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AVANTIA Project: Towards a More Sustainable, Better Connected and More Gender-Equitable Bogotá

bogota avantia
Photo: Patricia Pascau - View of Bogotá from the Monserrate lookout point.

[This text has been written by Lucia Massini, Global Development Coordinator at ISGlobal, and Patricia Pascau, Global Development Project Manager at ISGlobal]

Bogotá, the immense Colombian capital, has plans for the future. This city of 9 million inhabitants—nearly 12 million, if you count the entire metropolitan area—wants to improve its air quality, develop a more sustainable mobility system and promote gender equality. With these goals in mind, Bogotá has launched a project called AVANTIA, whose name stands for Advancing Towards Transport for Equality and the Environment in Spanish. Over the next three years, the Bogotá Mayor’s Office, the Madrid City Council, ISGlobal and the World Association of the Major Metropolises (Metropolis), which is heading up the project, will work together to develop efficient and innovative solutions to make Bogotá more attentive to the issue of gender equality, easier to get around efficiently and sustainably, and a healthier place for inhabitants to live, thanks to better air quality.

In July, we travelled to Bogotá for the official launch of AVANTIA, which is co-funded by the European Union under its Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities (CSO-LA) programme. Over the course of four intense days, we learned about various initiatives that the city is starting to roll out as part of this project.

Bogotá has an air-quality measurement network and a collaborative network of air-quality microsensors that can now be expanded thanks to AVANTIA. The idea is to increase the number of microsensors, and to do so by involving the people of Bogotá through citizen science initiatives. This means getting people to participate so that they can learn to interpret the air-quality data they help to collect, thereby empowering them to address an issue that affects them directly. ISGlobal’s contribution to the project will be to share its knowledge and experience in this area.

Visit to one of Bogotá’s fixed air-quality measurement stations.

Bogotá has also developed a land-use plan that provides an ambitious roadmap for the city’s sustainable development over the next 14 years. The plan aims to improve the Colombian capital in a number of areas, including health, economy, employment, environment, housing and equality. On the subject of mobility, the plan calls for the construction of five metro lines, two trams and seven aerial gondola cables, as well as a gradual shift towards a non-polluting transport network, with the aim of reaching climate neutrality—i.e., achieving net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by ensuring that the emitted gases are equal to or less than those removed through the planet’s natural absorption—by 2050. It is worth noting that Bogotá does not currently have a metro network, despite being a densely populated city. It has compensated for this shortcoming by a developing bus rapid transit network known as TransMilenio (the name of the operating entity).


Juan Gabriel Sepúlveda Corzo, from the District Secretariat of Mobility in the Bogotá Mayor’s Office, gives an overview of the land-use plan.

Bogotá is also developing pioneering initiatives to guarantee the safety of women during their journeys around the city and to ensure gender equality in hiring practices for transport network staff.

Presentation of the AVANTIA project at the Bogotá Mayor’s Office.

Another area in which AVANTIA will help to promote sustainable mobility is the Bogotá cycling route network, which already includes 600 km of bicycle-friendly roads. The network is equipped with a system of bicycle counters and includes cycle tracks that are physically separated from the roadway as well as paths through public parks that are shared with pedestrians.

Cyclists listen to Sebastián Posada García, from the District Secretariat of Mobility, next to one of the new bicycle rental stations.

The official presentation of AVANTIA took place during the annual meeting of the Metropolis Board of Directors. Representatives of all entities involved in the project took part in the launch event, as did the Cooperation Officer of the European Union Delegation to Colombia and Claudia López, Mayor of Bogotá and President of Metropolis.

Three years of collaborative work now lie ahead. We hope to contribute to the sustainable development of Bogotá by sharing ISGlobal’s extensive experience in urban health, citizen science and global development with our partners on this project.

AVANTIA is a project co-funded by European Union: