Medellín has wagered on the modernization of the public transport system in order to motivate its use over private vehicles, reduce travel times and contribute to sustainable mobility and environmental care.
Every day, citizens of the world seek greater connectivity and information in real time to make good use of public transportation and, thus, plan their time better. In Medellín, the application of technology to improve mobility processes is already a reality. A clear example of this is found in the execution of the Collective Transport System (TPM, for its acronym in Spanish) reorganization project. Intelligent Bus Stops were implemented and have information panels with numbers, names, lines and route maps with authorized stops. They also include the most relevant points in the routes and their estimated arrival time at each one of the bus stops. Also, they have braille plaques for non-seeing travelers.
TPMED, the official smart device app for public transport and mobility in Medellín is another good use of technology so that citizens can depend on clear, precise and verified data and can plan and program their trips. Travelers can access maps of the city’s transport means with routes and stops, trajectories from one point to another, as well as amounts and times, in order to make decisions at the time of their move.
“To think of Medellín is to think about what is possible. It’s thinking about public transportation, in the Metrocable, in the Tram, in social inclusion. Is to think about challenges turned into opportunities.”.
President of the Inter-American Development Bank (Idb)
Like the Metro, Metrocable and the Tram, the totality of the integrated bus routes were added to the electronic payment system, another good example of the use of technology in mobility processes. Users can access all the transport services the Metro system offers by paying with their “tarjeta Cívica” and with no need for cash, saving users approximately COP 80,000 a month.
As part of its wager for more environmentally responsible mobility, the city has implemented modern technology on 4,426 traffic lights, which reduce energy consumption by 20%. A lesser caliber cable system of traffic lights that in no way affects the quality of the service was implemented. This new technology, in addition to being environmentally friendly, reduces maintenance costs and product waste. The challenge for 2020 is for all traffic lights of Medellín to be low-energy consumption.
In order to carry out this great strategy of placing technology at the service of mobility, a consensus effort among the key system actors is necessary: Área Metropolitana del Valle
de Aburrá, the Empresa de Seguridad Urbana (ESU), TIGO-EPM providing internet service
and connectivity, CAS Mobiliario – for bus stops and agent responsible for the installation, adaptation, maintenance and reposition of urban furniture – and, of course, the Medellín Secretariat of Mobility, as well as the collective public transportation companies.
Electric Mobility at the Service of Public Transportation
Today, Medellín enjoys the first mass transit system in Colombia with 30 natural gas vehicles, 65 electric buses and 47 gas fueled buses. The use of clean fuels allows for sustainable urban planning and a better air quality.
These vehicles run lines 1 and 2 of the BRT system and the new Avenida 80 line, from the La Palma station of the Metroplus, to the Caribe station of the Metro, one that will connect public and private universities in this corridor. The new fleet will contribute to the reduction of at least 7,000 tons of emissions of carbon dioxide in the air.
Also, the Medellín Mayor’s Office is promoting the acquisition of 1,500 public service vehicles with electric technology during the next three years. To reach this goal, city administration opened a registration platform, so that gasoline taxi owners register and receive a bonus to exchange their cabs for zero emission vehicles. Results are happening: the first electric taxis began traveling the city in September of 2019.
Technologies for improvement of mobility in Medellín
- Physical and technological adaptation of 383 intelligent bus stops with user information
- Public transportation systems for citizens through a mobile app for cell phones and intelligent bus stops
- Platform for the Fleet Management and Control System to generate content directed toward information transmission that is projected on LED screens and apps in mobile devices
- These new technologies benefit inhabitants and visitors in Medellín, as well as public transport companies
for the optimization of processes and routes.
Cooperation with South Korea
In June of 2018, the Korean Minister of Territory, Infrastructure and Transportation, Paek Seung Gun, and the Medellín Mayor, Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga, signed a letter for the exchange of cooperation with the aim of carrying out a project of Urban Transport Improvement. As a result of this process, the city received the highest amount of cooperation resources ever given in its history, USD 12.5 million, in November of 2018.
For the implementation of this project, both the Medellín Mayor’s Office and the Korean Government have worked on three fronts:
- Construction and improvement of an integrated traffic information center among the Metro system, the Empresa de Seguridad Urbana and the Mobility Secretariat.
- Implementation of a pilot project for the management of regulated and systemized vehicular parking.
- Development of intelligent transportation training program for employees of the Secretariat of Mobility.