Followed by Windhoek (Namibia) and Curitiba (Brazil)
“We received many interesting nominations this year, but Santiago stood out for their wide range of achievements, and demonstrates the benefits of a strategic focus on improving walking conditions as a top priority,” said Michael Kodransky, Chair of the Sustainable Transport Award Committee.
Santiago, the Chilean capital with an urban population of five million, and a metro area population of over seven million, is a beautiful old-world city enjoying a modern day renaissance. In 2006, the city opened Transantiago, an efficient service and the backbone of its transport system, but has since lagged behind other cities in the region on cycling and walking.
« The revitalized Plaza de Armas ». Photo Credit: Claudio Olivares Medina
Santiago’s Calle Aillavilú, in the central market of the city, has been transformed from a derelict, car-congested and unregulated parking lot to a pedestrian-friendly oasis. The street was repaved, the lighting improved, new trees were planted, and most importantly, cars were removed. Except for the scheduled delivery of goods, no motorized traffic is allowed. Calle Placer, one of the busiest pedestrian streets during a popular weekend market, is now completely closed to cars on the weekends, with a 2.2 million USD investment by the city for improved sidewalks, lighting, and sanitation.
Other public space improvements include an investment in 100 sq meters of new green spaces in historic residential neighborhoods, revitalizing a previously abandoned area, and the re-design of the Historical Center’s main streets, featuring more sidewalk space, improved lighting, beautification, and a “complete streets” redesign for public transportexclusive corridors in the most active pedestrian zone in the country.
« A city education program to encourage a cycling culture early in life ». Photo Credit: Claudio Olivares Medina
The City has backed up these achievements with new sustainable transport policy changes and education programs. In April 2015, the National Ministry of Housing and Urbanism created a detailed standard of design for high quality cycle lanes, even piloting it in a major street near the presidential palace. The policy redistributes road spaces to create more space for cyclist. This standard was quickly adopted by Santiago, and the city has managed to increase cycling trips from a negligible 150 per day to over 5000 per day. This number is expected to increase with the growing popularity of BikeSantiago, the city’s bike share program, which is responsible for 50 percent of the increase. Santiago also gave support to BMov Trici, a free bicycle taxi in the historic city center operated by a private company, supported by advertising, that encourages cycle use and provides a non-motorized alternative to taxis. Santiago has adopted a pilot program of cycling games in kindergarten to help to introduce cycling early in life and a traffic education program at primary schools is helping to create better cyclist behavior.
Award ceremony in Washington DC in January 2017
Over the past year, Santiago made major improvements in pedestrian space, cycling, and public transit. Windhoek has modernized their bus system, and Curitiba improved access to the city for people with disabilities. All three cities will be honored at an award ceremony in Washington, DC in January 2017 during the Transport Research Board annual meeting.
The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy works with cities worldwide to bring about transport solutions that cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of urban life.
Cities throughout the world, primarily in developing countries, engage ITDP to provide technical advice on improving their transport systems. ITDP uses its know-how to influence policy and raise awareness globally of the role sustainable transport plays in tackling green house gas emissions, poverty and social inequality. This combination of pragmatic delivery with influencing policy and public attitudes defines our approach. Most recently, ITDP has been instrumental in designing and building the best bus rapid transit systems in the world.