Transport Podcast

Cycling towards an inclusive city for women


Podcast - Cycling towards an inclusive city for women (Spanish)

Source CFF

Conversápolis is a podcast created by C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) on urban sustainability and climate finance. Conversations between citizens, experts and decision makers about the future of our cities.

Cycling towards an inclusive city for women is the first episode of Conversápolis where we talk about the Ciclo Alameda Medio Milenio (CAMM), a project that will be emblematic for Bogota and its role in the construction of a more inclusive capital for women. 

This episode features the special participation of the Secretary of Women of Bogota, Diana Rodríguez, the Secretary of Mobility, Nicolas Estupiñan, and Ilan Cuperstein, Deputy Regional Director for Latin America of the C40 cities network, who is the host of our first episode.

The CAMM will be the first urban cycle highway in Latin America and will consist of a 25 km route with a high capacity infrastructure for cyclists in Bogota. It is a project that has been conceived from its planning with a gender, differential and intersectional perspective.

But, What exactly does gender perspective mean? As Diana Rodriguez indicates in this episode, "taking into account the experiences lived by women and and their diversity to plan the city and intervene it, in order to improve the quality of the city and build a more equitable city for everyone." Based on this premise, this project is designed to promote connectivity and generate equality because, as mentioned by the Secretary, "it allows services to be for everyone." 

The planning process of the bicycle infrastructure with a gender perspective is based on Bogota's interest in closing the gender gap in urban cycling by 2035. According to the latest mobility survey, only 25% of people who cycle are women.

Taking a closer look, What is behind the gender gap in urban cycling?

First of all, gender-based violence in public spaces: from childhood, women learn that the city is dangerous place for them and they have to protect themselves from sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence when they are alone outside their home.  

Second, gender deepens road insecurities: women on bicycles are twice as likely to be verbally or physically harassed and abused by car drivers. According to an analysis conducted by CFF in Bogotá, socioeconomic status aggravates road insecurity, with 84% of assaults on female cyclists happen to women from lower socioeconomic status, with the majority consisting of verbal abuse (Lam, 2021).

Additionally, as a result of the technocratic paradigm, there is a male bias in our systems of transportation. The objective in transportation planning is to optimize the flow of trips during peak hours from the urban peripheries to the business zones in the city center (Lam, 2021). Taking this into account for urban planning creates a bias toward working adults in the formal labor market, especially men.

Women tend to make shorter, local, care-related trips throughout the day, not just during peak hours, as mentioned by Diana Rodríguez. In addition, there are many people who do not make "typical" trips to work, such as the elderly, unemployed people, children and workers in the informal sector. 

Inadequate cycling infrastructure can exacerbate perceptions and experiences of insecurity, not to mention that there are spatial inequalities in the location of new cycling infrastructure (Lam, 2021). However, in order to respond to these inequalities, the Ciclo Alameda is located in an area where the city lacks connectivity, as Nicolás Estupiñán, Secretary of Mobility, points out in our first episode.


Bogota, cycling, gender_2
Credit: Secretaría Distrital de Movilidad de Bogotá

Now you may ask yourself, How does the Ciclo Alameda Medio Milenio integrate a gender, differential and intersectional perspective? 

Generally, diversity and inclusion issues, if addressed at all, are mentioned at the end, as an afterthought in infrastructure projects. Introducing a gender, differential and intersectional approach from the design phase of a project, as was done for the CAMM, is a good practice to promote the development of interventions aimed at achieving equitable and inclusive cycling.

In the same way, this project attempts to break the technocratic paradigm by prioritizing connections to areas other than business zones, facilitating a better connection between the south and north of the city, with a focus on mobility of care (Lam, 2021). The objective is for the CAMM to support the dimensions of mobility of care, promoting safe cycling routes to medical centers, hospitals, supermarkets and other destinations relevant to domestic and care responsibilities, according to Diana Rodríguez.

Learn more by listening to the first episode of Conversápolis, follow us on Spotify, Apple Podcast or YouTube. If you want to learn more about how to incorporate a gender perspective in urban cycling projects, read about the study on gender elaborated by international expert Tiffany Lam.