Santiago de Cali, or simply Cali, is a city of 2.4 million and the center of a metropolitan area of 3.4 million inhabitants in the South-West of Colombia. The country’s third largest City after Bogota and Medellin, it is also poised to become Colombia’s next globally recognized best practice in sustainable urban transport and development.
After coming into office in 2012, Mayor Guerrero quickly cancelled an urban motorway project through the City and replaced it with that of a green corridor integrating high-quality public transit, mixed-use and mixed-income urban redevelopment, and a ribbon of pedestrian and cycling-friendly public spaces and street improvements. Mayor Guerrero’s environmental and social vision for the City, symbolized by the Green Corridor, has enabled a strong technical and managerial staff to set Cali on a path for progress.
The city receives strategic support from the Ford Foundation’s Just Cities Initiative and from ITDP. Since 2013, ITDP has advised the city’s planners and implementers on improving walking, cycling and transit oriented development, and since 2014, on the system expansion, design, and operations adjustments to the city’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, MIO.
Walk, Cycling and Transit Oriented Development
Cali, an overall dense and compact city featuring a comprehensive BRT system, is well suited to implement the post-sprawl model of integrated sustainable urban transport and urban development that cities around the world all need. Cali’s potential was safe-guarded by the decision to cancel the construction of the urban motorway. It has been advanced by the 2014 adoption of a strategic land use plan for the City that is clearly informed by compact urban development principles. ITDP is helping to analyze the City’s other land use regulation and planning instruments to concretize the principles of the city-wide land use plan.
Bus Rapid Transit
Cali’s Integrated Mass Occidente bus system (MIO) opened its first BRT corridors in 2009 and grew to six corridors with a total of 42 km of dedicated BRT busways and 52 stations by 2012. The BRT is integrated with 240 km of off-BRT bus routes, direct services that partly use BRT corridors, and local feeders to BRT station. The full transition from a system of privately operated, competing minibuses with poor service, safety, environmental and efficiency records is in progress. The MIO currently serves 405,000 passengers/day or 72% of the city’s transit operations. Since December 2014, ITDP has been advising the MetroCali transport agency responsible for the MIO in identifying operational efficiency adjustments, route refinements, and revenue improvements on the operating segments, as well as in planning the implementation of the system’s next phases.