It is evident that the city needs to move forward with the different mass transportation projects planned for the city (including subway lines, aerial cable projects and new BRT trunk lines), considering that the road network is insufficient, traffic is collapsed, and also taking into account that those inhabitants who have the possibility to travel by private vehicle, give priority to this means of transport, since it is perceived that the public transport network is overloaded, ergo congested and does not provide users with the safety, reliability or comfort that can compete with the use of private vehicles.All of the above problems, which are well known and are replicated in most large metropolitan areas, stem from the need for inhabitants to travel long distances in the city, to move from distant points in the city on a regular basis. Most of the trips that generate heavy congestion in the morning and evening rush hours are forced trips, or those trips that citizens must make every morning and evening on workdays to commute to their places of work or study.For citizens, in most cases, these destinations are not optional since, in general, the residential sectors are located in the outskirts of the city, while the sectors that concentrate the largest number of workplaces and university centers are located in the most central sectors of the city. In this way, pendular traffic dynamics are generated, in which during the morning rush hour there are important flows from the periphery to the center, and during the afternoon rush hour traffic flows move from the center to the peripheries.Notwithstanding the need and urgency to expand and strengthen the mass transit network to solve these forced long-distance trips in the city, there are several strategies that can be implemented with the objective of reducing the number of these trips that require the use of mass transit routes.
The 15-Minute City is an urban planning concept that proposes the need for urban development in large metropolitan areas to be oriented towards a polycentric city, in which most of the services (commerce, health care, primary and secondary education, religious sites, recreational and sports facilities, leisure activities, etc.) required by the inhabitants in their daily lives can be found within 15 minutes of their place of residence.
This concept of the 15-Minute City was outlined by Colombian urban planner Carlos Moreno, who was an advisor to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo since 2014, and who renewed her mandate in 2020. Precisely in 2020, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, most cities around the world had to implement mobility restriction measures for several months, taking into account that mass transportation systems could be an important focus of contagion and spread of the virus. Based on the above, the concept of the 15-Minute City became relevant, both in Paris and in several cities around the world, as it became evident how important it was for citizens to have all the necessary services for the functioning of daily life without the need to enter the mass transit system or use a private vehicle.
The importance of this concept for mobility in cities such as Bogotá lies in the possibility that many of the long trips that are made, whether by public transport or private vehicle, could be avoided and thus avoid overloading the system, if citizens have the possibility of carrying out most of their activities in the local environment; the 15-minute concept is illustrative for those trips that people are willing to make on foot, by bicycle, or on other means of micro mobility such as skateboards or scooters, and which would take between 15 and 20 minutes to complete.
Another relevant strategy for decongesting the vehicular network and improving the use of mass transit systems has to do with the first and last mile; the city must offer mass transit users sufficient alternatives to travel to and from mass transit stations, in cases where these stations are not located within a short distance from the destination point. The importance of alternatives to travel the first and last mile is, on the one hand, to facilitate these routes for regular users of mass transit, and on the other hand, to encourage regular users of private vehicles to use mass transit, offering an integrated system (first/last mile + mass transit) that clearly competes with the use of private vehicles. To solve these journeys, systems such as city-rented bicycles, bicycle cabs, or feeder routes are already being implemented.
These two scales of planning for cities, the metropolitan scale of the mass transit network and the local scale of the City of 15 Minutes, must be thought and planned simultaneously and with the same relevance to ensure that mobility, in all types of trips and at any time of the day, flows in a better way and the infrastructure is optimized to provide service to all citizens; On the one hand, by improving the supply of mass transit for mandatory and long-distance trips, and on the other hand, by ensuring that each sector of the city has a diversity of services, stores and public spaces that allow its inhabitants to increase pedestrian or bicycle trips, enjoy their local environment and reduce the time spent on mobility.