Colombia´s NDC target is a 20% - 30% emission reduction against a business-as-usual scenario by 2030, depending on international support.
Policy Process in Colombia
The Colombian government’s resolve to promote sustainable transport initiatives is enshrined in the country’s National Development Plan (2014 – 2018) which clearly identifies non-motorized transport (such as bicycles and tricycles) as key to the improvement of transport systems in cities. The plan makes provision for the integration of non-motorized modes into the overall transportation systems in urban areas and at the national level. Again, as a measure to encourage sustainable transportation, the Colombian National Development Plan (2014 – 2018) advocates for the use of vehicle fuel which has the lowest environmental cost or impact, examples of which include electricity. The support of the National Government for the development of sustainable transport modes is also explicitly stated in measures such as; the establishment of tax and tariff systems by city authorities to minimize vehicular congestion and pollution. Funds accrued through the tax systems are expected to be channeled into financing road infrastructure and public transport projects that have environmental mitigation benefits. The plan aims to “implement clean technologies (hybrid vehicles run on gas or electricity) in public and private transportation vehicles and incorporate variables related to climate change within the structuring of projects” (Republic of Colombia, 2015b). Moreover, the plan encourages co-financing through Public-Private Partnership as a means to deliver urban public transport services and projects (Republic of Colombia, 2015b). Again, the existence of the Colombian National urban Transport Policy is favorable for the deployment of e-bike sharing systems in Ibagué. The policy was formulated to guide the development of urban transport in the country; promote the construction of bicycle infrastructure including well-connected bike lanes and bicycle parking areas in transport stations; encourage the implementation of public bike systems; and ensure the regulation and formalization of bike-taxi (Colombia Ministry of Transport, 2013).
Additionally, there exist other national policies and guidelines which encourage biking in Colombian cities. These include the following:
Policy guideline titled “Guide for Cycle-Infrastructure for Colombian Cities” issued by Ministry of Transport in 2016 to guide policy makers and implementers in the design and execution of bicycle infrastructure projects in Colombian cities. The guideline was prepared through in-depth research and comprehensive consultation with bicycle users, civil society, experts and public stakeholder institutions and authorities in Colombia (World Bank, 2016).
Colombia’s INDCs communicated to the UNFCCC in 2015, identified the transport sector as one of its six priority sectors which are expected to integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation innovation in planning and implementation (Republic of Colombia, 2015a).
The Colombian Ministry of Transport in its Sectorial Mitigation Action Plan (2014) for the transport sector, outlined several actions and programs to help promote sustainable transport. Notable among these is; the imposition of congestion and pollution charges in cities with population of more than 300,000; the promotion of quality vehicle fuel; and replacement of public and private transport fleets with electric technology (Colombia Ministry of Transport, 2013)
Mobility in Ibagué & Bogota
Ibagué Ibagué is the capital of Tolima (one of the 32 departments that constitute the Republic of Colombia) and has a surface area of 1,439 km2. The city is the 7th most populous city in Colombia (Procolombia, 2018). Ibagué was founded in its current location by the indigenous Pijaos in 1551, as a reaction to the establishment of the city a year prior by the Spanish colonial powers. The population of the municipality of Ibagué, including urban and rural areas, was estimated in 2015 to be 553,526 inhabitants, 523,068 of whom live in the urban area.
Transport At the national level, the development of sustainable transport modes such as e-bike sharing is supported by the Colombian Department of National Planning. The Institution incorporated the development of non-motorized transport in the formulation of the 2011-2014 plan as well as the 2014-2018 National Development plan as mentioned earlier in this paper. Also, the Colombian Ministry of Transport issues as part of its mandates, policy actions and guidelines to guide public transportation improvement and sustainability in cities. In the case of e-bike sharing, the Ministries of Transport as well as Mines and Energy can provide support in terms of technical guidance in the construction of bike parking facilities, public charging infrastructure and in the development of user information systems.
Local level support for the development of e-bike sharing systems will be expected from the Municipality of Ibagué which is responsible for the delivery of services that promote social, economic, cultural, environmental and territorial development of areas under its jurisdiction (Ibagué Municipality, 2018). As a key stakeholder, the Municipality can be instrumental in facilitating the initial consultations and engagements with other relevant stakeholders. Also, support activities including technical guidance and report of preliminary feasibility studies for the project can be sought from the Municipality.
Several local bus companies operate minibuses throughout the urban center of Ibagué and into its neighboring villages. Urban transport and mobility have become an essential concern for city authorities and planners, whose challenges have grown in recent years, especially with regards to improving sustainable transportation systems. fact-finding mission by the Dutch Cycling Embassy on cycling in Colombia reported that there is a steady growth in biking in major Colombian cities with the popularity of e-bikes also increasing over time (Berenschot and Urbanos, 2015). A 2017 report by C40 indicated that there has been an increase in stakeholder engagements in cycling initiatives in the city of Ibagué, such as critical mass riding events which are periodically organized to promote biking. These engagements have also manifested in the attention given to the development of non-motorised transport options such as bike-sharing in other Colombian cities, like Bogota and Medellin. (Cities Finance Facility, 2017). In an attempt to promote urban mobility, the Colombian Ministry of Transport in 2016, initiated a pilot project to encourage bike-sharing in 23 cities in the country, among which was the city of Ibagué (World Resources Institute, 2017). The Colombian government’s resolve to promote sustainable transport initiatives is enshrined in the country’s National Development Plan (2014 – 2018) which clearly identifies non-motorised transport (such as bicycles and tricycles) as key to the improvement of transport systems in cities. The plan makes provision for the integration of non-motorised modes into the overall transportation systems in urban areas and at the national level. Also, the plan supports the development and use of electricity as alternative fuel source for vehicles (Republic of Colombia, 2015b).
