Colombia has recently undergone a peace process that has brought to an end 50 years of conflict, the oldest in the Americas and in the western hemisphere. This has created a unique environment where the nation is looking to undertake ambitious projects not only to rebuild, but also to bring its people together and build a brighter future. With transportation being such an important backbone to our civilisation and culture a question emerged. Can transportation be used as a tool to help the peace ?
In order to tackle such a complex problem, a modified double diamond method was implemented, this allowed for a clear understanding of multiple areas such as transportation and its future conflict and its effects on Colombia. starting with a research question, evolving from deep understanding to ideation that ultimately lead to a preliminary design concept that was shared with stakeholders, Finally with the inputs and revisiting the design concept a final desgin strategy is developed.
Located 1.6 miles above sea level, Bogotá is the cultural, political & economic capital of Colombia. Having the largest population of the country, with roughly 8 million people in 685mi², the city has struggled with transportation for years.
At the turn of the millennium Bogotá, desperately needing to implement a truly massive transportation system, built out one of the largest Bus Rapid Transit Systems (BRT) in the world called Trasmilenio. The project symbolized the city’s ambition to become a global player, and brought what is normally a very divided population together to build a system that for many years was the pride of the city and one that many major metropolitan cities of the world emulated.
In order to adequately understand the culture, needs and wants of its people and the stakeholders, there was extensive primary and secondary research. From a transportation perspective, understanding the current transportation services offered both at a private and public level, where looked into as well as the upcoming trends such as ride sharing, electrification and automation.
Since this project is encompassed within an active peace process, understanding its natural course and key elements was essential to the development of this project. After extensive research and the study of previous conflicts and their peace process, a clear understanding of the life cycle of conflict was generated; this allowed for the project to properly understand its place an appropriate time for deployment. During this research, there was also an important understanding of the elements required in order for a successful process.
Colombia is in a Post Conflict stage and it is currently undertaken on a peace process to reach a stable and long lasting peace. In order to achieve this goal, there must be a project that touch key element that help bring about peace.
The trends of automation, electrification, and ride-hailing generate a compelling relationship between the Government, its Citizens, and the Mobility Providers. Each part needs give and receive something from one another and in order to generate a truly beneficial relationship each must give, receive and collaborate.
After Careful analysis it was determined that the government, who has the obligation to offer public transportation, should focus specifically on building heavy infrastructure such as BRT extension lines and the metro and metro cable. Its domain focuses on a macro system at a city wide impact. Mobility Provider could enter a focus on local or micro movement inside the cities localities and neighbourhoods, and area where the current bus services lacks. The Citizens would have access to these two system and be the most benefited.
Tequendama is a local waterfall, it is also said to be named after a
Instead of trying the traditional set of mobility solutions, Tequendama approaches mobility from a different and unique angle.
Understanding the local context and the connection that the old informal routes have with the community, leverages mobility that the community actually wants and knows, instead of trying to replace them. Tequendama does not shy away from implementing new technology, it does it in a way that fits the community’s needs.
This unique approach understands that at a local level, traditional efficiency is not as valuable as convenience and social efficiency. As the system expands to cover more area, order starts to be more important, and from disorder order is generated.
The Government would bring forward an official and legal aspect to the agency since the goverment is better suited to develop heavy infrastructure large impact project such as the Metro, BRT and Metro Cable where efficiency is the name of the game. Rebuilding and improving the Infrastructure would also be attractive to the government being able to show visible development to its people and modernising the city.
Mobility providers, would be allowed to offer their private subscription & ride hailing services, with the added bonus of offering direct and seamless integration to public transportation; the ride hailing vehicles would also be better fitted to offer micro movement within a certain neighbourhood or locality; since these vehicles are most likely autonomous or have some self driving capability data would be collected.
The citizens would be the key and the differentiating factor in this new agency; besides being users of such services they would be the interpreters or sense makers that would make Tequendama function so well. Pooling the information/data from the autonomous vehicles and connected infrastructure it would be the citizens, at a local level, the ones being able to draw and dictate the paths that they want; these would be enhanced by the machine but the will fo the citizens would always be respected.
Tequendama is a multi-decade program, that relies on the development of not only technology but also the social and political climates of Colombia. Since this system is encompassed within an active, ongoing peace process and embraces colloquial and cultural aspects of the city, this kind of transition must be done in stages.
The deployment strategy also considered that if this system is not only addressing mobility issues but also be a proactive tool that promotes peace, it must facilitate the citizens to not only interact with the system but also showcase the benefit to the government and mobility providers.
The objective of the Pilot is to prove Tequendama´s value and how it can integrate not only with the current but future transportation systems. La Candelaria, one of the city’s oldest yet most progressive localities, is home to many universities, governmental institutions and a famous touristic area.
This area is also well connected to the BRT system and has many poorly utilised “Blue Buses” routes, that enter the locality; with in this area there are also many informal transportation services that are being used and preferred by the locals.
The Pilot proposes a vehicle that is sensible for the terrain and architecture of the area; it would be a small autonomous vehicle that even though could run effect routes, chooses to follow the vernacular routes integrating into the community and respects the mobility culture of the area. With the aim of high ridership, demand for such service in other localities and the blessing of the people this autonomous service can start to intigrate into the city.