From Bikes Not Bombs to Global Transformations
In 1984, ITDP founder Michael Replogle had a simple, but novel idea as a response to the US-led bombing campaign of Nicaragua: send bikes, not bombs*, as a form of humanitarian aid to people who desperately needed mobility, such as teachers and healthcare workers in rural areas. “We set out to organize bike clubs and churches to donate secondhand bicycles as a way of empowering ordinary American citizens who felt helpless to stop the actions of their government,” says Replogle, “and also as way to demonstrate how basic mobility can massively improve quality of life.”
The Institute for Transportation & Development Policy was incorporated the following year, and quickly grew beyond Nicaragua, to efforts to reform the transport policies of the US government and the World Bank. “Through conference sessions, publications and letter writing campaigns, our small team challenged the World Bank and other institutions to pay attention to bicycling and walking and the transport needs of the poor,” says Replogle, “Gradually, we made progress.” For details on that progress, check out the timeline for more details on that progress.
*Bikes Not Bombs, the group that launched ITDP, is now based in Boston: bikesnotbombs.org.