For years, the Colombian capital, Bogota, has been striving to develop a more sustainable transportation system within the city, and in the process has earned itself international praise for its success in developing a bus rapid transit system, bike corridors, and restrictions on private cars. So it seemed like only a matter of time before the country’s second-largest city, Medellín, began to green its own transportation system.
In 2006, Medellín opened Metrocable to link the hillier parts of the city to its metro system. The success of that tramway, also known as a gondola lift or cable car – as well as the two additional tramway lines that have been built since then – provided primarily lower-income hilly neighborhoods with a faster, safer, cheaper, and cleaner way to get into the city center and to the rest of Medellín.
In 2010, following these successes, Medellín received US$250 million in loans from France’s AFD to finance another tramway that will link the neighborhoods east of the city center to the rest of the public transportation system. This Ayacucho tramway is scheduled to be completed in 2014 and will help the city continue to pursue its goal of an integrated and sustainable transportation network. The new lines will also aid in Colombia’s broader efforts to identify and develop Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions – an effort in which international funding has been key.
In addition to local benefits like construction jobs, reduced health problems from air pollution, and easier commutes, enabling residents to shift away from using private cars, taxis, and older buses will have global benefits. The tramway extension is estimated to reduce emissions by on average 15,511 tonnes CO2e each year between 2010 and 2013.
The Swiss organization myclimate has also been instrumental in the Ayacucho tramway project by developing it as a CDM project – called Cable Cars Metro Medellín, Colombia – so that the carbon offsets it generates can be sold.