Medellin, CO wins 2012 Sustainable Transport Award


The public transportation system in Medellín, Colombia, has proven to be one of the most successful transit systems in the world. It not only reduces the city’s energy consumption and carbon footprint, making the city more environmentally sustainable, but also drives positive social and economic change for Medellín as a whole. Medellín received the 2012 Sustainable Transport Award from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. ITDP is a global consortium of organizations that works with cities worldwide, mainly in developing countries, to provide solutions for their public transportation systems, tackling carbon emissions, poverty, and social inequality. The previous award winners are Guangzhou, China, in 2011 and Ahmedabad, India, in 2010.

The Metro de Medellín system was funded by a public/private partnership led by the city and took 10 years to complete, with the last major expansion finishing in 2006. The Metro serves as the core of the city’s public transportation system, and its network of clean and efficient cars carries 553,000 passengers daily. It is estimated that the Metro system saves 175,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to planting 380,000 trees on 11 percent of the city’s land. The system also saves the city US$1.5 billion annually in respiratory health costs due to improved air quality, and $4 billion in avoided traffic accidents and congestion.

Additional strategies have been implemented to improve the environmental sustainability of Medellín’s public transit system. The Urbano Integral project provides people with easy access to 320,000 square meters of green space. A website,, was designed to help users estimate their carbon savings, commute time, and monetary savings from using the new Metro system. The city developed a public bike-sharing program, EnCicla, that connects universities to mass transit, along with other key destinations in the city. A growing carpooling program, comparte tu carro, was initiated that currently includes 171 institutions. Also, the city plans to improve vehicle exhaust and sulfur emission control and to transition the taxi fleet to a natural gas fuel base.

via ColombiaEcoTravel