An IDB program financed with resources from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) is improving urban transport in four mid-sized Colombian cities with the construction of new passenger stations, transfer terminals, and other transport infrastructure, as well as management systems to ensure an efficient traffic flow.
The initiative will benefit 800,000 passengers in Pasto, Popayán, Armenia, and Santa Marta by shortening circulation times of public vehicles. In addition, relieving congestion and modernizing the fleet will reduce carbon gas emissions by more than half.
The program. Infrastructure works included in the Strategic Public Transportation Systems Program are being financed by a US$300 million IDB loan. An additional US$20million CTF loan is financing infrastructure works. The operation was approved in September 2011.
Urban mass transport improvements included in the program include improved lane usage, more than 103 km of supplementary roads, overpasses and bridges, new passenger stops, stations, and transfer terminals. Additional facilities include maintenance workshops and yards, as well as operations fleet management and control centers and streamlined traffic light control systems. Emergency response systems will ensure the flow of traffic through the most heavily congested intersections.
Construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure for non-motorized transportation will include sidewalks, public spaces, footbridges, and feeder bike paths.
The Transportation Ministry will coordinate the execution of the works, which will be carried out by the municipal agencies responsible for developing and implementing transport systems. The program also includes support for strengthening the institutional framework required by municipal agencies for implementing and monitoring the transportation systems.
Climate change impact. In addition to improving traffic flow, the program will reduce emissions of CO2 and other atmospheric pollutants through the use of a smaller, more modern bus fleet, fewer unnecessary trips due to reorganized routes, and increased use of public transportation by individual private vehicle users. The program will also promote the use of non-motorized transportation and create green areas.
Total emission reductions resulting from investments in the four cities are estimated at up to 78,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, for a total of 1.56 metric tons of CO2 emissions over a period of 20 years. This reduction was estimated in a conservative scenario; more optimistic scenarios that include indirect emissions produce estimates of 84,000 to 99,000 metric tons reduction of CO2 per year.
High priority for urban transport. By 2020, more than 80 percent of Colombia’s population will live in cities, an increase of 30 percent over the present. Urban transportation systems affect urban competitiveness, economic productivity, and quality of life.
In Colombia, urban transportation services have traditionally been provided by private operators and regulated by municipal agencies. Problems include old and heavily polluting vehicles, poor service, little modal integration, and a deficient business structure. In addition, there is an estimated 40 percent oversupply of public transport vehicles, an average fleet age of more than 10 years, less than a 1.5 passenger/vehicle to kilometer ratio, and very low commercial vehicle speeds in central areas (below 10 km/h).
The IDB’s country strategy with Colombia for 2012-2014 provides that the Bank will furnish technical and financial support to implement the National Policy for Urban Transport that comprises the development of Strategic Public Transportation Systems linked to the dimension of GHG emissions mitigation through the implementation of low-carbon systems. The program also addresses one of the pillars of the Bank’s Ninth General Capital Increase, which prioritizes operations that promote climate change mitigation measures.
Prior Bank participation in Colombia’s urban transportation sector includes funding for an Integrated Mass Transit System in Cali and an Integrated Public Transportation System program in Bogotá. In addition, IDB technical cooperation loans have funded studies on mobility plans, conceptual designs, fare structure, fare collection systems, and fleet scheduling, control, and management systems in 12 cities.