RESIDENTS OF BOGOTÁ MAINTAINED HIGH LEVELS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AFTER THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TRANSMICABLE CABLE CAR SYSTEM
July 18, 2023
A recent study published in The Lancet Global Health highlights the role of the first cable car in Bogotá in maintaining a high level of physical activity among users, despite the increasing tendency of low-income populations to use private motorized transport.
The Urban Transformations and Health [TrUST] natural experiment was conducted by members of the Urban Health in Latin America (SALURBAL) to study the impacts of TransMiCable on physical activity. Implementation of the TransMiCable cable car system connected residents of Ciudad Bolívar with the city's Rapid Transit Bus System (TransMilenio), as well as involving public park renovation and other improvements to local infrastructure.
Research findings highlight the importance of this type of intervention in cities for maintaining high levels of physical activity.
“We found that more than half of study participants in Ciudad Bolívar reported meeting the World Health Organization’s physical activity recommendations following the inauguration of TransMiCable, through only transportation-related walking,” said Laura Baldovino-Chiquillo of the Universidad de los Andes (UniAndes), lead author of the recent study.
Olga Sarmiento leads the TrUST study at UniAndes and added that “in low-income urban areas, where people move by walking out of necessity, transportation interventions should focus on efforts to maintain that high participation in active transport while improving the conditions under which this movement takes places.”
Given the increasing motorization of Latin American cities and the many adverse consequences of motorized transport for health, study results reinforce the feasibility of improving urban transport through strategies that promote physical activity.
Other evaluations of TransMiCable have also revealed that access to the cable car system reduced exposure to environmental contamination (ref 1), reduced travel time and perceptions of insecurity, and improved quality of life (ref 2).
“SALURBAL’s TrUST study is an excellent example of how we can improve health in the region’s cities through transportation policies and other urban policies that go far beyond access to medical care,” said Ana Diez Roux of Drexel University, principal investigator of the SALURBAL Project and a co-author of the recent publication.
This research can inform the design and evaluation of urban transport interventions that safeguard health – both in Bogotá and in urban areas worldwide.
Urban Health in Latin America (SALURBAL) is a research project that aims to study how urban policies and the environment affect the health of residents of Latin American cities. The results of this project will serve as a reference to inform future policies and interventions to make cities healthier, more equitable, and sustainable throughout the world. SALURBAL is funded by the Wellcome Trust.
In addition to Baldovino-Chiquillo, Diez Roux and Sarmiento, other authors of the research are O'Donovan (Colombia), Wilches-Mogollon (Colombia), Aguilar (Colombia), Florez-Pregonero (Colombia), Martínez (Colombia), Arellana (Colombia), Guzmán (Colombia), Yamada (USA) and Rodríguez (USA).
Other studies mentioned in this release:
1) Commuter's personal exposure to air pollutants after the implementation of a cable car for public transport: Results of the natural experiment TrUST, Ricardo Morales-Bentacourt
2) Winds of change: the case of TransMiCable, a community-engaged transport intervention improving equity and health in Bogotá, Colombia, Paula Guevara-Aladino