TransMilenio and Bikeways

An annotated selection of photographs showing dense personal vehicle traffic and pollution prior to 2001 and more open streets with busses and pedestrians as well as reduced pollution.

TransMilenio and Bikeways, Bogotá, Colombia, 1990–ongoing. Scale: 28170 acres. 8675 feet above sea level. Drawing: Annabel Grunebaum, Emily Menard, Somayeh Rezayi.

Enrique Peñalosa, was a two-term mayor of Bogotá. He served from 1998 to 2001 and again from 2016 to 2019. During his first term as mayor, he developed a bus rapid transit (BRT) system called the TransMilenio. The TransMilenio system replaced a Transportation Master Plan, including a metro system and elevated highways. The mayor rejected the metro plan as it would only serve residents in the city’s center, offering mobility to wealthy residents while neglecting the city’s periphery. The additional funds that were saved by operating the TransMilenio were used to build 155 miles of bike lanes, called CicloRuta, in the city that now move 5% of the city’s population. In addition to the bikeways and additional sidewalks, a series of parks and plazas were constructed across the city. The CicloRuta project was controversial for seizing land in front of private residents and building on the sidewalk, thus taking space away from landowners without changing the legal ownership of the bikeway. The TransMilenio is essentially a bus feeder system, with 104 stations and 1,000 buses, moving 43,000 passengers per hour in each direction. Some highways are designated bus-only, allowing for rapid public transportation on bus lines, which are cheaper to install than metro or rail systems. After 20 years, the TransMilenio system requires updates to infrastructure, especially the buses themselves, but the success of the system has shifted the city away from private vehicle ownership toward bike and transit ridership.


Peñalosa, Enrique. “Bogotá’s Experience in Sustainable City Development. Asian Development Park Knowledge Showcases: Regional Transport 2” (2008).


Jonna McKone, “TransMilenio: Ten Years Down the Line,” TheCityFix, December 22, 2010.

Tanya Snyder, “Enrique Peñalosa: Democracy Is Bus-Only Lanes and Protected Bikeways,” StreetsBlogUSA, December 9, 2013.