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Bogota’s bus rapid transit system
Offering metro capabilities at a fraction of subway construction and operational costs, Transmilenio is one of the most innovative and successful bus rapid transit (BRT) systems in the world.
In 1998, Bogotá decided to build a BRT network to help tackle the city’s congestion. They had ambitious plans to build the system and contract private bus operators over the following two years.
Needing technical advice to support the design and implementation, the Secretaria de Movilidad, the transport arm of the government, brought Steer Davies Gleave on board as technical consultant with direct responsibility over both the operational and engineering designs of the system, as well as providing demand forecasts. In addition we supported other consultancies working in the financial, architectural, legal, and construction areas.
Working to extremely tight timescales, we were able to see Transmilenio begin operations in early 2000.
How we did it
The main challenge was to provide a capacity in excess of 40,000 passengers per hour per direction using buses, exclusive bus lanes and closed metro-like stations.
Applying experience from previous but smaller BRT systems, the design for Transmilenio involved combining traditional transport modelling techniques with innovative proposals from our engineers. Our work included:
- developing an EMME/2 model to forecast demand;
- undertaking extensive data collection; and
- designing a system of segregated bus lanes, bus stations and interchange terminals.
We also provided advice on developing contractual relationships between the Transmilenio concession operators and feeder service providers, fare collection and operating control systems.