The Political Economy of Transmilenio in Bogotá: unraveling the political and economic rationality of public transportation decisions.

Project: Research Project

Project Details


At the culmination of the bidding process for the “financing, purchase and delivery of use” of the new Transmilenio fleet of Bogotá (Tender TMSALP-01-2018), and the “operation and maintenance” of the same (Tender TMSALP-02 -2018), a great controversy has been generated regarding the social, environmental, economic and urban impacts of keeping 2 of the 6 trunks and yards operating with Diesel engines for the next 12 years.

This situation is even more controversial when taking into account that the trunks where the operation of Transmilenio Diesel will continue correspond to the trunks that provide service to the areas where the low-income population of the city is concentrated (Tunal-Sur II and Usme).

In this way, the research proposal will seek to evaluate the suitability of this public policy decision in terms of its environmental and social costs, the socioeconomic and union distribution of said costs, and the financial benefits to the private and public that are derived from it. .

In this way it will be possible to analyze the political and economic rationality with which this decision was made.

In particular, the research seeks to determine whether the economic benefits (not just financial) that the fleet renewal policy will generate in the short and medium term are compatible with the social and environmental costs assumed when comparing it with other alternative decisions and similar international experiences.

Commitments / Obligations

This project's main objective is to analyze public policy decisions related to transportation in Bogotá.

The project contributes to the discussion on how transportation policies could be a key instrument to not only solve the mobility problems of cities, but also achieve the objectives of environmental policy and climate change mitigation in large urban centers.

In this sense, we consider Bogotá as a great social laboratory where the constant transformations of the city are the subject of debate.

This study, in particular, seeks to inform the debate related to the recent renewal of Transmilenio buses, highlighting the importance of taking into account not only financial but also economic criteria in public policy decision-making.

The above means that in many cases, and arguably, public decisions can be made with the criteria of an agent with private rationality and not necessarily with the criteria of a “planner” who seeks to maximize social well-being. Informing the debate on the environmental impacts of transportation policies in Bogotá could have effects on discussions around future transportation renewal policies not only in Bogotá but in other cities in the country.
Effective start/end date2/1/1911/30/19

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Main Funding Source

  • Installed Capacity (Academic Unit)


  • Bogotá D.C.


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