'Talking about Mobility and Urbanism' is one of our social initiatives, which is based on opinion-forming articles written by Carlos A. Gonzalez G, director of M&U Movilidad y Urbanismo, and published in several prestigious printed media in Colombia. This initiative is part of our commitment to a real Social and Environmental Responsibility in our firm. In particular, this series of articles aims to contribute to a better judgment and enhance citizen participation in these topics. Similarly, other academic articles and technical reports are included in this section for the interest of a more specialized audience.

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Other articles published in 2011

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 2 ene. 2012 2:10 por Carlos A. Gonzalez G.   [ actualizado el 5 dic. 2012 8:49 ]

Other articles published by Carlos A. González Guzmán in 2011.
At the moment, all these articles are only available in Spanish.

  • Transport and infrastructure projects and their contribution to sustainable mobility and local governance: the case of Cali, Colombia (+ Read)
  • Clean congestion: The new euphemism (+ Read)
  • Social urbanism and sustainable mobility in Bogotá (+ Read)
  • Politics and urban mobility (+ Read)
  • Gentrification and other urban exorcisms (+ Read)
  • Road space reallocation according to car congestion externalities (+ Read)
  • The "dilemma" of the urban mobility (+ Read)
  • Transport, property value increases and urban renewal (+ Read)
  • MIO: A rough diamond (+ Read)
  • Reflections on the challenges regarding the mobility in Cali (+ Read)
  • Urbanism arrives in Cali (+ Read)
  • The "enigma" of the accident rate on the roads (+ Read)
  • Sustainable mobility and urban trade: Water and oil? (+ Read)
  • Sustainable mobility in Colombian cities? (+ Read)
  • Urban mobility: an alternative perspective (+ Read)
  • Was every bygone day better? (+ Read)
  • The circle of the urban immobility (+ Read)


publicado a la‎(s)‎ 2 ene. 2012 1:18 por Carlos A. Gonzalez G.   [ actualizado el 5 feb. 2012 16:01 ]

Carlos A. González G

'El País' Newspaper
Print Edition, Entorno Section, Page A3
Cali-Colombia. 4th January 2011

Opinion article

Original title: 'Repensemos el corredor férreo'

The idea of carrying out the Christmas lighting at the old and forgotten railway corridor of the city of Cali has been useful to remember its importance as a public space and as a mobility axis. Beyond it being an ephemeral Christmas park, this corridor should be rethought from its great potential of becoming the most impressing longitudinal park of the country, and from its strategic characteristic for the metropolitan mobility.

This important urban space, that crosses the city from North to South in a straight line, has remained abandoned since the seventies after the regrettable disappearance of the Pacific railway system. In 1997, the spotlights focused again on the corridor with the failed initiative of implementing a metropolitan train line connecting Cali with the municipalities of Yumbo and Jamundí,. Recently, it hit the headlines again thanks to the decision of Cali’s town hall to use this space to set up the splendid Christmas lighting which attracts thousands of visitors every year. The required question is: What can be done to recover this space permanently for the city?

Distinguished city-planners have proposed several alternatives to intervene a first stretch of 1,8 Km (next to calle 25, between carrera 1 and carrera 15). Some of the proposals are the use of the old railway warehouses to house cultural and commercial activities as well as a thematic museum, the development of a great longitudinal park and the conversion of the old Molino Roncallo building into a public library, among others.

Meanwhile, the great proposal of the mayoralty is to build the Bicentenario Motorway (+ Video) on this corridor, with the hackneyed argument “the competitiveness, the social cohesion and the meeting place for Cali´s citizens”. Only some reflections: How many of you do really think that the 91 000 million Colombian Pesos COP(1) that will be spent this year for the construction of the two over-pass intersections for the present South-Eastern Motorway will in fact compensate for the accelerated vehicle increase, improving the mobility and ensuring the city´s competitiveness? Meeting and enjoyment places? How many of you take your children to play under one of the noisy and smoky overpasses of the city? Think it through well.

It is more sensible for the city to aim for a more efficient use of the road infrastructure, a rational use of the private vehicle and the consolidation of an extensive public transport network with high quality and reliability standards. So, as citizens we should bet on turning the entire old railway corridor into the first “Green Corridor” of Cali, an innovative proposal where public space, sustainable mobility and cultural activity are combined.

Our first challenge is to understand that the implementation of a huge and emblematic longitudinal park, liven up with several cultural activities, a cycling route for daily mobility and for leisure, and an attractive metropolitan massive transport system (Bus Rapid Transit system, tram or a light train); would contribute much more to the city than the idea of giving up “our corridor” for the private sector to build “their motorway” in the middle of the town centre.

Let us rethink the city we wish for tomorrow. While an innovative space such as the “Green Corridor” is a dream for many cities around the world, a motorway such as the Bicentenario has been a nightmare for many others.