Bogota Bogota´s Transmilenio BRT System In 1995, 56% of daily trips made by citizens in Bogotá – Columbia’s capital and a city with around 6.5 million people - were by public transport. The city’s public trans-port fleet consisted of old buses and smaller vehicles (es- timated between 21,000 and 30,000 vehicles) which were very polluting, unsafe and provided a chaotic service. The combination of this with private vehicle travel (22%) led to high levels of congestion and bad air quality. Between 1988 and 1998 the municipality insistently discussed and submitted proposals for a mass transit system - with limited results. In 1998, however, the city began draft- ing a development plan that included constructing mass transport corridors with specialised infrastructure. The city hoped that through dedicated lanes and stations this would improve connectivity and travel times, and provide better accessibility to cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
In October 1999, after a series of political battles with members of the council and private operators, Bogotá created TransMilenio S.A., a transport agency. Its task was to plan, manage, coordinate and control the delivery of mass transport and create the TransMilenio BRT system. The first stage of the TransMilenio system was to construct 41 km of segregated bus lanes, to the cost of $240 million (€212.5 m), or around $5.85 million (€5.18 m) per km.When the first stage was completed, it provided serviceto around 800,000 passengers per day. Further stages included buying land and public spaces adjacent to the corridor, sidewalks and other improvements, at a cost of about $12.5 million per km (€11.07 m). Private operators paid the costs for the vehicle and fare-collection systems. In thefirst phase, funding was available through various sources, the largest through local fuel taxes (46%), federal grants (20%), a mix of other local funds (28%) and a loan pro- vided by the World Bank (6%). The third phase was completed in 2015 with the construction of a massive transfer station, which connects three mayor BRT lines, connecting up to 23,000 passengers per hour at the highest peak in the busiest direction. Nowadays, the TransMilenio BRT runsalong exclusive bus lanes, with a passing lane along mostof the network. The distance between stations ranges from around 500 metres, and access to them differs, such as by crosswalks in dense urban areas and grade-separated pe- destrian crossings (by using pedestrian bridges) in more suburban areas. In the downtown area, there is a section of the corridor, a low-speed zone, where buses and pedestrians coexist, proving that the BRT can be flexible accordingto each city’s needs.
Bogotá’s BRT has accomplished what no other city bus system has. It carries up to 48,000 passengers per hour in each direction, with an average speed of 26 km/ hr. Thanks to the high quality of the system design, it was completed at a fraction of the cost of a regular rail system. In its 15 years, it has become responsible for 40% of trips in the city and the main form of mobility in Bogotá. It currently serves over 1.9 million trips per day through an extension of 112 km of BRT lines. In 2014, Bogotá incorporated dual services, which comprise of buses with doorson both sides, which allow operation in the confined trunkcorridors as well as conventional routes. This addition has been a success as it increases the coverage of the BRT lines without requiring passengers to make transfers, providing a better service for customers. The target is to building the network, which Bogotá hopes will reach 388 km and serve up to 7 million passengers per day. More recently, the local administration received support from the national government to continue developing this plan, which includes implementing an integrated transport system - a series of public transport solutions within a city, integrated through its infrastructure, operation, and through the fare.
Electric Mobility in Ibagué
The deployment of e-bike sharing systems in Ibagué can be hampered by some challenges. Some of these impediments are highlighted by Berenschot and Urbanos (2015) who presented an overview of biking situation in Colombia; these include the following:
Inadequate bicycle parking facilities including public charging infrastructure for e-bikes
Multiple institutions and organizations involved in promoting cycling activities in Colombian cities; as such the level of coordination and collaboration is usually low.
Inadequate expertise in the management and operation of e-bike sharing systems especially at the city level
According toMartinez-Villegas (2018), the electricity mix in Colombia is composed of 66% hydro sources, 28% thermal and 6% self-generating plants. It is estimated that electricity generated from hydro sources during years of heavy rains constitutes about 80% of total generation; whilst a reverse situation occurs in drought years where 55% of total generation comes from thermal sources. In order to ensure stability in its electricity generation, the Government of Colombia through its Ministry of Mines and Energy plans to increase the share of non-conventional renewable sources in its electricity mix (such as wind and solar) to 6.5% by 2020; and in the long-term achieve equal generation between hydro, thermal and non-conventional renewable sources (Roy, 2017, Martinez-Villegas, 2018). The electricity sector in Colombia is unbundled into generation, transmission, distribution and commercialization. The country’s energy sector is regulated by national laws: - Public Services Law (142) and Electricity Law (143) which were promulgated in 1994. The Energy and Gas Regulatory Commission (CREG) is the national institution mandated to regulate activities within the sector (Colombia Ministry of Mines and Energy, 2018). The figure below illustrates the structure and key players in the electricity sector of Colombia.
Colombia’s commitment to developing sustainable transportation as indicated in its INDCs to UNFCCC sets a positive tone for the implementation of e-bike sharing systems which are considered as environmentally sound transport innovative with benefits for enhancing mobility in urban areas. Establishing e-bikes sharing systems in Ibagué is therefore a feasible innovation as it fits into government’s agenda on promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. Since there already exists some level of stakeholder engagements on biking activities as well as government-initiated projects to promote bike-sharing in Ibagué, taking-off with e-bike sharing will only possibly involve the acquisition of e-bikes stock, installation of charging infrastructure at strategic locations in transport stations, and developing user information for riders. Mobilization of the necessary resources and engagements with key stakeholders can be done throughout 2019 whilst actual implementation involving the aforementioned actions can start by 2020.