro para Bogotá developed out of a Citizen’s Dialogue forum on a possible Metro for the city that was sponsored by the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce.
The book is organised in five main sections:
  • Part 1 provides the context for the book. It examines the disconnect between urban development and urban transport and provides a summary of four different generations of Metro systems as well as their impact on cities.
  • Part 2 consists of case studies that illustrate both successful and unsuccessful implementation of rail systems and their urban integration.
  • Part 3 reviews proposals for mass transport systems in Bogotá, most recently for a Metro in 2000.
  • Part 4 includes a multidisciplinary collection of articles written by authors who were invited to reflect on the type of Metro system needed by the city. 
  • Part 5 presents conclusions and recommendations as well as perspectives of the main authors on how the new Metro system could be integrated in the broader agenda of urban mobility.  
For more information about the book or how to obtain a copy, please visit the Fundación Ciudad Humana website at www.ciudadhumana.org.
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