This is a translation of the original version in Spanish entitled 'Repensemos el corredor férreo'. The opinions expressed in this article are solely responsibility of the author and they do not compromise the point of view of any related institution. (1) COP 91 000 million = EU 34.9 million = USD 47.5 million = GBP 29.3 million (Source: OANDA, Febr. 2011)

+ Link to this article on the website of El País Newspaper


publicado a la‎(s)‎ 2 ene. 2012 1:06 por Carlos A. Gonzalez G.   [ actualizado el 5 feb. 2012 16:02 ]

Carlos A. González G

'Dinero' Magazine
Digital Edition, Opinion Section
Colombia. 3rd January 2011

Opinion article

Original title: 'Movilidad urbana: una década agridulce'

A decade has passed since the first Bus Rapid Transit system of the country, Transmilenio, was inaugurated with the hope of becoming a great relief for the mobility problems of Bogotá. Even if for the Capital District and for some other main cities that followed its steps, the results have been positive regarding the improvement of the public transport, the increasing traffic chaos which continues dominating our cities generates a strange bittersweet taste.

The law known as “The Metro Law”, formally, the Law 310 of 1996 of the Colombian Congress, opened an interesting opportunity for several cities to implement new massive transport systems, which would be financed jointly with the National Government, in order to finally leave behind the aberrant scenario perpetuated for decades by the traditional public transport system. The philosophy behind this law was clear: to discourage the generalized use of the private vehicle, to achieve a more efficient use of the road space and to promote the use of the optimized public transport. So, several initiatives to implement Bus Rapid Transit systems (BRT) did not take long to come to the fore. Some of the most relevant are the Transmilenio system of Bogotá, The Megabus of Pereira, The MIO of Cali, The Metrolinea of Bucaramanga, The Transmetro of Barranquilla, Metroplús of Medellin and Transcaribe of Cartagena, among others.

At that time, an optimist would have predicted a great improvement of the mobility in our cities, while a realist connoisseur of the Colombian context, would have been able to predict, in great detail, the scenario which finally materialized during these years. The poor planning, the inefficiency and the lack of transparency of the local governments; the harmful improvisation of the entities in charge of the management and the operation of the massive transport systems; and the disastrous pressure and the fraudulent activity of the, colloquially known, “mafia” of the traditional public transport; ended up blocking projects of such an importance for the urban mobility. At present, while the attack against the BRT systems which are operating is focalized towards its financial sustainability and its expansion projects, the attack against others which are still in the process of being implemented, such as the ones of Medellín and Cartagena, aims at keeping them in the limbo as long as possible.

However, supposing that all the BRT systems had been successfully developed, would the urban mobility be significantly better today than ten years ago? Probably not. This would be the most prudent answer to a question of such a magnitude if the answer had to be based on an isolated action of the BRT system. And, so, since there is not a single technical answer to the mobility problems, it can also not be hoped for that a partial action should be able to provide integral solutions. In the same way, the long-awaited panacea that will make the congestion disappear from our chaotic cities does not exist among the available transports systems and mobility management measures.

Without a doubt, not to undertake these massive transport projects would have been and would be a huge mistake, but what is needed to significantly mitigate the mobility problems, which have seriously worsened with the accelerated growth of the private vehicle, are Integral Strategies and not isolated measures and “star” projects. This implies a wide range of measures which in an integrated way are directed towards the rationalization of the use of the private vehicle, the efficient use of the road infrastructure, the transport intermodality, and the promotion of the public transport and of the non mechanized modes.

Even if some people, with a questionable criterion, state that everything has already been tried out and that there is nothing one can do to save our “hopeless” cities, the truth is that they could not be more mistaken since the reality is that what has been done up to the moment is very little. Furthermore, there has been an absence of a technical ability to design and to implement effective strategies that combine the adequate measures and, of course, the political will which continues being elusive. So, the challenge to improve the mobility in our cities requires a rigorous planning, a serious structuring of the projects, an intelligent use of the transport demand management measures, a greater integration of transport planning and of urban-regional planning, an institutional strengthening and the consolidation of a single authority of metropolitan transport, among many other actions which, at the moment, are distinctly absent.

Otherwise, while we continue believing in the empty speech of the traditional politicians, in the “white elephants” announced as development monuments, in the magic wands that produce money from empty hats, in the ‘ultramodern’ motorways which disintegrate the congestion on the spot and forever, and in the metros which only work well on paper; we will be inevitably destined to another decade of urban immobility, however, even more bitter and less sweet than the previous one.


This is a translation of the original version in Spanish entitled 'Movilidad urbana: una década agridulce'. The opinions expressed in this article are solely responsibility of the author and they do not compromise the point of view of any related institution.

+ Link to this article on the website of Dinero Magazine

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