Home » elevated subway vs. underground: one is intrusive and the other is very expensive

elevated subway vs. underground: one is intrusive and the other is very expensive

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elevated subway vs.  underground: one is intrusive and the other is very expensive

elevated subway vs. underground: one is intrusive and the other is very expensive

Paula Torres

January 30, 2023 – 5:00 AM

Bogotá has been the epicenter of multiple strategies for the implementation of sustainable models in terms of mobility, infrastructure and other factors necessary to improve the quality of life of the capital.

Under this premise, the mayoress of Bogotá, Claudia López, announced Mobility Week 2023; Day that takes place within the framework of Car Free Day that is celebrated this Thursday, February 2.

In this sense, EL NUEVO SIGLO spoke with Eric Miller, an international mobility expert who will be part of the Week’s dialogue tables.

Miller, former chair of the US Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Travel Behavior and Values, emeritus member of TRB’s Transportation Demand Forecasting Committee, and past president of the International Association for Travel Behavior Research (Iatbr), was also part of the Committee of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States for the determination of the state of the practice in the forecast of trips in the metropolitan area. She has chaired or been a member of numerous travel demand modeling peer review panels throughout North America.

THE NEW CENTURY: Based on your experience, what do you think is the current panorama of mobility in Bogotá?

ERIC MILLER: Although up to now I don’t know Bogotá personally, I have seen some projects that they have, for example, on bicycle issues. I have been working together with the World Bank and the CAF-Development Bank of Latin America around the expectations of knowing the mobility of Bogotá.

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ENS: What challenges does implementing a sustainable mobility model represent in a city like Bogotá?

EM: It is a very good question because most of the conversations that we will have in the Week for Sustainable Mobility will revolve around that. A first challenge is the issue of how cities are being built both in Latin America and in North America.

Cities and streets are built and designed for vehicles, not for people. It is not possible to rebuild cities again, so it is time, based on what exists, to see how to improve the mobility of the city.

The second challenge is the implementation of the 15-minute cities. It is necessary to know neighborhood by neighborhood, what specifications it has around it and what needs can be met so that people can move in their environment by means of bicycles or walking and avoid using the car a bit to improve mobility.

The third challenge is to find how to improve the use of the streets. The streets have many purposes beyond that they are only for cars or buses, a way must be found to connect the issue of pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles, improving the use of the streets to maximize their use.

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ENS: Do you think it is viable and necessary to implement a metro in Bogotá?

EM: Yes, the metro is necessary in Bogotá. There are two levels to consider: the macro level and the micro level. The macro level, understood as the structure of the entire city, the way to connect it to both the population and the different companies and so on. The micro level, which is related to the issue of how to interconnect neighborhoods, so that within the same neighborhood all the needs that are at the micro level can be satisfied.

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Although with 15 minutes it requires that everything be within the same environment, it cannot be achieved and longer distance trips are needed, which is a bit the issue of why the subway is needed. A way must be found to avoid the use of the car and the metro is the option for Bogotá to improve its response capacity to these long trips, which will also be connected with local buses, with transportation systems, for example, of bikes with the micro level as such.

ENS: If so, do you think this meter should be elevated or underground?

EM: It’s funny, the question is very good because right now in Toronto, which is where I am currently, there is a controversy because the government is building a new subway line and they are concerned because they want one part to be raised and they want another part to be underground. So the population is concerned about the fact that it is elevated and not underground.

Compared to Bogotá, that really depends on the local situation of the city and the local geography. In general, I think that the subways are better, because if there is an elevated subway, it will affect neighborhoods and neighborhoods.

The elevated metro is very intrusive for neighborhoods, but the problem with being underground is that it is more expensive. If it is done underground, we return to the point that we mentioned before that the use of the streets can be improved.

ENS: How can Bogotanos contribute to the sustainable mobility model?

The support of the citizenry is required for the programs that the rulers have. For example, the governor may have a very good idea but if the political support of the citizens is not received, it is very difficult to contribute.

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Likewise, the contribution of Bogotanos is reflected in the use of these transport systems once they are available, be it the bike transport system that was recently inaugurated or other sustainable alternatives.

Lastly, citizens should be listened to on the issue of how to improve mobility in their neighborhoods or in the city, they know what they need in their neighborhood. Both in Bogotá and in Toronto, it happens that people are a little reluctant to change but have a dialogue regarding the proposals.

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