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Cargo bikes for cleaner air in Bogota

April 28, 2021

In Bogota, air pollution contributes to thousands of deaths each year. Ditching trucks for electric cargo bikes could radically cut fine particulate matter.

Kolumbien Bogotá  Lastenrad-Programm "BiciCarga"
If cargo bikes replace delivery trucks, it'll mean cleaner air for BogotaImage: Felipe Anandano/DW

Colombia: Tackling congestion in Bogota

Dirty, outdated and soon to be gone from the streets of Bogota? The Colombian capital is clogged with trucks and people's health is suffering. One of the world's most congested cities, Bogota has repeatedly had to declare an environmental emergency and Mayor Claudia López is looking for cleaner alternatives to inner-city goods transport. 

Heavy goods vehicles alone are responsible for around 40% of fine particulate pollution in Bogota. But with BiciCargo, these polluting vehicles are left at the city gates and goods transferred to electric cargo bikes for delivery. Even though it takes several bikes to carry the load of a single truck, the founders of the pilot project say it saves time as well as emissions. 

Traffic jam in Colombia's capital Bogota
Totally gridlocked: Bogota is considered one of the most congested cities in the worldImage: Felipe Anandano/DW

Project goal: The BiciCarga initiative aims to save 16 metric tons of particulate matter each day by switching trucks for electric cargo bikes. 

Project partners: The BiciCarga pilot project is coordinated by theBogotá transport commission, which is responsible for implementing, evaluating and potentially expanding the project. As an initiative to decarbonize the transport sector, BiciCarga receives support from the World Bank Group.

Funding:  Professional and technical assistance from the World Bank Group valued at US$300,000.

Project duration: The BiciCarga pilot project runs from May 2020 to June 2021.

This project is supported by Germany's Environment Ministry through the framework of its International Climate Initiative (IKI).

A film by Nicole Frölich