Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Ciclovia and Cicloruta Programs in Bogotá

There have been major investments in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in Bogotá, mostly started during Mayor Peñalosa’s term in office. Two of the programs specifically designed for bicycles are the Ciclovia and the Cicloruta.

                According to “The Ciclovia and the Cicloruta Programs: Promising Interventions to Promote Physical Activity and Social Capital in Bogotá, Colombia,” the Ciclovia program is a special event every Sunday and holidays in part of the city where streets get closed off to car traffic, allowing residents to walk, bike, skate, etc. through the area without the risk of riding in mixed traffic. The Ciclovia program is typically a big event, with 600,000 to 1,400,000 participants. It was an inspiration for Ciclovia-like events all over the world, with 67 documented initiatives in North America. The Ciclovia has proven to be a cost-beneficial event for the city, and provides a safe and healthy environment for residents across all socioeconomic levels. According to the research in the article, 66.1% of participants do not own a motor vehicle and more than half of the participants are regular Ciclovia participants and meet the recommended levels of physical activity. Also, 51.2% of residents felt safe in terms of dangers of accidents and 42.4% felt safe in terms of crime dangers during the Ciclovias, whereas according to a citywide survey that wasn’t specific to any event, 38% of the Bogotá residents feel unsafe in the city and 32% in their neighborhood. These events have shown to increase perceptions of safety and cohesiveness among residents, while simultaneously encouraging physical activity (Torres et al, 2013).

Bogotá 's Cicloruta is the most extensive bike path network in the city. The construction of Cicloruta started in 1996, and it still expanding. In 2011, the bi-directional bicycle network was 227 miles long.  The network of Cicloruta has three hierarchies characterized by its functionality: The main network of Cicloruta connects the key city centers with the most populated residential areas; Phase II of TransMilenio (Bus Rapid Transit system) incorporates some of the Cicloruta routes along several trunk lines; Secondary networks such as residential areas, parks, and facilities are attractions to the main network. It also works as a feeder to the TransMilenio. Six stations of the TransMilenio provide guarded bike parking facilities free as a bike and ride service. Complementary networks connect recreational and external  routes to the system. These routes are along the river banks of linear parks or wetlands. Most of the bike paths and lanes are protected, which means bicycles have completely separated right of way from cars in order to increase their safety and mobility.

Amount of daily trips made by bicycle is around 300,000-400,000, which is 5% of total trips. Before Cicloruta, there was only a 0.05% mode share by bicycle. Cicloruta has been a positive impact on the accessibility and mobility for low-income families. Active transportation mode share for low-income households is more than 23%, and it decreases with the increase in income level.  The average speed of a bicycle is faster than public transportation. The rates are 17 km per hour for bikes and 13 km per hour for public transportation.

Torres, A, OL Sarmiento, C Stauber, and R Zarama. "The Ciclovia and Cicloruta Programs: Promising Interventions to Promote Physical Activity and Social Capital in Bogotá, Colombia." American Journal of Public Health. 103.2 (2013): 23-30. Print.


New York City Global Partners, "Best Practice: Largest Bicycle Path Network", 2011,

Smith, Rachel, "Bogotá and the Bicycle: A City that Priorities Cyclists"

"Bogotá's CicloRuta is One of the Most Comprehensive Cycling systems in the World"

1 comment:

  1. Events like Ciclovia are important for changing the many negative perceptions that are associated with active transportation. There is this notion, or idea that only a certain type of person rides a bicycle as a mode of transportation. Also, more often than not, like this post states, people are unwillingly or hesitant about cycling because of the dangerous risks one is exposed to while trying to share the road with automobiles. Ciclovia is a great way for cities to engage those who do not use active transportation to try it out. The experience can leave a lasting positive impression about active transportation. It is not practical to expect there to be ciclovia often and everywhere but used in addition to active transit oriented development, people are getting the necessary exposure and resources to consider. They are also getting a level of interaction during commute that cars have never been able to achieve. For all the said reasons, active transportation is not only a healthier choice but it goes one step beyond, it is a way for people to consider life style choices that lead to healthier and more engaged overall communities. Cars are isolating and even though there might be millions on the road at one time, each driver is shut off from the next. Ciclovia and cicloruta are means to get people away from cars. For those who are already without cars, it is a way that they can enjoy cycling without the perils of competing for space on road ways. For families that are low-income, riding a bike is simply not a choice, it is a matter of surviving. However, developing safer and less autocentric roadways, cyclists won't have to worry or stress about the negative side to active transportation. Even though Bogota's percentage of active transportation users was low, such events and means have allowed the city to adopt more cycling, more ways to actively carry out transportation. Like Bogota, the USA is an autocentric society but with a range of demographics. It will be interesting to see what cities adopt events like ciclovia as well as determining what the lasting impacts are. LA had it's own event and while the turn out was high, the city is still dominated by cars. What the blog points out the most to me is that in addition to setting policy, there really needs to be a presence from a community, a desire to want to utilize resources like cicloruta. I think what will help raise the desire level is to promote events that get people out into the streets.I am very curious to see what cities will continue a yearly event and how it will shape further development.
    thank you for the post, I enjoyed reading it.


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