Bogotá is known for being one of the most densely populated major cities in the world. Due to governmental initiative along with physical and landscape barriers, the city has managed to avoid the urban sprawl that plagues many major cities. In 2010, there were 7.3 million inhabitants and the population density was 20,500 inhabitants per square kilometer (Bocarejo et al, 2012). The introduction of the Transmilenio BRT system helped maintain (and even further promote) this level of densification.
Bogotá has distinct characteristics in terms of the spatial distribution of population and activities. The southern and western border UPZs are characterized as low-income households, the lowest employment densities and the highest population densities. In contrast, northern and central locations are identified as high-rise developments, lower population densities, and a high concentration of formal employment.
The BRT system provides trunk corridors and feeder line services to cover the entire city. The BRT system impacts both density and land uses. The density of zones located at or near the BRT system increased significantly compared to zones far from it. Some shopping centers were built around the BRT, but the property values were not significantly increased because of it. In general, the economic impact on commercial, office, and residential land use by the BRT system was trivial although there were significant increases in residential, commercial, and office land use. It is a similar case to research shown on relations between transit corridors and land use in a context where regular bus transit systems have a weak ability to promote urban development (Cervero & Kang, 2009).
Some of the effects of Transmilenio on land use and developments have had both positive and negative outcomes. For example, while spurring development along major BRT corridors is a positive effect and encourages densification, some of the commercial businesses that have popped up since Transmilenio’s implementation were a result of private interests maximizing on the opportunities that arose from its implementation instead of as a result of public/private partnerships that were geared towards improving conditions for all interests in the area. Even the creation of Metrovivienda, which is a program aimed to obtain land for low-income housing with proper access to transit, was not a strong enough tie between the transportation and land use developments, so Bogotá has received some criticism for lacking in this area (Bocarejo et al, 2012).
The population density of Bogotá has increased instead of succumbing to urban sprawl. The BRT system help maintain a compact city development by providing accessibility along trunk corridors and feeder routes. The BRT system improved general mobility and accessibility, but low-income people often still have limited access to opportunities. In “Value of Accessibility to Bogotá’s Bus Rapid Transit System,” there was shown to be a correlation between asking rent price of multi-family housing and their distance from BRT stations. The monthly rental amount decreased by 1.3% for every additional minute from a BRT station (Rodriguez & Targa, 2004). This can be seen as both a positive and a negative aspect. On the one hand, the BRT is associated with better quality areas/housing; however, this only has to do with the stations and not the entire corridor. Also, increases in higher asking rent prices can lead to gentrification, which creates even more barriers for low-income residents.
1. RODRÍGUEZ*, DANIEL, and FELIPE TARGA. "Value of Accessibility to Bogotá's Bus Rapid Transit System." Transport Reviews. 24.5 (2004): 587-610. Print.
2. Bocarejo, J.P, I Portilla, and M.A Perez. "Impact of Transmilenio on Density, Land Use, and Land Value in Bogota." Research in Transportation Economics. 40.1 (2013): 78-86. Print.
3. Cervero, Robert, and Chang D. Kang. "Bus Rapid Transit Impacts on Land Uses and Land Values in Seoul, Korea." Transport Policy. 18.1 (2011): 102-116. Print.